When Holmes Distributors, Inc.,Portland, Maine, lost electricity at about 11 o’clock one morning, Executive Vice President Gary DeVost thought everything would be back to normal within four to five hours. This usually happens when severe weather cuts off power to the electrical distributorship. But this time it was different.

In fact, Canada and Northern New England were stricken with such a devastating ice storm that Holmes Distributors still could not conduct operations six days after the power outage, because its IBM mainframe was down. What’s worse, not only did the storm knock out the company’s Portland facility, it also knocked out branches in Bangor, Scarborough, and Manchester, N.H.

In an attempt to run the computer network, the company brought in a 9000W generator and a leased-50kW generator. However, they could not operate their RS 6000 mainframe off of these generators or through their current UPS unit, without risking the loss of several valuable warranties. In effect, they were still shutdown—all because they needed an updated UPS system to protect the mainframe from “dirty” generator power.

Knowing they had to quickly solve the problem, Holmes chose a 90-lb, S4300, 3kVA on-line UPS to protect the IBM equipment and, more importantly, the data. In less than a day after installation of the UPS, the Holmes distributorship was back on-line and conducting normal business. The solution worked so well, they ordered additional UPS systems.