N+1 redundancy is a system design where there is one additional component available to support a failure or required maintenance on a component. This means that if the component has an interruption or an outage, another source can supply that component to some capacity. However, it is important to recognize that with N+1 redundancy, there is still an opportunity for data center downtime as the system cannot support the facility to its fullest capacity in the event of a malfunction or outage.
Redundancy applies to a multitude of components including UPS, cooling systems, and generators. With an N+1 redundancy, it’s common for one extra unit to be required for every four units needed. So, if there are four UPS units, an N+1 redundancy will contribute to a total of five UPS units.
Is N+1 Redundancy the Optimal System?
A redundant system in some capacity is recommended for most data centers as it reduces the amount of downtime in the case of an outage or maintenance. However, the optimal redundancy system differs for each facility. A major factor when it comes to choosing the optimal system is the size of the data center. N+1 is a sufficient baseline for most data centers as it provides an extra component at a relatively low cost. It may be the optimal system for small to medium data centers that strive for low costs, do not conduct an abundance of maintenance, and can accept some amount of downtime.
However, for larger data centers where uptime must be maintained and maintenance occurs more frequently and on a larger scale, N+1 redundancy may not be sufficient. There is also a possibly that N+1 is too much for a data center that is supporting a very small business where customer demand for services or goods is relatively low. Ultimately, data center managers should have a complete understanding of each data center redundancy level, as well as the costs associated with them, to determine which level is most suitable for the facility.
Ensure Redundancy and Save Costs with DCIM Software
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software allows data center managers to maximize space and capacity utilization by capturing historical and current power usage data. Managers can run a failover simulation report to identify which cabinets are at risk and what equipment can continue functioning safely if a PDU goes down. Additionally, with DCIM software, the possibility and severity of power outages decreases as the software polls intelligent PDUs and other equipment at user-configurable intervals to ensure they are accessible, sends notifications of warning and critical events that can remediated before there is an issue, and makes troubleshooting issues easy. Therefore, with a lower probability of a power outage, the lower redundancy level needed to support the facility, which ultimately decreases costs.
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