IBM has turned in another pathetic performance, blowing Air New Zealand’s computer systems right out of the water (and here). The inability of data center providers to keep the lights on is getting ridiculous.
According to the stories, the root cause of the outage was a generator failure during maintenance work. Now it’s one thing to have an unaticipated failure in operation but having a failure during maintenance that requires 6 hours to resolve is just poor contingency planning. Imagine how happy the customer will be when they know they were down 6 hours because of something you specifically did.
It seems like the power competency of data center operators is getting worse and worse, given the string of high profile catastrophic failures this year. Everything from human screwups (The Planet) to disintegrating infrastructure (Fisher Plaza).
The trend that concerns me the most is towards cheaper, “micro run time” power back up such as flywheel. Where traditional UPS systems typically run 30 minutes, flywheel systems run less than 1 minute. They certainly work fine if everything goes right, but if anything goes wrong, there’s zero time to deal with it, you’re going down uncontrolled.
Granted, the flywheel UPS may be more green, since it doesn’t require lead the way battery strings do, but the one shot or nothing operation of them is seriously risky.
We take a different approach on this. We combine the green benefits to data center DC power combined with battery strings big enough to provide hours of run time, not minutes or seconds. It simply isn’t worth taking the risk.
Sometimes things go so bad there isn’t anything you can do, but at least give yourself a chance. It will put you ahead of the big boys.
Vern, SwiftWater Telecom