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April 8 2014 is now off-grid.

If you are reading this, it is being served from EA's off-grid headquarters in northern BC.

This has been an interesting technical challenge. First task was to obtain high speed Internet link to the site. There is no cable or DSL in our rural location. Working with Cybernet, the local Internet provider they were able to upgrade one of their repeater sites and offer us a 5 MB fixed wireless link. Telus 4G provides backup service via directional antenna and industrial modem.

The second challenge was having a robust power system that is able to keep the servers and network gear operating 24x7. We have a dedicated 250W Exeltech inverter tied into our main 80 kWh battery bank that runs all network gear. Energy is generated primarily from a solar PV array with backup diesel generator.

The physical server, IBM x3650 M4 was custom built to be as energy efficient as possible, while still providing server-class speed and redundancy in case of component failure. Every component was scrutinized for power consumption and used the most efficient that is practical. Large, solid-state server class hard drives are still very expensive.

The server will consume around 2 kWh per day, about 80 watts average. Network hardware, modems and antennas use another 1 kWh per day.


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