How do you handle power redundancy and backup solutions in your server rack setup?

Hello everyone,

I am currently setting up a new server rack and I am wondering how you handle power redundancy and backup solutions in your server rack setup. I want to make sure that my servers are always up and running, even in the event of a power outage or failure.

I have done some research and found some solutions such as automatic transfer switches (ATS) that provide fail-safe power redundancy. I have also read about redundant power supplies, where a single piece of computer equipment operates through two or more physical power supplies. Additionally, I found a power distribution guide for power redundant servers that walks through the different components used in a power redundant server or IT rack.

I am curious to know what solutions you have implemented in your server rack setup to ensure power redundancy and backup. Have you used any of the solutions I mentioned above, or do you have other recommendations? Please share your experiences and insights.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Hi @adamsmithad,

I do not have a fancy rack or server or something like that. Instead, I use a RPi as my server, mainly because:

  • It’s (relatively) cheap; and
  • it uses a lot less power than a full blown PC or server.

So that makes it much more economical to run 24/7.

It’s also a good thing that it’s cheap, because should I need more processing power, adding one more is trivial. Or replacing this one, should something break.

Because of it’s low power-draw I keep this on 24/7 and it’s not neccessary for my PC to run and gobble power 24/7.

And if you need storage space, I think a NAS with an RPI would be a much better option than a server and hard drives for the same reasons except it being cheap. Still cheaper than a server, I think.

And I like the idea of using many low-powered PCs. Doesn’t necessarily have to be RPi. Because they’re relatively cheap and because power-draw is not such a big issue, you can build something “custom” for you. Need a mail server? 1 will probably do. For many people? Build a cluster? a Webserver? Oh man - just use a cluster of pies… Tried something that didn’t work out? No big loss. It’s not as if you wasted thousands of bucks on it. And hey! You can add it to your cluster! Or you could even have used one of the cluster’s to test something without the risk of real financial loss.

It’s a much more scalable approach than a rack setup. Especially if you don’t have to serve millions of clients.

Or, that’s my opinion, anyway.


Oh yeah, didn’t mention it because of…well, I don’t really know why, but I was reminded about it by @Aragorn’s answer below.

I also don’t use Manjaro on it. I use Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, from which I’ve purged anything snap-related.

1 Like

Just for the record, I think you’re addressing the wrong audience here.

Even though server-based software is available from our repositories, Manjaro as a distribution is geared more toward desktop and laptop use, and furthermore, it is a rolling-release distribution, which is commonly not a type of system suited for deployment on servers — too many updates, and too dynamic.

Therefore, I doubt that there would be many people here who’ve got much experience with the kind of hardware you’re talking about, and given that you’re mostly inquiring about hardware solutions, I recommend that you direct your inquiry at a hardware-based forum.

As for the redundant PSUs, I do have a little bit of experience with that, but what needs to be emphasized here is that you must make sure that either of the two PSU channels supplies enough juice to your motherboard and drives, because those things will commonly be advertised with numbers reflecting only the total Wattage that the PSU supplies, but what matters is how many Watts the unit can continue to supply when one channel drops away.

Other than that, make sure your machines are connected to uninterruptible power supplies, preferably with a generator for backup — professional data centers do that too — and of course, that you have your drives in a hardware RAID setup — RAID 1 at minimum, but preferably RAID 10 (which is the best approach) — and hot-swappable.

For backups, I recommend HDDs instead of tapes. HDDs are faster and have a longer data life than tape, but they’re cheaper per unit of storage than SSDs, and you don’t need the speed of an SSD for storing backups only. And of course, they should be RAID and hot-swappable too — RAID 6 is probably the best solution there, because it offers double redundancy.

Software-wise, it might be a good idea to use virtual machines — maybe on top of Xen — so that you can migrate a running virtual machine to a physically different machine over the network, and so that you can run a watchdog to fire up a redundant virtual machine if the primary one goes offline for whatever reason.

That’s about all the advice I can give you, because again, Manjaro is not a server-oriented distribution.



This topic was automatically closed 2 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.