5 Digital Disasters that Prove the World’s Reliance on Data Centres
10 June, 2015
The world relies on data centres to a far greater extent than most members of the public realise. From internet to health, justice to telecommunications; data centres ensure that as our world evolves technologically, critical data and information is securely stored, backed up and safeguarded.
However, despite enterprise level security and cutting edge protection, occasionally things go wrong. As these examples prove, when data centres encounter issues, the world at large faces a similar fate…
In December 2014 Queensland hospitals went into meltdown with doctors forced to resort to pen and paper following a data centre crash. The chaos was sparked by what should have been a routine software upgrade of storage controllers at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital in Herston.
The organisation in charge of all the state hospitals, Queensland Health, said that the services were kept running by contingency plans to ensure that hospitals and surgeries ran as normal. But with hospitals relying on data more than ever before, we can imagine how stressful it must have been for the staff trying to keep things running smoothly.
December 2014 saw nearly 100 crown courts face operation restrictions after the XHIBIT system at supplier CGI’s data centre went down due to a failure.
This was not the first time that the judicial process had been affected by data centres.
In June 2014, Canada’s Marysville local economy lost $1.6M when crucial government systems crashed due to a power outage which knocked the data centre offline – leaving several state departments in the dark according to government reports. Courts came to a halt as victim impact statements and probation reports could not be made.
Data centres cover an extensive range of industries and subsequently, have the potential to disrupt a wide scope of individuals. This became apparent during the 2015 Easter weekend in Ireland. An electrical problem at one of mobile phone network Three’s Irish data centres left 2 million people without mobile network coverage.
What’s worse, the electrical fault also meant that the company’s customer services went down too. Not a good day to be a Three customer!
A week after announcing it had reached a milestone 200 million users, a problem at AVG’s Antispam data centre left thousands of people worldwide without access to their emails or security services.
The event occurred due to unplanned maintenance at the data centre and caused much concern amongst customers and companies alike. Problems with data access and security are particularly embarrassing to a company like AVG which lives and dies by its data centres.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy destroyed several Manhattan data centres and left others flooded, causing widespread power outages for thousands of New Yorkers. The storm was so severe that Lower Manhattan had to temporarily have its power turned off to avoid further damages to the data centres.
While well-built data centres can be highly efficient, these data disasters highlight the need for contingency plans if unforeseen circumstances disrupt business as usual.