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Global Switch 2 experiences second major outage in 3 months

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September 20, 2016

A major power outage at Europe’s largest purpose-built data centre, Global Switch 2, has knocked one large enterprise customer offline for more than two days.

Global Switch 2 has blamed the big service outage on supposedly a high voltage equipment fault.

All customers lost access to all services based in the GS2 data centre on Saturday September 10, according to an interim incident report issued by hosting provider Claranet.

The huge service outage lasted for less than a second, but for some unexplained reason, it took Claranet two days to restore services to customers.

The report said the high voltage fault was within the HV cable end box of the output circuit breaker for one of the on-site rotary uninterruptible power supply devices.

"This caused a large interruption of power for the supply feeding services within the Claranet Suite within the Global Switch 2 Data Centre," it said.

The company added-- "All components damaged by the HV fault have been replaced prior to normal power operations being restored. The cable terminations of the remaining available DRUPS have been checked for their integrity to ensure the same issue isn't manifesting itself in other areas of the Global Switch 2 Power system."

That serious incident is the second outage to occur at the GS2 data centre in the last three months. In June, a lightning strike was thought to be responsible for triggering another outage. That lasted for less than a second as well but subsequently knocked Claranet offline for several hours just the same.

One customer described the incidents as unacceptable, and he sure has a valid point. According to GS2, its London East data centre is designed and built to an enhanced Tier III specification, and delivers 46 MVA of power and cooling.

Its advertising claims-- "With diverse feeds from the National Grid's 132 KV network, the incoming electrical supply is considered to be one of the most resilient available to any infrastructure within Britain. London East sits at the heart of the connectivity-rich Docklands, giving you direct access to an abundance of global networks to meet both your commercial and geographical requirements."

We asked GS2 what measures it will put in place to prevent a similar incident from happening again, but the company failed to answer that question.

But it did provide the following statement from John Stevenson, its managing director-- "Global Switch London operates its data centre campus at the highest internationally recognized standards for reliability. Whilst operated to exceed Uptime Institute Tier III standards, the performance for this campus has exceeded Tier IV. Incidents of this nature are extremely rare. The Global Switch infrastructure feature protected power supplies, but one of the four power stations experienced a 220 millisecond switching event. Throughout the weekend we sought to keep our customers fully informed at all times."

Claranet added-- "Power in GS2 was cut just before 11.00 AM and we immediately began our assessment to ensure the facility was safe and that power supplies were reliable, before powering up hardware and other services in a controlled manner. This was completed by 1.30 PM and by 5.10, 85 percent of customer services had been restored."

“Claranet’s suite at GS2 is fed by multiple power feeds from GS2’s central power system,” it added. However, with today's modern technology and the various tools available, to have such a service outage and for two days is unacceptable. Businesses and organizations that cannot afford any downtime should deal with reputable hosting services providers certified by the U.S. Uptime Institute with a Tier III industry guarantee that can reliably provide the institute's highest standards.

Source: Global Switch 2.

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