Top Five Weird Data Center Outages

No one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them, and with a reliable cloud hosting provider like Superb managing your data, it’s highly unlikely that it will. Our data centers are state-of-the-art facilities full of the very best in server hardware, HVAC controls, uninterruptible power sources, redundancies and emergency plans. What’s more, they’re staffed by highly qualified data center (DC) techs with years of experience under their belts. What that means is that it’s safe to assume that your data is safe with us. It’s taken care of in our cloud because we’ve put every feasible precaution in place to keep your data safe, online and accessible.

There’s an old saying in regards to only two things in life being certain, though, and neither death nor taxes spell “data centers.” Still, we’re constantly working to keep your data online and are always exploring the latest options for helping us to do it.

In fact, we guarantee that your cloud instance will always be available thanks to our automatic failover. Even if an issue pops up, your instance will be auto-restarted in another part of the cloud with hardly any downtime at all. Our network does not have any one point of failure, which means your cloud instance will stay up and accessible throughout our three United States data centers. What’s more, you’ll get one free day of service anytime you experience an hour of downtime. That means that you don’t have to worry about your data being available when you store it with us, because we’re worrying about it for you around the clock. We’ve got you covered.

That being said, most DC owners who’ve suffered outages likely thought they had enough safeguards in place themselves. Sometimes – whether your data is stored in-house at your own building or externally at a remote facility – utilities go down and backup systems fail. That means that you better hope your cloud provider has a guarantee in place to keep you up and running with automatic failovers bringing you back online almost immediately in the event of an outage. In other words, you better hope you’ve got Superb Cloud.

In any case, Data Center Knowledge recently took a look at some of the most oddball DC outages to ever hit the industry. These happenings were straight up weird and/or totally unexpected. And, well, they make for pretty interesting reads.

Yahoo’s Squirrel Problem

You wouldn’t think one tiny little rodent could cause one major data center problem for a tech giant like Yahoo, but you’d be wrong. In 2010 a squirrel took down 50 percent of Yahoo’s Santa Clara DC. This sounds absurd to anyone not familiar with the industry, but the reality is that squirrels like to chew on everything, and that includes power cords. Googling “squirrel outage” returns a slew of incidents involving the furry little guys munching on cables until they knocked out power.

For Yahoo, the secret to keeping its data available was, just like Superb, having multiple facilities available for failover protection. Trust us, it’s a much more effective strategy than having Chewbacca blast squirrels mynoks off of your power cables.

Anchors Away

The internet, as you’re likely well aware, is a global phenomenon. Since we live in a globalized, connected world, that means data needs to be accessible across continents. Making it all possible are gigantic cables running underneath the oceans to ferry traffic back and forth. As you might imagine, these cables are highly durable – but they’re not invincible.

Back in 2008, one such cable over under the Mediterranean in the Middle East was severed. While it didn’t take down a data center, it did decimate the internet for an entire region. In any case, some initially suspected that it was the result of intentional sabotage. As it turned out, though, it was nothing more than a ship accidentally dropping its anchor onto a cable. Whoops.

You know those public service announcements warning you to call before you dig? Well, maybe the oceans of the world need PSAs warning captains to call before they drop anchor.

No Ifs or Ands About It – Just One Butt

Regardless of how you feel about smoking in public – and we’re not taking any sides in that debate – you can probably see the wisdom in not smoking in or near DCS. Or, at the very least, can understand why used cigarette butts in the vicinity of data facilities need to be properly disposed of. (Fires and sever hardware don’t exactly play well together.) For one Australian center that unfortunately wasn’t the case in 2009.

Perth iX in Western Australia was shut down for around an hour when its VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) system was set off due to smoke. The problem was eventually identified as a carelessly discarded cigarette butt that caused some nearby mulch to start smoldering. That’s one costly smoke break.

Super Storm Makes for Super Problems

Remember when Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Atlantic Coastline in 2012? It was the second-costliest hurricane in United States history, and Northeastern beach towns weren’t its only victims. Sandy hammered New York City, tragically causing intense amounts of damage to many who lived and worked there. DCs in the Big Apple suffered as much as any other businesses and one provider even resorted to having its employees move five-gallon buckets full of diesel fuel from a local gas station to its building and up 17 flights of stairs to its generators through a “bucket brigade” assembly line.

No one ever expected such a powerful storm to strike so far north, which meant many facilities with power supplies on lower levels found themselves in big trouble when massive flooding occurred. Hopefully, for everyone’s sakes, the world never experiences anything like Sandy ever again.

Stolen Servers

Everyone knows how important security is when it comes to data. What many don’t think about, though, is that hackers are only one part of the security threat. Even though your data is available over the internet when it’s put into the cloud, it still exists on real-world servers, and that means physical threats besides Mother Nature are very real.

For instance, a pair of masked men infiltrated a Chicago DC seven years ago and made off with a pile of computer equipment, with approximately 20 data servers being among their haul. The center only had one staffer working during the night of the incident, and the criminals either tazed or pistol-whipped the poor individual (reports vary on precisely what happened). It’s believed that they utilized a high-powered saw to cut into the building before hiding out in the mechanical closet until most employees went home for the night.

Those are only some of the crazier DC shutdowns in history. You can head over to Data Center Knowledge for their full breakdown of 10 of the strangest ones to ever occur, or, if you just want to head straight to someplace that your data will be protected from outages, then give Superb a call. Remember, we guarantee our automatic failover system will keep your data online.

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