With just about every hosting service now promising 99 percent uptime, you’ve just got to wonder what happens during the other 1 percent.
Here are some of the freakiest things that have brought down web hosts.
How Moving Vehicles can obliterate your Website
Rackspace is a very popular company specializing in datacenter operation. They host some of the most popular websites on the internet. They offer the famous 100% uptime guarantee, which has attracted website giants such as Motorola, 37 Signals, and Laughing Squid. Rackspace was even voted as one of the most reliable hosts- year after year.
What Rackspace can’t stop is the force of a moving truck power-driving into a transformer. As the transformer blew, so did the electricity. Rackspace was apparently caught at a bad time, as the back-up generators were lacking the proper cooling needed to sustain power. The back-up generators were eventually pulled offline, and a slew of websites came down with them.
Web hosts can protect against denial of service attacks, hacking attempts, and common security vulnerabilities- but they just can’t compare to the force of a moving truck.
Mother Nature Rears her Ugly Head
A truck isn’t that bad. If we were determined enough, we could surround our datacenter and necessary utilities with a 30 foot wall of cement. We would still be vulnerable to the fierce force of Mother Nature, who took out the ServerBeach datacenter in Virginia.
In this case, a power outage caused the ServerBeach datacenter to go into generator mode- much like Rackspace. And also like Rackspace, ServerBeach had problems with getting their air conditioning units online. As the temperatures quickly rose in the datacenter, the entire supply of servers had to be immediately shut down to save everything.
The utility company did manage to bring electricity back online- which led us all to question: do any of the air conditioning units in datacenters actually work?
Things Tend to Catch Fire
It probably wasn’t possible mentioning web hosting nightmares without also mentioning Dreamhost. Dreamhost is rather famous for multiple outages, covering a broad spectrum of reasons. What’s more exciting than a good campfire in the datacenter?
Apparently when generators catch fire, websites start to go down. And not just a few- a good number of customers suddenly realized maybe a fire-prone datacenter isn’t the best kind to invest in. Dreamhost didn’t get any slack- negative customer feedback flooded their blog as the story was unfolding.
Who can blame them? It seems if datacenters aren’t catching fire these days, they are getting attacked by trucks or lightning storms.
A Look to the Future
If you haven’t heard, Japan is investigating alternative placement of datacenters. Their best idea yet: abandoned coal mines. Apparently placing a datacenter in an abandoned coal mine is estimated to save millions in electricity costs annually.
We’re all a fan of saving electricity- and even a fan of keeping datacenters away from truck drivers. But we aren’t so keen on the idea of what’s next. Think about it; the next time your website goes down could be because of a coal mine collapse. Or even perhaps a bit of underground pollution clogged the ventilation system in the server room- either way it sounds like recovery time will be a little longer than normal.
No one is safe from being exterminated from the internet. If major corporations can fall to the vehicle accident, thunderstorm, fire, mine collapse- you name it- then you won’t fare any better. Your best bet? Follow Google’s example and invest in as many datacenter locations as needed- after all, how many coincidences can happen across multiple locations spanning the entire world?
And even then, we are all subject to the occasional conspiracy.
[tags] web hosting [/tags]