We're in the process of replacing the shelving in our server room, and I found a piece of paper that had been covered over which lists various actions to take during/after a power outage:

  1. ADSL modem power off and on
  2. Start all servers
  3. Start production order polling process
  4. Check: E-mail services started
  5. Check: SQL Agent service started
  6. Check: Internet connection restored
  7. Photocopiers: power off and on

Some of these steps make sense, but I'm not sure about powering things off and on. All our modems, routers, switches, and servers are on battery backup. PowerChute Business Edition is installed on the servers and they are configured to shutdown automatically at the last possible minute (because we get a lot of short outages). I know from past outages that auto shutdown is working, and the servers are being auto powered on again when the power is restored. The photocopiers are not on battery backup, and considering everybody wants them to die I'm not really interested in protecting them.

Checking that things are up and running again makes sense, and I've configured quite a few automatic e-mails to handle this (using a third-party monitoring service).

So what do I really need to be doing during the power outage itself? I figure that making a note of the time and calling the power company should be sufficient. I've read elsewhere on this site of people recommending to shut everything down manually, but we don't stay on site until the power comes back up so we prefer that things come back up on their own.

To give some context on the environment, our e-mail server is located in-house, as well as a web server which runs our on-line ordering system and zip locator service. These need to be up, though orders are not really lost when we're down; we're a manufacturing company with a distribution network, so we don't sell directly to the end consumer. Our distributors will enter their orders when the system comes back up.

1 Answer 1


You don't specify what kind of environment you work in and what the systems are used for, but I'll make some general statements. Given that you use an ADSL connection, I'm going to assume you're not hosting any world-facing applications (websites, email, etc.)

During the power outage, there's not a whole lot you can do. If you're running off a generator (doesn't sound like it) or a shared UPS, shut down development systems as early as possible -- it'll leave more power for your production systems.

The key is in the planning -- when you say "last possible minute," what if your systems take slightly longer to shut down than usual? Are you risking data by an improper shutdown? I would leave more padding.

Where I work, none of our systems shut down during an outage -- we have a room-wide UPS that's backed by a natural gas generator, so we hope everything stays up for an outage of almost any length.

  • I added a paragraph to my question explaining our environment. We don't have much in the way of development systems. "Last possible minute" is, to the best of my knowledge, handled by Powerchute Business Edition. I've broached the subject of a generator before, but the cost is too high for the handful of outages per year.
    – Scott
    Jul 18, 2011 at 16:17

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