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."