Blog September 2, 2015

5 Data Disasters to Avoid

September is National Preparedness Month – a time to prepare for disasters such as floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and power outages. Not only should we all take the time to make emergency plans for our families and communities, we should also make plans to protect the data that drives our businesses. Why should we regularly evaluate our data center preparedness? Let’s take a look at some notable data disasters to find out.

Fisher Plaza Fire – Seattle, WA
In July of 2009, an electrical fire at Fisher Plaza in Seattle affected multiple businesses. Many companies housed their equipment in this data center including Authorize.net, a credit card service based in Massachusetts. When the data center went down in Seattle, so did all of the websites of Authorize.net’s ecommerce clients. This single fire affected more data centers at one time than any other similar incident.

Sears Power Outage – Troy, MI
Sears experienced two power outages at its main data center in Michigan in January 2013. The power outage shut down the company’s computer systems, including the website. The company estimated that both incidents resulted in a $2.2M loss in profit. Sears believed the outages were due to poor equipment maintenance and inspection.

Transformer Explosion – Dublin, Ireland
In August of 2011, Amazon and Microsoft data centers were knocked offline in Dublin, Ireland. The power company initially reported that lightning struck a transformer, but informed affected companies that the incident was still under investigation. The explosion left backup generators unable to start, resulting in a total power outage. Amazon stated that instances began to recover 3 hours after the incident and that 60% of the impacted instances were fully recovered and available after 12 hours.

Hurricane Sandy – East Coast, United States
During Hurricane Sandy of October 2012, the East Coast experienced major flooding that affected many businesses. A hosting company located in Manhattan was prepared with backup generators that were above the building’s water line on the 18th floor. Unfortunately, the storm knocked out the generators’ fuel pumping system. With fuel oil limitations in the city, the company did not have enough oil stored in the building for the generators. The company and some helpful customers carried oil up to the 17th floor where the oil tank was located, preventing a shutdown from ever occurring.

Samsung in Flames – Gwacheon, South Korea
Samsung was hit hard in April 2014 when their backup data center in Gwacheon went up in flames. That morning, Samsung TVs, mobile phones, and other devices requiring Samsung servers to operate were inoperable, delivering error messages to users. It’s still a mystery how one fire in a backup data center had such broad consequences, including the crash of Samsung’s entire website.

How prepared is your data center should disaster strike? Let’s face it – disasters are inevitable and can’t be fully avoided. These examples strongly emphasize the importance of implementing a disaster recovery plan and addressing concerns with your hosting provider in order to prevent such incidents from occurring.

Keep checking back throughout September for more posts regarding National Preparedness Month. Also check out our Twitter for some #NatlPrepTech tips. Comment yours below!

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