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IT News

E109 Data Centre Transfer Switch Replacement

[Aug. 29, 2014] During the upcoming Thanksgiving Weekend (October 11-13) Facilities Management will be replacing the electrical power transfer switch that feeds power to the Trafalgar campus data centre. This will require a complete shutdown of the equipment in the data centre while the electrical work is being performed. Consequently, many IT services will be unavailable during the upgrade period.

What is a Transfer Switch?

A transfer switch is an electro-mechanical device that automatically switches the electrical load (in this case, the data centre equipment) from utility power to emergency generator power whenever utility power is interrupted; it then switches back to utility power when it has been restored. The transfer switch we currently have is an older model that can’t be safely serviced and there is mounting concern that there could be a catastrophic failure.

What Services will be Impacted?

IT is currently undergoing an analysis exercise to determine exactly what services will be impacted during the outage. We have identified some services that we’re hoping can be offered through our HMC data centre and others that may be accessed by implementing other mitigation strategies. However, as many of our network services are interdependent, there are no guarantees that any services will be available —this combined with the fact that we have not had a complete data centre shutdown in over ten years.

Our utmost priority is to address safety concerns at the Trafalgar campus during the outage. Ideally, we would like to ensure that phone services (particularly the ability to dial 911) and video security services are maintained.

Next Steps

IT is building a project plan that addresses the tasks involved in shutting down each of the services in the data centre and the time estimates for each step. Similarly, a project plan identifying the startup sequence tasks and timelines is also being prepared. Once we have completed our analysis and time estimates, we will be in a position to communicate how long it will take to complete the work and what services will be impacted. Detailed communication will be sent to the Sheridan community and directly to affected parties as soon as our analysis and planning is complete.

In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact the IT Service Desk.