Truck Crash Knocks Rackspace Offline

Rackspace Managed Hosting suffered a rare data center outage Monday night after a traffic accident damaged a nearby utility transformer, knocking out power to the company’s Dallas facility. The Rackspace data center switched over to generator power, but two chillers failed to start back up again, compromising the cooling system and forcing Rackspace to take customer servers offline to protect the equipment.

The outage was widely noticed in the blogosphere, as Rackspace hosts many popular Web 2.0 sites and blog services, including Laughing Squid, GigaOm and 37 Signals. That meant the downtime was soon making headlines at TechCrunch and ValleyWag.

Rackspace has a total of eight data centers in San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, northern Virginia and London. Many customers appear to have remained online, presumably because they were hosted in sites other than Dallas. The outage lasted approximately three hours.

The downtime was notable primarily because it is a rare occurrence for Rackspace, which has been one of the most reliable providers in the world over the last six years, and was the industry’s best performer in September, according to Netcraft. The San Antonio company topped the Netcraft monthly performance charts six times in 2006, and three times thus far in 2007. Prior to that, the web site did not have a measurable outage from March 2004 through November 2005.

We’ll update when we have additional information from Rackspace on the details of the outage.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.