2012 Hurricane Season: A Stark Reminder of The Importance Data Center Location

Hurricane SandyAs 2012 draws to an end it is easy to look at the numerous accomplishments and innovations that have taken place in data centers across the globe.  Unfortunately, the latter portion of 2012 also provided a stark reminder of how important of a factor the location of data center really is.  Hurricane Sandy tops the list of most talked about natural disasters within the data center industry and for good reason.  This provides the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at recent natural disasters, particularly hurricanes, and how they have affected data centers across the country.

The 2012 Hurricane Season

This year’s hurricane season will chiefly be remembered for Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Isaac.  Both of these hurricanes were extremely destructive.  This makes it easy to overlook the fact that there were nearly 20 hurricanes and tropical storms in total.  In fact, the first hurricane (Chris) appeared in June which is several months ahead of the traditional beginning of hurricane season (August).

The Real Hurricane Threat is Different than Most People Would Expect

Most people assume that once a hurricane has dissipated the real damage has already been done.  The truth is the days following a hurricane are when the most damage occurs.  Stemming from the initial damage, power outages and flooding can quickly cripple a data center which structurally survived the storm.

Hurricane Sandy Demonstrated the Real Threat Is Flooding and Power Outages

  • 75 Broad Street in Manhattan

One of the best illustrations of the damage which occurs after a hurricane has passed was seen at a data center on 75 Broad Street in Manhattan.  Both Peer1 Hosting and Internap were forced to shut down operations following the power outage because the basement level completely flooded.  Unfortunately, this where the backup generators were located which means the essential diesel fuel pumps were completely disabled.  Even after receiving emergency fuel, additional emergency pumps had to be brought in and set up.

  • 33 Whitehall Street

A similar situation arose at 33 Whitehall Street when Datagram was forced to shut down their data center as well.  This is why popular websites like The Huffington Post, Gawker, and Buzzfeed were all offline following Hurricane Sandy.

Disaster Preparation Is Rarely Enough When a Hurricane Strikes

To make matters worse, the preparation before a hurricane hits is rarely enough.  Data centers in the path of both Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Isaac had more than enough time to begin implementing their emergency precautions.  This included getting more fuel, testing backup generators, and preparing to maintain services following the disaster struck.  Unfortunately, all of the planning and preparation was inadequate.

What’s the Solution?

While predicting the exact location or the extent of the damage natural disasters cause is impossible, selecting a data center which is at a low risk of being affected is much easier.  There are a handful of locations across the country which are located outside of every major natural disaster zone.  Contact us today to discover which fully redundant, purpose-built data centers are located in low risk zones and provide the ideal protection for your valuable equipment and data.

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