Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/rackspace_texas_truck/

Rackspace flattened by Texas trucker

Keep on hostin'...or not

By Christopher Williams

Posted in Data Centre, 13th November 2007 11:07 GMT

A major US data centre in Texas was taken out when a truck driver hit a utility pole, sending it crashing into a power transformer.

The Dallas/Fort Worth facility, owned by managed hosting outfit Rackspace, automatically switched to power from its own generators when the accident happened, but chiller units failed to re-start.

The truck hit the transformer at about 6pm central time. There's no word on the condition of the driver yet.

Rackspace wrote: "When we transferred power to our secondary utility power system, the data centre's chilling units were cycled back up.

"At this time, however, the utility provider shut down power in order to allow emergency rescue teams safe access to the accident victim. This repeated cycling of the chillers resulted in increasing temperatures within the data centre. As a precautionary measure we decided to take some customers' servers offline. These servers are now back up, as are the chillers."

All the servers were back at 10.50pm. "It has been a long and hard Monday here at Rackspace," the company's announcement said.

One of the firms downed by the outage was 37signals, a small business software as a service provider. In a company blog post it wrote: "[We] will be using this situation as both a wake-up call and a learning experience. While our systems are engineered to chug through major failure, this 'perfect storm' chain of events beat both our set up and our data centre's sophisticated back-up systems. We will work hard to further diversify our systems in order to make an future downtime event like this even more rare."

The HGV crash marked a climax to a terrible couple of days for the Dallas data centre. Separate internal power grid problems at the company caused an outage for some customers on Sunday before Rackspace switched to generator power.

It then moved back to utility power early on Monday, but almost immediately some servers were forced off the grid again by more internal problems. Engineers were still battling the grid issues when the truck crashed.

El Reg is hosted by Rackspace, but we weren't affected by the outage. ®