A burgeoning business and a move to new premises prompted the administrators of Mxit, South Africa’s mobile social network, to take a careful look at its IT infrastructure and, in particular, the provision for backup power, to address all-too-common power outages on the local grid.

“Mxit has a number of levels of failover in its business model,” explains IT operations engineer, Stephan Buys, “but when we established our new data centre in Stellenbosch we decided to introduce additional redundancy into the system as part of our upgrade plans.”

Mxit commissioned the Cape Town branch of Johannesburg-headquartered power provisioning specialist, Powermode, to take care of immediate power protection with a system that could also address future requirements with business expansion in mind.

“Uptime in all our business activities is important for Mxit,” explains Buys, emphasising that between 400 and 500-million messages are sent via the Mxit network each day between 7,3-million active members who record over 700-million page views of apps per month.

The solution presented by Powermode was its own, Q-On branded uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system which, thanks to its modular construction, can be easily expanded to meet future needs thus reducing total cost of ownership over the long term.

“We handed the assignment to Powermode who managed the installation of the UPS, undertook all the electrical wiring and – for good measure – installed the air conditioning system in our data centre as part of a turnkey project,” says Buys.

The Q-On M-Series UPS is available in a basic 15 kVA configuration which, in Mxit’s case, was expanded with the addition of modular units to 45 kVA on installation.

“The M-Series is designed to provide power protection for mission-critical applications including data centres containing power-sensitive IT and telecommunications equipment,” explains Powermode MD, Jack Ward.
“It incorporates hot-swappable UPS modules with each module – operating in parallel on a load-sharing basis – being a complete UPS incorporating charger, inverter, static switch and control unit.”

Buys confirms that the Mxit data centre is already operating at around 83% of its back-up capacity. “We’ve pushed it to 97% in a successful load test, so it won’t be long before another module will be needed for addition to the Q-On system,” he says.

“Fortunately, our UPS has the capacity to reach 120 kVa so there is a significant amount of expansion available from this single unit.”

Ward adds that the space-optimised design of the Q-On M-Series – around 20% smaller in terms of foot-print than conventional UPS systems of comparable power – frees up real estate in space-constrained environments such as data centres.

“The redundant, fully scalable design also complements many of the features found in the latest high-performance servers, switches and storage devices that support business-critical applications including converged networks and network storage,” he adds.