The Most Bizarre Data Center Downtime Stories

Every data center manager has disaster recovery and downtime prevention at the top of their list. While most logical scenarios and events are planned for and even insured by due diligence teams, there are some bizarre occurrences that can leave even the most diligent planners in a daze. Call it the hand of God or the hand of Evil, you will be surprised to hear of some of the strangest data center downtime causes in recent times.

The Most Bizarre Data Center Downtime StoriesBlame it on the squirrels: Did you know that squirrels are infamous when it comes to their affinity for chewing on telecommunication wires? Yahoo was a victim of a squirrel nuisance in 2010 when half their Santa Clara data center was down thanks to frying squirrels and their affinity for tampering with electrical equipment. If you are authoring a data center disaster recovery plan, do factor in the possibility of squirrel attacks if they are found in your vicinity.

False alarms caused by cigarette butts: This has actually happened in Perth, Australia, where a harmless cigarette butt startled an extremely sensitive very early smoke detection apparatus (VESDA) system. The data center in Perth was forced to shut down for almost an hour until the cause of the alarm could be unravelled and traced to a smoldering garden bed outside the facility.

The leap second bug: The value of one second was revealed in this incident that took place in 2012. The world atomic clock is occasionally adjusted to add one second on account of variations in the rotation speed of the Earth. This one second caused so much flutter in global IT systems, it brought down popular websites, including LinkedIn. This incredible one second also caused a delay of 400 flights in Australia as manual check-in had to be used as an alternative to automated check-in.

It's kind of scary to think there are causes that are unheard of that have the capacity to bring down your data center in the blink of an eye. While some of these are great stories for you to laugh about in a business meeting, you may want to ensure your business is never featured in a list like this in the future.

Lifeline Data Centers is a Rated-4 facility with maximum uptime. We are dedicated to making sure things like this don't happen, and we want to protect your data. Contact us for a tour today.

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.
Alex Carroll