Diary of an IT Manager

Best thing left behind by a previous tenant?

Sometimes good news comes when you least expect it in IT. For the last few weeks, we have been moving offices to the other end of our (rather large) building and were previously told that we did not have generator assistance with our power, something that worried us immensely as we deal with a very large number of calls daily within our call centre.

And then, sod’s law, the power goes today. Every light in the building goes off and we switch to emergency lighting. But then, the most unexpected thing happens, every PC stays on and so does our new comms room.

The company is still operating!

A quick walk around confirms to us that the warehouse and accounts office have lost power, but the new office and our previous comms room (still hosting the majority of our equipment) have remained online. We knew that the existing comms room, with generator backup and multiple uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units would remain online through a power outage, but we thought we’d lose the new office and comms room to the power outage.

This clearly showed us that we had generator power throughout our entire new office. That left one major question though, why had we not experienced a brief power outage whilst the office switched to generator power?

Within two hours the entire office had switched back over to mains power once National Grid had sorted our buildings supply out (it is rumoured some builders went through the supply and National Grid’s response was top notch).

Two computers upstairs in a separate comms room had not come back online so I was on my upstairs to sort them out and make sure they powered on. Then, by chance, I bump into the building’s electrician and ask how we stayed online as even he didn’t previously know we had generator power. He then tells me to come into the electrical room that feeds us and another company within the same building.

I’m then shown the best thing I’ve seen in work for a long time. The previous tenant had installed a large capacity UPS that supplied the electrical boards within our office and not removed it when they moved out.

A quick conversation with the facilities manager ensued asking him if we can take over maintenance, and then an hour later he tells me that we can take on the servicing of the UPS and that they can remain in place. I was also informed that just this morning a conversation had been had about removing them.

Fate is something you don’t think of in IT, but learning about this essential piece of equipment was in place just as they were about to remove it, and it saving your skin, is something that just has to be!


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