When you are hosting a server of any kind, it's usually critical that it be online 24 hours a day so users can connect at any time. In the event of a power outage, it's important that the server automatically restarts as soon as the power supply is resumed, to minimise downtime. Dell servers have a special "AC Power Recovery" option in the BIOS, which allows you to specify how the server behaves in the event of a power outage.
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Power on the Dell server, and press the "F2" key on the server's keyboard when you see the message "<F2> = System Setup" to enter the server's BIOS settings. If you miss this and the server starts loading the operating system, let the system finish loading and then restart the server and try again.
Use the "Down Arrow" key to move to the "System Security" menu option and press the "Enter" key to select it. This will display a new page of settings relating to security and power.
Move down to the "AC Power Recovery" option. This has three options: "On," "Off" and "Last." Set the option to "On," which means that after a power outage, as soon as the supply is resumed, the server will automatically turn on. The "Off" setting tells the server to remain off after the supply is resumed, and "Last" returns the server to the state it was in when the power outage occurred.
Press the "Esc" key to exit the BIOS, and then select the option "Save Changes and Exit" to store the new settings. The server will then restart, and in the event of a power outage, will automatically restart when the power supply is resumed.
Tips and warnings
- If you have an older Dell server and cannot see the "AC Power Recovery" option in the BIOS, check for BIOS upgrades on the Dell website, because these may add the feature to your server.
- This feature is not unique to Dell, and many other brands of server also have this option in their BIOS.
- If the power supply to the server does fail at some point, data corruption may occur as the server will not shutdown cleanly. If possible, a Uninterruptible Power Supply should be used, which uses battery power to keep the server online during a power outage.
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