New York City Housing Authority Data Center's Backup Power Strategy Helped Weather Sandy

By Maryellen Lo Bosco  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Hurricane Sandy Prompts New Way Of Thinking About Data Center ResiliencyPt. 2: This PagePt. 3: Hurricane Sandy Shows Value Of Cloud Services, Co-location And Redundant FacilitiesPt. 4: Hurricane Sandy's Impact Has Data Centers Outside New York Re-evaluating Threats

Sandy hit three New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) sites, says John McCormick, director of facility planning for NYCHA in Manhattan. One was the primary data center. Thanks to a robust backup power strategy, the facilities didn't go down.

The sites in lower Manhattan lost power, but because there were backup generators the data centers did not go down. "Con Edison lost power to the area for five days, which is a duration we don't plan for. Fortunately, our consistent maintenance and testing of backup power systems and our fuel delivery stand-by contracts proved beneficial," he says. "We were able to get fuel deliveries partly because we are a government agency. We have our own fuel trucks."

NYCHA has another data center about 60 miles from Manhattan, but it would have taken a whole day to activate it, so NYCHA stayed put under the assumption that Con Edison would get the power back on in a reasonable amount of time.

The third site, in Long Island City, Queens, houses 24-hour emergency services and a call center. It was in the flood zone. "We had staff and high-capacity pumps standing by in the basement/switchgear room when the flood water began pouring in," McCormick recalls. "Over the course of two hours we literally kept the waters to within an inch of the gear, ready to shut down at a moment's notice."

How long was your data center(s) offline due to Hurricane Sandy and related events?

Twenty-four data centers reported shutting down as a result of Hurricane Sandy and subsequent weather events.

Less than 6 hours 38%  
6 to less than 48 hours 48%  
48 hours or more 38%  

(Totals add to more than 100% because multiple answers allowed.)

Source: BOM survey


Do you plan to improve the reliability of data center physical infrastructure as a result of lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy? R=164

Yes 22%  
No 54%  
Considering steps 24%  

Source: BOM survey

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  posted on 5/20/2013   Article Use Policy

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