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Five Strange and Weird Data Center Outages

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Data storage is a very real concern in this day and age. Much of the world relies on data centers for everything from completing crucial work tasks to accessing entertainment. Unfortunately, even the most dependable data storage plans can fall prey to bizarre occurrences. These instances can spell ruination to vital equipment, as well as affecting web access.

The following are five very strange stories of data center outages. While some instances are simply unavoidable, there are many measures a company can take to ensure that data is stored in a reasonable manner. For those seeking reliable data storage, Titan Power can offer clients numerous safe and secure options.

Electrified Squirrel Wreaks Havoc on Yahoo

While squirrels may appear cute and cuddly from a distance, these critters are often to blame for a number of power outages due to their predilection for chewing on everything in sight. This was the case in 2010, when a lone squirrel effectively took out half of a Santa Clara data center used by Yahoo while chewing through a communications line.

Surprisingly, squirrels account for a great portion of data center outages due to their love of chewing. According to Level 3 Communications, squirrels accounted for a whopping 17% of their damaged cables in 2011 alone. Damage caused by squirrels is an experience shared by many, from homeowners to multi-national corporations.

Some wager that squirrels are so keen on chewing things like wires and hoses because the sturdy texture helps keep their rapidly growing teeth at bay. Others claim that squirrels are just ravenous little creatures, and that the materials used to create wires may be tasty to them. Despite the reason, many companies invest untold money in squirrel-proofing expensive equipment, with varying levels of success.

Hurricane Sandy Fells Numerous Data Centers

While New York City is well-known for its culture and night-life, many people tend to forget is that this bustling metropolis is surrounded by water. Accordingly, large-scale natural disasters can pose quite a threat to both property and populace.

This was never more evident than when Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012. Sandy brought the city’s many data centers to their figurative knees thanks to surging flood waters, which then caused unprecedented outages. Compounding the storm was the questionable data storage plans that many high-profile entities utilized within the city.

Leading data centers located in New York City (including DataGram, host to such media bigwigs as Gawker, Buzzfeed, and The Huffington Post), chose to store essential electrical components below ground level. Due to these poor decisions, a large portion of property was damaged beyond repair, and many popular websites were forced to go black for an extended period of time.

Ship Anchors Sever Undersea Cables

In many instances, undersea cables are responsible for ferrying data between continents. The idea is that undersea placement will keep vital components intact and internet service uninterrupted.

However, this isn’t always the case, as illustrated in 2008 when ships erroneously dropped anchor on three cables located in the Mediterranean Sea. The resulting service issues were witnessed within the Middle East, along with effects occurring in parts of Asia.

Many initially speculated that these disruptions were caused by intentional sabotage. However, satellite imagery later showed evidence of ships dropping anchor in the wrong area. While this scenario may seem unlikely, similar cuts happened to undersea cables earlier that same year, fueling some of the conjecture that these disruptions were indeed deliberate.

Leap Second Results in Multiple Disruptions

While most are familiar with the concept of a leap year, a leap second is a far more mysterious occurrence. In order to keep in line with earth’s rotational changes, the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) must occasionally add seconds to a worldwide timekeeping device. Adding these leap seconds ensures that time as it is commonly understood remains in sync with the movement of earth.

In 2012, such a time adjustment occurred. This caused a range of IT problems commonly known as the Leap Second Bug. Numerous Australian airlines experienced flight delays as a result of the additional second, as well as issues checking in passengers. The Leap Second Bug also caused problems with a variety of highly-trafficked sites, including Reddit and Mozilla.

Acquisition Takes Web Sites Offline for 72 Hours

Business acquisitions are often fraught with tension for all involved. In the case of Alabanza, customers experienced a 72 hour blackout after an acquisition resulted in the company moving integral equipment to another location. This caused a whopping 175,000 sites to go off line, much to the consternation of Alabanza’s numerous customers.

In 2007, Alabanza was acquired by the web hosting company NaviSite. This required a relocation of servers containing vital account information that were being housed in Alabanza’s dedicated data center in Baltimore. Initially, all accounts were slated to be moved by data transfer. However, issues with the file transfer tool led NaviSite to physically move the servers over 400 miles to their data facility in Andover, MA. The result was that many lost access to sites, without any indication that such an interruption was likely to occur.

All sites were eventually brought back online, but the customer dissatisfaction was palpable. Instant access is essential to a successful hosting service, which both Alabanza and NaviSite had to learn the hard way.

Reliable Data Storage Is a Phone Call Away

Unexplained and unnecessary outages can make a client think twice about future data storage. Thankfully, Titan Power has the means to ensure that all data remains secure no matter what occurs. For more information on the many great services we provide, please contact us today at 1-800-509-6170.




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