Documenting Gustav's Impact

Gustav roundup: Zipa staffers live-blog the hurricane, while Renesys reports that local Internet infrastructure fared much better than during Katrina.

Three years ago staffers at colocation provider Zipa received worldwide notice as they live-blogged the fury of Hurricane Katrina as it struck New Orleans. The Zipa crew was on the job again yesterday as the city weathered Hurricane Gustav, documenting the storm's impact at GustavBloggers.com. Zipa, which along with DirectNIC is part of the InterCosmos Media Group,  is housed on the 10th and 11th floors of a 27-floor office tower near Lafayette Square.

"We were lucky this time," Zipa CEO Sigmund Solares writes in a storm summary. "But we also were prepared—from the city to the state to the feds, to our company’s staff, which worked hard in the background to keep hundreds of thousands of clients and many emergency communications operational. Preparation makes a difference."

The same can be said for local communications during the storm, including Internet connectivity, according to an analysis by Renesys.

"For now, the Internet infrastructure seems to be holding up amazingly well," writes Earl Zmijewski of Rensys, which provides intelligent routing and market analysis. "We watched the storm roll ashore via the network outages by state. Outages are slowly increasing over time, but do not compare to what we observed during Katrina."

About 42 network prefixes were offline yesterday in Orleans and Jefferson parishes in Louisiana, the area hit hardest by Gustav. Providers hit hardest included Charter Communications, Service Provider Corporation and the State Library of Louisiana.

Widespread communciations outages during Hurricane Katrina prompted the FCC to pass new rules requiring telecom and wireless companies to provide backup power for cell sites and remote telecom facilities. It also led New Orleans officials to secure backup data center space in Austin, Texas for disaster recovery in the event of another storm.

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