Hackers Access Power Plants in US and Europe, Freak Everyone OutJuly 2, 2014
Is it Time to Take Humans out of Data Centers?July 8, 2014
It’s like the ‘Twilight Zone’ of data center outages…
Much is made about uptime in data centers and for good reason. No company, person, or entity wants to see their service go offline for any reason. That’s why data centers are equipped with everything smart-people can think of to prevent any amount of downtime.
Most data centers have a clean slate, but what about some things that those smart-people didn’t think about? What about when data centers encounter life’s greatest troll: Mother Nature? Or some of life’s other trolls like stupidity, impatience, or Grendel?
Below are 5 strange instances when Beowulf wasn’t around to keep data online against life’s greatest trolls.
The Butterfly Effect Hits a Vancouver Data Center
You remember the butterfly effect, right? It’s when one seemingly small occurrence snowballs into a life-changing event. And that’s exactly what happened at the Harbour Centre Telecom Hub in Vancouver in which a data center operated by Peer 1 unexpectedly went dark.
It all happened because of a small circuit fire, which happened underground, sparked a major power outage in the Vancouver city proper. This outage disabled everything from traffic lights to ATM machines, but it also caused lengthy downtime for many websites hosted at the Harbour Centre Telecom Hub.
But wait! Don’t most data centers have backups for just this situation? Certainly. And they worked beautifully… if it wasn’t for the blasted fire department.
Ok, so bear with me:
– Circuit fire leads to a near city-wide power outage
– Backup generators at the data centers kick on
– The fire department fights the fire, which causes the water pressure to lessen
– The backup generator’s cooling system shuts off due to the lack of water pressure
Wow, who would have thought of that happening? The outage only lasted about two hours, but to many, I’m sure that felt like a lifetime.
Anchors Aweigh…down on power lines
This outage situation has actually happened more often than one may think.
So if you ever wonder how data goes from continent to continent, it’s due to enormous undersea cables…which most ships are completely unaware of and they drop anchor right on top of them.
2008 was a bad year for this happening, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, where internet traffic monitoring services reported quite inconvenient service problems.
If you’re a ship captain, please be cognizant of where you anchor your vessel, as you may not be able to check your FaceBook later that night….
The Leap Second Bug hits IT Systems in 2012
Don’t you hate when the Earth decides to slow down or speed up a bit? I do too because I have to change all my atomic clocks by fractions of a second… so annoying.
If you don’t know (like all of us) a Leap Second is when people in charge of the Universal Time adjust that time by a second to accommodate those annoying changes in the Earth’s speed.
Well, in 2012, the Universal Time was adjusted and it caused a bug which down several popular sites like Reddit and The Pirate Bay and also caused flights in Australia to be delayed. Yikes.
Just like if you’re a ship captain, if you’re in charge of the Universal Time… please tell someone so I can continue to lurk on Reddit uninterrupted.
That Moment When Mother Nature Scoffs at Our Preparedness
There have been moments throughout Earth’s history when life gets too complacent and Mother Nature just says, “Nah, bro, check out this super disaster you can’t stop” (see: dinosaurs).
And that was the case with Superstorm Sandy. That’s right a storm so powerful we deemed it a Superstorm. It was like something that was never reported before in recorded history. And it slammed into New York City cutting power and basically everything for a long, long time.
Unfortunately the storm hit at high tide, during a full moon, and the jet stream moved at a unusual pattern to join the party which exacerbated everything.
No matter our preparedness, Mother Nature is undefeated (and unpredictable) and no amount of data center backup plans can compete with a Superstorm.
Yahoo’s Epic Struggle With Squirrels
Oh, yes. Mother Nature is back, this time with her greatest power-outage-inducing pest: the squirrel. Next time you’re sitting on a park bench throwing bread cubes at these cute, furry creatures—remember that you’re feeding the culprit behind that next power outage that ruins the climax of your favorite movie or sporting event.
That’s right. Squirrels chew everything. And one brave (and now fried) rodent chewed its way right through a communication transferring wire at one of Yahoo’s data centers in Santa Clara. It knocked power from half of the data center while the squirrel’s tiny soul laughed it’s way back into Mother Nature’s lair.
We here at Colocation America have dedicated squads which design state-of-the-art squirrel traps (maybe), camp out at sea to prevent anchors from severing power lines (maybe), and many other services which have kept up online 100 percent of the time for 10 years.
For more information please contact QC