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Scheduled Power Outage at Building 50 This Weekend

This forty-year-old electrical equipment in Substation 8 is destined for removal. (Photo by Lori Ann White.)

The next step in a series of improvements to SLAC's computing infrastructure takes place this weekend as preparations are made to completely refurbish Substation 8, located on the fourth floor of Building 50.

A feeder cable from Substation 7 will provide power to the building while the 40-year-old electrical equipment is replaced, said Norm Ringgold, head of the Computing Division's IT Operations and Infrastructure group. Just replacing the old equipment will increase power capacity by at least 10 percent, he added. More gains will be realized from improved technology—for example, the new transformers can run at higher temperatures.

In order to replace the equipment, power to Building 50 will be shut down for much of Saturday and Sunday as the line from Substation 7 is hooked up. This line will keep Building 50 running during the upgrade to Substation 8.

Ensuring that no vital systems are interrupted during the shutdown has already taken months of painstaking planning, Ringgold said, with a big part of the effort coming from from Technical Operations Manager John Weisskopf and his team.

"John and his group have been working diligently to map all the computing resources on the second floor," Ringgold said, "circuit by circuit, then cabinet by cabinet, then server by server." Then Weisskopf met with users from both the scientific and general populations at the lab to go over the maps and determine what could be shut down for a short time and what must stay up. "For those services that have to stay up—what's needed to run the lab on the weekend—John's group worked with Facilities to provide temporary power," Ringold explained.

Another shutdown is currently scheduled for May 7–8 to bring the new, improved Substation 8 back online. The feeder cable from Substation 7 will remain as a backup.

—Lori Ann White
SLAC Today, April 7, 2011