Striking Down System Failure With Uninterruptible Power Supplies
They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but when you're talking about the rainy season in South FL and a remote country club - it does happen.
For the Riviera Country Club in Coral Gables, FL, getting struck by lightning is not uncommon. "If you were looking down from the sky, this country club looks like a bullseye because it has a circular driveway surrounding it and is one of the highest spots in an otherwise flat area," says Jeff Taub, president of Solutions On Software, Inc./Solutions On Service (SOS). SOS (Miami, FL) is a network VAR and reseller of Tripp Lite power protection products.
Lightning Does Strike Twice
Recently, the country club was struck by lightning twice within a period of ten days. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the lightning surge caused $7,000 in damages to the club's computer and point of sale (POS) system and forced employees to put all transactions on paper and then input them into the system more than two days later.
The club's entire restaurant management/food inventory system, POS system, accounting and back office systems were networked together. The club had three computer work groups, each with its own network-card, connected to a central server via coaxial cable. When the networked computer system went down, it cost the country club time and money. Four computers had to be replaced, network-cards were damaged and one of the coaxial cables needed to be replaced. The coaxial cable was "fried" from the inside out due to the lightning strike.
Another Power Problem To Deal With
In addition to the lightning strikes, the country club also experiences some other power problems. Taub points out that the local power company, Florida Power and Light, often has what it calls "MPIs" (momentary power interruptions). An MPI, by definition, is a momentary blackout. An MPI can damage a computer. "The country club was experiencing MPIs all the time," Taub asserts. Because of these power problems, the club contacted SOS with whom it had an established relationship. SOS had already been providing the club network/hardware products and maintenance.
Taub recommended that Tripp Lite BCPERS 280 UPS (uninterruptible power supply) battery backups be placed on each individual computer. These protect the system from the MPIs.
He also recommended Tripp Lite LAN (local area network) surge protectors be placed on every computer containing a network-card. These LAN surge protectors ground out the surges of energy that the coaxial cable picks up in the event of a lightning strike.
Finally, he recommended that a Tripp Lite SmartPro 700 battery backup be connected to the server. The SmartPro 700 keeps a log of all power events and can perform an automated shutdown for the server in the event of a power outage.
Lightning Strikes Speed Up Sales Cycle
The sales cycle to the club was quick. The first time the club was hit by lightning, it contacted SOS to repair the damages and gather information about a long-term answer. "The club took the initial information from us and wanted some time to determine the appropriate solution," Taub says. A few days later, the club was struck again, so the manager called SOS back and said, "Get it done."
"In South Florida -- one of the lightning capitals of world -- UPSs are not an option; they are a necessity. They should be included in any computing system package that is sold to an end user running a Windows-based system," Taub says. "We include power protection equipment on every network bid that leaves our offices."
Since the installation took place, the club has been hit by lightning multiple times and has not lost a single computer.