A Tale Of Three Brands, a Server, and a Hurricane

A Tale Of Three Brands, a Server, and a Hurricane

November 1st, 2012

A number of New York companies are scrambling to keep their servers online in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Three major media companies, Huffington Post, Gawker, and BuzzFeed, were reported about on Mashable.

The three brands house their servers with Datagram, located beside Battery Park, where the flooding hit a record high of about 14 feet.

When Con Edison lost power to Lower Manhattan, Datagram’s emergency systems kicked on to maintain the data centers’ power.

According to Datagram’s website, the basement began to flood around 5 p.m. during the storm. The water overwhelmed the pumps, which fuel backup generators to keep the servers online.

“Due to electrical systems being underwater, the building was forced to shut down to avoid fire and permanent damage,” the company wrote.

Of the three brands, each is handling the situation differently:

  • Gawker is still running “emergency” pared-down sites throughout all of its properties, including Gizmodo, Jezebel and Kotaku.
  • BuzzFeed chose to continue updating via social platforms. The company wrote on Tumblr that “elements” of the site would return online, thanks to Akamai, a content delivery network that hosts content on servers all over the world. The engineering team then rebuilt all of BuzzFeed’s data using Amazon cloud storage, with one developer working overnight — even after a tree fell through his roof.
  • The Huffington Post was also up all night recovering data. The news site hosts its data across the country, but its main data center lives at Datagram — with a backup data center in Newark, N.J. Up to Tuesday morning, The Huffington Post was accessible through a temporary site. It is currently back up and running.

Other server maintenance companies are keeping their servers afloat through the flooding with volunteer bucket brigades hauling drums of diesel up 18 flights of stairs to keep servers running.

What do you think? Has your company been impacted by server problems because of the hurricane?