August 30, 2011, 11:25 AM — Hurricane (and later Tropical Storm) Irene has left a lot of damage, and more is expected as flood waters continue to wreak havoc in the northeast. There are reports this morning that 38 people have lost their lives. Hurricane preparedness up and down the coast and the fact that Irene hit as a Category 1 rather than a 3 has, no doubt, kept greater damages and loss of life at bay. The same could be said for data center planning and preparedness.
I’ve been checking online posts and reports about how well data centers fared on the east coast, and so far the news looks good. According to this article on Gov Info Security, it appears most data centers operated by governments, hospitals and financial systems stayed strong through the storm. Water has knocked out one data center in Vermont, where severe flooding is impacting that state. The state government’s web site reports that the Waterbury State Office complex has sustained significant water damage as a result of Irene, which apparently took out some servers and hardware, including routers. It is estimated that it could be two weeks or more before this facility will be fully operational, according to the state’s site.
Gov Info Security reports that the Vermont government backed up data before Irene hit so critical information is secured at a remote site. The article also notes that Irene caused power fluctuations at the state of New Hampshire’s data centers, but backup generators and uninterruptible power supply systems kept servers functioning. Minimal flooding at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City, which was evacuated during the storm, caused some water damage in peripheral portions of the IT department, but Gov Info Security reports that the IT department was well prepared and shut down all phone systems, the computer network and all applications before Irene hit, and that all information systems were restored Sunday.