Seattle Completes Data Center Repairs Ahead of Schedule

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The city of Seattle has successfully completed repairs to the power system supporting its primary data center, completing the work more quickly than expected.  The city turned off many of its online public services Friday to replace a faulty bus bar providing power to the city data center on the 26th floor of the Seattle Metro Tower. Seattle officials initially expected the shutdown to last as long as five days, but restored most services by Saturday evening.

“Work on the Seattle Municipal Tower electrical system has been completed ahead of schedule,” the city reported at 9:37 p.m. Pacific time Saturday. “The City’s website and online applications are up and running and no longer impacted by this maintenance work.”

During the shutdown, city residents were temporarily unable to conduct many services they would normally access online, including paying bills and applying for licenses. Critical operations, including 911 and other public safety systems remained available throughout.

The repairs were prompted by overheating of the primary bus bar, which wasn’t conducting electricity properly at a joint where two pieces come together. When officials determined the bus bar was at risk of overheating, they began shutting down servers and moving systems to reduce the load.

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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2 Comments

  1. They really should've paid attention to this prior to it becoming a problem. There's no excuse for shoddy maintenance.

  2. Sean

    I'm not exactly sure what you're saying, Eric. If they were doing regular thermographic scanning and the issue wasn't seen in the previous scan and was seen in this one, that kind of shows that it worked as designed. Finding issues w/ heating in a bus is tricky, especially since those issues aren't often exposed until loads increase. That issue could have existed for years and been undetactable until loads increased enough to expose it. Seeing as this was able to be done in a planned fashion, avoiding an unexpected/unannounced maintenance or a fire/damage to the gear, it doesn't seem like shoddy maintenance to me (although I don't have many facts beyond what's in these few articles).