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Google data center links shot down by 'bored' riflemen

Pot shots in the back-end

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Google may have fashioned a new-age contraption that automatically relocates data stores when one of its top-secret data centers is beset by traffic or hardware snafus. But it's still struggling to protect its data centers against hunters taking pot shots at aerial fiber connections.

According to Australia's IT News, Google infrastructure czar Vijay Gill has revealed that during hunting season, fibre links running across electricity poles to the company's state-of-the-art data center in The Dalles, Oregon are "regularly" shot down by riflemen. "What people do for sport or because they're bored, they try to shoot at the insulators," Gill said. "I have yet to see them actually hit the insulator, but they regularly shoot down the fibre."

To solve this rather inconvenient problem, Google is working to move the facility's fibre links underground. "Every November, when hunting season starts invariably we know that the fibre will be shot down, " Gill continued, "so much so that we are now building an underground path [for it]."

As it stands, when the links are shot down, the company sends repairmen via helicopter or Caterpillar D9 tractor. But on one occasion, an Oregon snowstorm prevented such transportation, so Google sent its repairmen on skis. "These guys had to cross country ski for three days," Gill said. "[One guy] is carrying what is known as a fusion splicing kit on his backpack."

The always entertaining Gill couldn't help but exaggerate for effect. "These guys had to go in and fix the fibre while facing gunshots," he said. "So [the] internet [is] more dangerous than you realise." ®

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