Power Outage at Colo4 Data Center

Colocation provider Colo4 experienced a power outage at one of its Dallas data centers Wednesday after an automatic transfer switch failed on one of the facility’s utility feeds. The incident resulted in approximately six hours of downtime for affected customers.

Colo4 was able to restore power by about 6:30 p.m., the company said in a status update on its web site. The automatic transfer switch (ATS) switches a facility’s electric power source from the utility grid to backup power, usually supplied by a diesel backup generator. It’s a crucial piece of equipment in helping data centers remain online during utility outages.

Problems with automatic transfer switches were cited in at least four data center outages in 2010. The Colo4 team restored power by installing a backup ATS that it had on-site for emergencies.

In Wednesday’s incident, there was no problem with the electrical grid in Dallas, according to Colo4, which said it will provide customers with a more detailed update after it completes a review of the incident.

As is the case in many lengthy outages, customers were critical of the company’s initial response. During the incident, Colo4 set up a Twitter account to provide updates on its progress in resolving the incident. The company apologized, asked for patience and emphasized the need for staff to focus on recovery efforts.

“Our guys are working hard,” Colo4 said in one status update. “While we all prepare for emergencies, it is still quite difficult when one is in effect. We could have done a better job keeping you informed. We know our customers are also stressed.”

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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.

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  1. To long to be down, was the ATS properly commissioned and was the Critical systems on a O and M schedule "testing"....these things can be avoided with a proper O and M....just because items are commissioned does not mean you can assume they will work, Taking 6 hours to restore means the back-up plan was not well planned .....KT

  2. See Below this White paper note for Data center "Downtime costs": So who was not ready in my notes above....a natural dissaster of epic proportions is the only excuse for down time in excess of a few hours. The subsection entitled “Quantifying the Cost of Downtime” is particularly enlightening and examines nine categories of vulnerability. It calculates a loss of $5.600.00 per minute with extrapolated numbers that are frightening.

  3. Robert Shahriari

    In the past 7 years I have used Internap's Data Centers for our business, and never experienced such outages. I suggest to everyone shopping price is not everything, one outage like this will put you and your business out in the street for ever.

  4. Tom Harding

    Our company leases a cabinet at colo4 and have been with them for 4+ yrs so far. The failed ATS was one of the original units so Im guessing age was min 8-10yrs old depending if they revamped anything with all the expansion over the last 3yrs. The facility is one of the better colos in the DFW metroplex and I have toured many. It took about 2hrs to detremine that the ATS was not fixable and had to be replace. Staff sledge hammed a concrete wall to break into the newer section and get to the other ATS that was not used. Swapping out an ATS takes time. Local grid has to be cut heavy electric techs to remove the unit and install the other. From looking online at other ATS this almost looks like a free standing cabinet...Not some tiny 100amp switch on the wall. History of ATS - FUSING is well known and most likely the cause but we will have to wait. BTW.. we are not leaving colo4 due to this issue. DO you have redundant A-B electrical service to you cabinet and are your servers wired to each separate service?