Standby power no longer a last resort for First Response data centre

Providing finance to over 16,000 customers per year, and with approximately 8,000 active motor dealers on the company database, First Response’s data centre security and business continuity is of fundamental importance to the running of its award-winning motor financing business. First Response enjoys a prestigious reputation in its field. Reliability and accessibility via its online operations set it apart in a crowded marketplace.

The challenge

Thousands of customers’ data are held on servers at First Response’s offices. The company’s substantial database supports 24/7 IT operations and data updates. As Neil Raspison, IT infrastructure engineer for the company says: “If we lost the data centre, First Response would simply cease to operate.” A reliable and secure source of power to the data centre is fundamentally important. Without it the very foundations of the business are at risk. A major power outage could result in business partners and staff unable to access vital online resources, significantly damaging the reputation they have built as a first class service provider. First Response required a reliable and robust data centre that would support business opportunities as they arose. Neil Raspison explains the risk that power loss would have on the company: “Customers would not be able to contact us, which could delay the process of them obtaining finance to purchase a vehicle. This could mean car dealers going to our competitors to secure finance for their customers. Also, our collections department would lose access to the data they need to carry on functioning.” Having experienced prolonged power outages in the past due to grid failure, First Response sought enough back up power in order to prevent business downtime. The company was unable to accommodate a permanent generator on-site, so needed substantially more battery autonomy than normal.

The solution

UPS Systems provided a 20kVA UPS and 2 x V8 cabinets, each comprising 1,800 kgs of batteries, to provide six hours of standby power. A dedicated generator hook up point was also installed. UPS Systems arranged a service contract to ensure a hire generator could be delivered on-site within four hours, allowing it to be plugged straight into the hook up point if necessary. As a permanent generator could not be accommodated on site, the length of battery run time required was unusually high. Therefore, the UPS was purpose built with additional chargers to cope with a much larger battery bank.

The results

Since the installation of the new UPS, the risk to business continuity has been mitigated with First Response benefitting from 24/7 uptime, no loss of customer interaction or data and no power outages. The 20kVA UPS was supplied with sufficient headroom for First Response to increase the load, if required for its communication operations room.