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Dark Monday in Milan

Power outages were reported to us by companies having their infrastructures in various datacenters in Milan (Italy) during the whole day, with some major issues and Cloud service interruptions.

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Dark Monday in Milan

Past Monday, July 6th 2015, has been on fire, and dark. Literally. Major power outages were reported to us by companies having their infrastructures in various datacenters in Milan (Italy) during the whole day, with some serious issues and Cloud service disruptions.

As we were reported during the morning a minor power outage has interested a datacenter on south of Milan: short in time, a few seconds, but long enough to make all the servers reboot forcefully after the outage.

The major issue has interested Colt’s Milan datacenter which went completely dark at about 10.36pm and stayed that way for about 2 hours, with fire brigades on-site. As the Company reported latter in its Reason of Outage report, a motor generator malfunction producing an excessive amount of smoke, which cause the fire brigade to intervene on-site and suddenly evacuate all the personnel from the building. In this case, the power supply malfunction has caused some major hardware damage, causing some components to need replacement (which is ongoing at the time of this post).

The issues are mainly related to an insufficient amount of electrical power available to the country, forcing power grid operators to plot emergency plans that issues “planned” blackouts to avoid a major black out nation-wide. According to the emergency plan the planned outages shall not exceed 90 minutes each. As it turns out the power needs of Italy has reached its absolute peak: 56.883 MW of power consumption has been reported by Terna S.p.A., the company handling country’s electrical grid. The value was reported at 4.00PM of July 7th.

The datacenters (of which I am aware of because directly interested) affected by the situation are, respectively, of 3MW and 4MW in power, each with motor generators capable of supplying power in case of an extended outage that can’t be handled by the sole UPS systems.

Therefore the consideration here is not actually the power need, but how power grid instability can have devastating effects on IT equipment and on Cloud services. As the IT Cloud infrastructures grow in needs of energy, the reliability of all its components are crucial, electrical power being the main need of any Datacenter.