As Hurricane Sandy bore down on New York City this week, the subway system and countless homes and people were not the only targets for damage. Data centers in the media hub also contended with outages, affecting video services and several major websites.
For instance, Syndicaster, which services more than 25 percent of U.S. news-producing television affiliates and more than 150 newspapers, was a casualty of an outage at the New York City-based Critical Media data center. Critical Mention said that its CTV4 and AllMedia platforms remained affected as of Wednesday night.
"Mandatory evacuation -- of the building housing the Critical Mention data center -- has occurred, along with deliberate power equipment shut-down by ConEd to preserve power equipment," according to a statement issued Monday night by Critical Media. "...When Critical Media personnel can safely reenter the building housing our data center, we will resume operations on back-up power."
Stations across the United States were affected, all the way to the Pacific: KIMT Channel 3, the CBS television affiliate for parts of Iowa and Minnesota, lost its online video service thanks to the disruption. The outage affects KIMT's online video player, online videos attached to stories live streaming, and the ability to add new videos to kimt.com. In Portland, Ore., KOIN Channel 6’s online video platform is down. For now, the local station will host most of the videos usually available on KOINLocal6.com on its YouTube (News - Alert) Channel.
As the storm flooded basements in New York City, it took down other major websites and services -- including The Huffington Post, Gizmodo, Buzzfeed and Gawker (News - Alert), all customers of the lower Manhattan data center run by Datagram, whose basement and back-up generators were washed out of commission. Video-centric content delivery network (CDN) operator Akamai (News - Alert) swept into action to help the
Steadfast, meanwhile, reported that servers at its data center in New York City were down due to an electrical failure. “We have just been informed that due to an auxiliary electrical failure, power systems have failed at our nyc16 facility at 121 Varick St in New York City. All New York servers and services are now offline and we have no ETA for service restoration,” it said. Steadfast maintains video servers for a variety of media companies.
While Hurricane Sandy’s swath of devastation is no ordinary day at the office for testing redundancy, the outages do call into question the wisdom of relying on a single data center for mission-critical services like media Websites.
“How dumb to locate datacenter in a flood zone. And how dumb to host Gawker servers there,” Gawker publisher Nick Denton (News - Alert) tweeted.
And, the super-storm outages are not the first to raise a red flag, In July, an East Coast electrical storm cut power to an Amazon data center in Virginia, disrupting operations for several high-profile companies, including Instagram, Netflix and Pinterest.Tara Seals has over thirteen years of experience as a journalist. Her areas of expertise cover the waterfront of the service provider segment, especially mobile networks, devices and applications; and video infrastructure, content and broadcast models.
Edited by Brooke Neuman