Houston’s Data Centers Emerged from Harvey Unscathed
September 05, 2017
Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall has finally passed, meaning the long cleanup and recovery process can now commence.
Here at Server Technology, our hearts go out to all of the victims that were impacted by the storm, and to those who will be facing terrible difficulties in the days to come. Already, Harvey is being called the biggest flood-producing storm in U.S. history. Its winds reached 125 mph and brought more than 50 inches of rain to the region, which is an American record.
Looking ahead, there are many questions that are starting to come to the surface—perhaps the biggest for the U.S. data center community being, when will the next major storm reach land? And what will it entail? Some scientists now believe hurricanes are in fact getting worse due to climate change, and weaker storms are also happening less frequently.
“If we just look at frequency, there’s really no theory that says we should see fewer or more storms,” stated James Elsner, climate scientist, and geographer at Florida State University. “But if we look at intensity separately, there is a theory that says they should get stronger — especially the strongest ones. And we do see some evidence for that in the data.”
As such, extreme weather is something that U.S. data center administrators need to take very seriously. There is no telling what the next major storm will bring. After all, we are only in August, and hurricane season is just starting to heat up. Already, there is another storm in the works: Tropical storm Irma, which researchers are closely monitoring.
If there is any silver lining to take away from Hurricane Harvey, it’s that the area’s data centers were well prepared for this event. Houston’s data centers successfully weathered the storm*, as every facility stayed up and running and transmitted essential network services to local citizens.
As explained in Data Center Frontier, the key decisions that kept the region’s data centers up and running were made years ago during the site selection process. Houston’s data centers were well positioned in areas that were safe from the rising flood waters.
Every data center administrator—particularly those in charge of overseeing facilities designed for emergency response or communications—needs to look at Hurricane Harvey as an opportunity to reassess their own data center safety measures. This is particularly important for data centers located in areas that are prone to flooding or other types of disasters.
Remember: Don’t wait for a catastrophe to find out whether your facility is ready for the challenge! Take this as a warning, and make sure that your data center has the appropriate solutions in place to stay up and running during inclement weather.