Data Center Map

Natural Hazards & Data Centers

By Sune Christesen on September 15, 2009

A few days ago footage from the surveillance cameras in a Vodafone data center in Istanbul was released, showing how the massive flooding in the city came in to the raised floor area and made the floor tiles float around like small floating ducks.
The video can be seen below (forward to 1:54 to get inside the server room):

Normally data centers are designed to withstand the most common natural hazards in the areas they are located in, so it is pretty rare that data centers are affected directly by floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires etc. and even more rare to see footage of it. However, it does happen sometimes that we hear about data centers being affected by unexpected natural hazards or surviving them:

Wildfire close to California data center
In 2007 a wildfire near the data center of Pepperdine University came within 100 feet of the facility, forcing the staff to begin emergency procedures of shutting down systems and moving backup data away from the location. Luckily firefighters managed to save the data center from the flames, so it remained operational during the incident. Further details about the event can be found at Computerworld.

Data center struggled with Hurricane Katrina
During Hurricane Katrina that terrorised New Orleans in 2005, the staff of a data center stuck it out on the 10th floor of a building for nearly two weeks to keep their facility operational. The data center operated on emergency power and played an important role for communications in the area after the hurricane. More details about the episode can be read at Wired.

UK data center rides out earthquake
United Kingdom is not normally an area affected by earthquakes, but in 2008 an earthquake occurred with an epicenter only 30 miles from the Smartbunker data center in Lincolnshire. Fortunately the earthquake, measuring 5.3 on the Richter scale, had no effects on operations of the data center even though the earthquake was felt all the way in Amsterdam. Data Center Knowledge has further coverage about this.

To finish up where we started, here is a video from another flooded data center:

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