North East America is no stranger to adverse weather conditions, however this week forecasts of a “potentially historic blizzard” sent people into a panic over their safety. Thankfully, these forecasts turned out to be a little wide of the mark as the resulting snow storms were not quite as bad as first thought. Towns and cities were still brought to a standstill though, and many businesses had to find ways to continue to operate despite the terrible weather. For some, a snow day isn’t too damaging, however there are certain businesses that simply cannot afford to take unplanned days off - particularly when it comes to technology…
Back in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, large areas of New York City were evacuated, resulting in a number of high profile websites such as Huffington Post and Buzzfeed going offline. As many as 25% of all cell phone towers across 10 states were also damaged, causing mass mobile outages. Big data centres lost power meaning that thousands of websites were taken down. Data centre Peer 1 kept going though, and it was all down to the hard work and endeavour of a number of employees that battled against the power cuts to manually power their servers. Web hosting company Squarespace and web software publishing company FogCreek also lent a hand in helping to keep the servers going (after all, their businesses rely on those servers).
So, just how did they manage to power their servers? Well, because their basement had flooded (the location of their back up servers), their only remaining option was to use the last resort server on the roof (17 floors up). This meant carrying huge amounts of diesel up to the top, by hand. One by one, gallons of diesel were passed up the stairs in buckets, relay style, where they could power the servers. This went on from the afternoon until the early hours of the morning. That’s what you call dedication to your work! When so many companies reputations and livelihood relies on staying online, events like this really put the importance of IT support into perspective…
Sheffield also experienced its fair share of bad weather this week (albeit not quite to North East American standards). Many people couldn’t make it into work due to the snow, but our ICT engineers braved the icy temperatures to ensure they were on hand to provide IT support.
While our feats didn’t quite reach the levels of hauling gallons of diesel up multiple flights of stairs, we like to think our team put in the extra effort to not only make it into the office, but to keep workplaces up and down the country ticking over in the face of the wind and snow.