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The Planet Datacenter Offline After Fire

Transformer explosion hit thousands of servers

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[ Business]

A transformer fire knocked a Houston datacenter offline, taking down thousands of customers with it.

We wondered why our Sunday fix of webcomic Schlock Mercenary wasn’t available with the morning bacon and eggs. Only a static note saying their datacenter experienced a wall-leveling explosion appeared onscreen.

Later, Alan Gray of Newsblaze wrote in to confirm that detail about the problem at The Planet, where the incident occurred.

“It is now known that there was an explosion that knocked down three walls surrounding the electrical equipment room,” said Gray. “Luckily, there were no injuries.”

Center Networks posted a note from The Planet CEO Douglas Erwin, who described what happened:

Three walls of the electrical equipment room on the first floor blew several feet from their original position, and the underground cabling that powers the first floor of H1 was destroyed.

About 3,000 servers affected by the explosion may be in for some serious downtime. Erwin said “the damage there was far more extensive, and we have a bigger challenge” to get them running again.

The incident highlights the need for webmasters to have a disaster recovery plan in place for their sites. A situation like this doesn’t allow anyone to rewind to the past and prepare better; backups of data and access to installations of web application software should be available in a crisis in minutes or hours at worst, not days.

The Planet Datacenter Offline After Fire
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