Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Snowed In

The conditions of the last two days have played havoc with the country's infrastructure with people stranded at home, on the road and at work. For many it was a welcome day off, but for those that have needed to travel it was a nightmare. Nearly all the public transport links in the South East were shut down and the roads were plagued by accidents and road closures which resulted in 20 minute journeys taking 4 hours. An estimated £1.2 billion was lost to the country's economy as at least 6.4 million workers stayed at home unable, or unwilling to brave the treacherous weather. For those who tried to get to work, checking the weather, traffic conditions and public transport networks was vitally important, but with much of the country having similar ideas, popular websites could not cope with the increased traffic levels. The Transport For London (TFL) website was down for a prolonged period as hundreds of thousands of people check to see if they could get to work and National Rail Enquiries recorded 800% more website hits than usual for a Monday morning.

Many people also experienced problems making phone calls, as the major phone companies buckled under the shear volume of calls. Many people were receiving engaged tones or network busy messages as people called friends and relatives and sent picture messages of the snow across the country. The BBC reported numbers upwards of 36,000 pictures and videos being sent in of local weather conditions and humorous activities in the snow.

The net result of this increased traffic will certainly mean upgrades to the infrastructure of all those affected by the technology 'black-outs'. Consumers reliance on up to date information, and annoyance when this cannot be obtained, will lead to an increase in the amount of power dedicated to the websites and phone lines of the major companies that have been affected by the adverse weather conditions. Much of this power will come as emergency servers are switched on to cope with the increased demand. With the UK already suffering from a severe power shortage, the knock-on effect will be more brown-outs, full blown power cuts and spikes to be coped with in our ever important data centres. Data Centre Managers, be warned, knowing whether your backup power supplies work now would be a very good thing. Many data centres have backup power supplies, but they are never tested or only partially tested. It is at times like these that some Data Centre Managers will wish they had done a full integrated system test earlier and under more controlled conditions.

Migration Solutions are data centre specialists, providing truly independent and impartial advice to customers from all sectors of industry. Visit www.migrationsolutions.com for more about the company and services that we offer.

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