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10/31/2012
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Amazon, Equinix Data Centers Vs. Hurricane Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy battered the Northeast, Amazon Web Services and Equinix data centers held up for most customers.

When Hurricane Sandy hurled a blow at the data center-rich territory of northern N.J., the New York City metropolitan area and northern Virginia Monday, some large sites survived intact.

Amazon Web Services, with its U.S. East–1 complex in Ashburn, Va., and Equinix, with seven locations in New York and additional data centers in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Buffalo and northern N.J., reported that service was holding up in most instances, despite the storm.

The Amazon Health Services dashboard reported no outages except for its CloudFront, content distribution network, which experienced "elevated error rates for content delivered out of several edge locations" between 3:40 and 5:10 p.m. EST Monday.

Other sources, on the other hand, reported at least isolated Amazon server instance outages. Compuware said its Outage Analyzer service had tracked "more than a dozen outage events on the East Coast during (Monday) afternoon and evening."

[ Lower Manhattan data centers faced special problems. See Hurricane Sandy Surge Challenges NYC Data Centers. ]

The outages included "intermittent Amazon EC2 East outages that affected hundreds of domains, as well as outages with other shared services," wrote Colin Mason, product manager for Outage Analyzer at Compuware. He wasn't available to elaborate or say whether they were specifically storm related or not. But the service, using Compuware's Gomez-collected data from around the Internet, is one way to watch for a slow down or known outage at specific cloud providers.

Another monitoring service, Boundary, is located in Ashburn, Va., along with Amazon Web Services. Molly Stamos, director of the Boundary product, said she had been monitoring the flow of customer information on the service through the day --- with some customers operating servers in U.S. East-1 nearby --- and didn't see any significant outages among them.

Equinix chief of global operations, Sam Kapoor, said several Equinix sites in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D. C., "experienced power outages and customer loads were transferred to generator power." One of them, a site known as New York 9, experienced a failure in a generator "that impacted service to several customers. We made repairs and service was returned (Tuesday) morning," Kapoor said in a statement issued at midday Tuesday.

Equinix sites in New York and Washington, D.C., "experienced water leaks. While most were minor and quickly contained, at least one leak at a New York site impacted a customer. We are currently working onsite with the customer to contain the issue," Kapoor wrote in a message.

Unlike some sites in New York, Equinix sites "have at least 48 hours of fuel onsite with fuel vendors standing by to deliver more as needed."

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