Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why Manhattan Is the Worst Place for a Data Center — and the Best


Hurricane Sandy may have come and gone, but it’s still causing problems inside the massive computing facilities erected on the southern tip of Manhattan. 

When the hurricane crashed into Lower Manhattan on Monday, two major data centers were seriously damaged as waters flooded their basements. One went completely dark, knocking out several big-name websites, including Gawker, Gizmodo, and The Huffington Post, and the other could go down in a matter of hours. 

Both basements — 33 Whitehall Street and other just blocks away at 75 Broad — house fuel pumps that plug into generators designed to provide backup power in the event of a blackout. The hurricane had already knocked out the local power grid, and when it sunk the pumps, these massive computing facilities also lost at least part of their Plan B.

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