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Power Outage Impact on IT Services

Below is a list of IT services which may be affected during a power outage. Click each section for a detailed look at the resulting impacts on each service.

Applications

Applications and services hosted in UIT data centers or in the cloud will remain up and running and available. This includes email, calendar, Axess, Oracle Financials, Google Docs, Box, and ServiceNow.

On-Premises Applications

Applications and services which are run from an on-premises UIT data center on the Stanford campus have protection from Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) and generators which enable them to remain up and running during short term or longer term power outages. Commonly used applications and services in this category include Oracle Financials, Axess, Jabber, and others.

For computing equipment NOT housed in UIT data centers, please check with the building manager for information on emergency power capabilities.

Cardinal Print, while the backend infrastructure is located in UIT data centers or in the cloud, will remain operational only as long as the building has power.

Cloud Applications

Applications and services which are run from the cloud have similar protection, but at larger scale. Most of the cloud service providers operate multiple geographically dispersed data centers which are configured to run applications and services from multiple sites.

Software as a Service (SaaS) is one cloud delivery model in which the provider supports the entire stack of the application. Stanford applications running with this model include Microsoft Office 365, Google Shared Drive, Slack, Box, ServiceNow, Zoom, and Stanford websites (supported by UIT).

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is another cloud delivery model in which the provider provides compute and storage services and the customer provides the application. Examples of providers with this model include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Microsoft Azure. Stanford applications running with this model include Stanford Research Administration (SeRA).

Internet Connectivity

Stanford maintains multiple connections to multiple Internet Service Providers with diverse fiber routes, so chances are good that we will still have Internet connectivity. The nature of the Internet, which is a collection of networks that are highly meshed together with self-healing capabilities, give it a chance of still being fully operational, although possibly at a degraded level of performance.

Wi-Fi Networks

  • Will continue to run in buildings where the IT infrastructure is on a generator. The generator will provide power as long as it is refueled. 
  • Will run on UPS for up to 20 minutes in buildings where the IT infrastructure is NOT on a generator.​

Wired Networks

  • Will continue to run in buildings where the IT infrastructure is on a generator. The generator will provide power as long as it is refueled. 
  • Will run on UPS for up to 20 minutes in buildings where the IT infrastructure is NOT on a generator.

Calling/Texting

VoIP
Will run on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for up to 20 minutes. If a building has a generator, it will provide power as long as it is refueled.
Analog
Landlines may be congested.
Cellular Calling
Networks may be congested, though Wi-Fi calling may work (unless carrier networks outside of Stanford are congested).
Cellular Texting
Texts may be delayed, though Wi-Fi texting may work (unless carrier networks outside of Stanford are congested).

VoIP Phones

  • Will continue to run in buildings where the IT infrastructure is on a generator. The generator will provide power as long as it is refueled. 
  • Will run on UPS for up to 20 minutes in buildings where the IT infrastructure is NOT on a generator.

Analog Phones

Landlines will see massive congestion on the networks and many calls will not go through. Stanford does maintain multiple connections to multiple carriers, so chances are good that we will have dial tone to the Public Switched Telephone Network, but once on the PSTN, we will encounter the congestion issue.

Cellular Calling

It is hard to predict how the cellular networks will be affected, but after a major event, the network will be very congested and many calls will likely not go through. As for coverage, it will be hard to tell which cellular towers may be affected to the point at which they are not operational, either because of damage to the tower, no power to the tower, or loss of network connectivity to the tower. Cellular macro sites and on-campus headends are on generator and will continue to provide service (as long as the generators are refueled and provided the carrier networks are available).  There are UPSs on almost every RAN (Radio Access Node, which are antenna nodes to boost coverage in outdoor spaces for our Distributed Antenna System) which will have about 3-4 hours of run time.  There are 18 out of 24 RANs that are connected to buildings with generators (so will continue to run as long as the generators are refueled). 

Wi-Fi Calling, will enable you to send and receive calls (and texts) on your cell/mobile phone even if you have no or poor cellular service, but have a Wi-Fi connection (which may only be up to 20 minutes, unless the building's IT infrastructure is on generator). Even though Wi-Fi Calling may be available, you may not be able to complete a call if the carrier networks are impacted.

Cellular Texting

Due to the nature of SMS (store and forward), all texts will eventually get through for phones that have cellular coverage available, but potentially with a lot of delays. Wi-Fi Calling, will enable you to send and receive texts (and calls) on your cell/mobile phone even if you have no or poor cellular service, but have a Wi-Fi connection. Even though Wi-Fi Calling may be available, you may still not be able to send and receive texts if the carrier networks are impacted. In these cases, it will cache your text and will send it when your phone does receive a signal.

Building Access

With Generators
Will operate normally as long as power and network connectivity are maintained. If generator power is exhausted, backup power is available for up to four hours at most locations.
Without Generators
When UPS power is exhausted, most wired readers will fail secure (locked). Wireless readers will grant access. Scheduler and 25Live events will not trigger access changes. Buildings without power cannot receive reader mode changes.

To function, Lenel depends on power to the server, panels, and readers. Details on device type behaviors are indicated.

In buildings where IT infrastructure is on a generator

Lenel hardware will continue to operate normally as long as power and network connectivity is maintained. 

If generator power is exhausted in buildings that have backup battery power (12/24 VDC inputs) for the Lenel hardware:

  • Backup battery power is available for up to 4 hours depending on the number of devices controlled by the access panel. The standard is 4 hours for most locations. Readers will continue to grant access to existing authorized cardholders and will execute timezone schedules throughout a power outage.
  • Once battery power is exhausted most wired readers will fail secure (locked, but will still allow for egress from the building). There are some exceptions (determined by the Fire Marshal) where some doors will fail-safe (unlocked) per safety regulations.
  • Wireless readers will continue to grant access to existing authorized cardholders and will execute door timezone schedules as normal throughout a power outage, until batteries expire. 
  • Scheduler events and 25LIVE events will not trigger access mode changes on any readers if network connectivity is lost.
  • Buildings without power cannot receive reader mode changes.

As an additional note: locations converted from CS Gold do not have battery backup. This is about 650 readers and those buildings can be identified. These locations will immediately go to either fail-secure (locked) or fail-safe (unlocked) with no delay as soon as power is lost. 

In buildings where IT infrastructure is NOT on a generator

Once UPS power is exhausted buildings that do not have backup battery power (12/24 VDC inputs) for the Lenel hardware:

  • Most wired readers will fail secure (locked, but will still allow for egress from the building). There are some exceptions (determined by the Fire Marshall) where some doors will fail-safe (unlocked) per safety regulations.
  • Wireless readers will continue to grant access to authorized cardholders and will execute timezone door schedules as normal throughout a power outage, until batteries expire. 
  • Scheduler events and 25LIVE events will not trigger access mode changes on any readers.
  • Buildings without power cannot receive reader mode changes.

Video Surveillance

If a building with a video server loses power, video loss will occur. If network switch loses power, cameras will also lose power.

With Generators
Recording will resume when backup power kicks in. Cameras with UPS will have additional recording time.
Without Generators
Video loss will occur.

The video recording service depends both on power to the video recording servers (exq-envr-xxx), and power to the network switches which in turn power the video cameras (via PoE).

  • If the video recording server (exq-envr-xxx) is in a data center or building experiencing power loss, then there will be Video Loss per the Exacq software.
  • If the power to the network switches that the cameras are on is down, because the cameras are PoE (power over ethernet), then the cameras will also not be powered, and the Exacq software will report Video Loss.

In buildings where IT infrastructure is on a generator

For video recording servers housed in the ECHs or Datacenter where there is backup power available (such as in NDCCH or Forsythe), the video recording will resume as soon as the backup power kicks in (with minimal video recording interruption). 

For the cameras, if the camera switches are on UPS, that also buys additional time for recording to continue during an outage.

Moving video recorders to a cloud solution could help mitigate power issues, but even in a cloud solution there is a gateway that provides a store and forward function, and so we’d need to place that device on UPS power if the cameras are going to be on UPS power.

In buildings where IT infrastructure is NOT on a generator

For video recording servers racked locally and without backup generators, when those sites experience power loss, they will experience video loss. Once the building's power is restored, video recording should resume normal operations, so long as the network switches the cameras are fully functional.

Point of Sale (POS) Devices

Buildings where CSGold equipment is located without power backup will lose all functionality. In buildings with generators:

  • Aero POS Devices: available in offline mode.
  • Revel POS: available for credit, but not Cardinal dollars.
  • Pharos: printing for Lane Library will be unavailable.
  • Uniflow: printing for VPTL will be unavailable.
  • Follett: unavailable until system is restored.
  • ValuePort: unavailable until system is restored.

CS Gold depends on power to both the server and the devices to function. Details on device type behaviors are indicated.

In buildings where IT infrastructure is on a generator

The CS Gold (CBORD) system provides Point of Sale (POS) and Store Value & Credit transactions for several systems across campus. The breakdown below captures the current state during an unplanned power outage:

  • Aero POS devices: Available in offline mode.  The Aero POS devices are capable of storing transactions in an offline mode.  These offline transactions are uploaded to the Gold server when connectivity is restored.
  • Revel POS: Available for credit transactions but not Cardinal dollars due to lack of connectivity with the Gold server.
  • Pharos: Printing for the Lane Library will be unavailable until connectivity with the CS Gold Pharos MGR is restored.
  • Uniflow: VPTL printing currently does not work in offline mode.
  • Follett at Tressider Express, Bookstore, and Medical Bookstore: Unavailable until the system is restored.
  • ValuePort: Lane Library cash cards will be unavailable until the system is restored.

In buildings where IT infrastructure is NOT on a generator

Buildings, where CSGold endpoint equipment is located without power backup, will lose all functionality until power is restored.

How to Prepare for a Power Outage

Power outages of any duration can impact the entire community. Whether planned or unplanned, it is important to not only have the knowledge of what to do, but to also have readily accessible resources. 

End-user preparations

  • Understand how a power outage may affect all of your IT services.
  • Prepare a recovery process plan for the time that power is restored.
  • Use a UL-rated surge protector for every computer in the office (and at home) to avoid damage from power surges or when power is restored. Alternatively, while the power is out, unplug devices that are not protected by a surge protector, so they are not prone to damage once power is restored.
  • Keep your mobile phone charged, or keep a backup battery pack to recharge.
  • Configure your mobile phone to enable Voice over Wi-Fi Calling.
  • Backup important files to Google or OneDrive, ensuring they are accessible from anywhere; Use CrashPlan (where available) to backup your computer.
  • Familiarize yourself with basic services like webmail, Office Online, and Slack, so you can work from anywhere, if needed.

Building Manager and IT Staff preparations

  • Take an inventory of all IT services under your purview.
  • Learn which buildings have generators, and which do not.
  • Confirm if the Telecom Rooms (TRs) are on the generator.

A few quick facts about underlying IT infrastructure

The network backbone is the fabric that connects data centers and Electronic Communication Hubs (ECHs) to buildings across campus. On the historic Stanford campus, 95% of all buildings connect to two different ECHs.

All University IT (UIT) data centers and ECHs have an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and generator. There is a 24-hour runtime on generators, and UIT Technical Facilities is on the P1 list for refueling. To assist in refueling generators, Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE) has diesel fuel on-site, as well as trucks to distribute the fuel. 

How to Recover from a Power Outage

To check on the status of a campus power outage, you can check the Service Alerts portal or contact the UIT ServiceDesk by calling 650-725-4357.

Once the power is restored, the recovery process begins.

End-user actions

  • Assess the impact of the power outage on your devices.
  • May need to power-off and power-on your devices.
  • Contact your local IT staff or the UIT ServiceDesk (via the Services portal or by calling 650-725-4357) if you're still having issues.

Building Manager and IT Staff actions

  • Assess the impact of the power outage on building and IT infrastructure, including network switches, wireless access points, building access control panels, etc.
  • May need to power off and and power on devices.
  • Document the specific list of infrastructure which still may not be available.
  • Contact the appropriate support group or the UIT ServiceDesk(via the Services portal or by calling 650-725-4357) for assistance in recovering the remaining infrastructure.