Equinix Data Center Outage in London Blamed on Faulty UPS

Outage causes disruptions for London Internet Exchange, connectivity problems for BT customers

Yevgeniy Sverdlik

July 21, 2016

2 Min Read
Equinix fiber tray
Cable trays inside an Equinix data center.Equinix

Wednesday’s data center outage at one of the Telecity facilities in London Equinix took over in its recent acquisition of the European service provider was caused by a problem with a UPS system, Equinix told its customers via email, according to news reports. Studies show that UPS failure is the most common cause of data center outages.

The company did not say what exactly went wrong with the UPS, but the outage caused connectivity problems for many subscribers to internet services by BT, whose spokeswoman told the Register that about one in every 10 attempts to reach a website by its users failed during the outage.

The data center outage affected a portion of BT subscribers in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, according to the review of affected areas posted on BT’s status page by the BBC.

Equinix issued a press statement by Russell Poole, its managing director for the UK, confirming the outage at the former Telecity LD8 data center. “This impacted a limited number of customers, however service was restored within minutes,” he said.

A spokesman for the London Internet Exchange (LINX) told the BBC that the outage lasted from 7:55 am to 8:17 am BST.

The Telecity LD8 data center, now called 8/9 Harbour Exchange, is one of five data centers that make up the Telecity campus in the London Docklands that was the crown jewel in the data center provider’s portfolio acquired by Equinix for $3.6 billion in a deal that closed earlier this year. The campus hosts a substantial portion of the LINX infrastructure, as well as many financial services firms, cloud providers, and companies in other business verticals.

A data center outage impacting a user like LINX can have effects that reach wider than even an outage that impacts a major internet service provider like BT. Internet exchanges are where many network operators and internet content providers interconnect their networks to more effectively deliver traffic to their end users.

BT is one of 700 LINX members. The LINX spokesman, however, pointed out that there are usually redundant network routes that ensure traffic continues to flow when there is an outage on one of them.

“Over 80% of our traffic continued to flow and it immediately started to recover even before the power was restored,” he said.

UPS failure has for years been the most frequently cited cause of data center outages, according to studies by Emerson Network Power and the Ponemon Institute. Last year, UPS and UPS battery failures caused 25 percent of outages – up from 24 percent in 2013 but down from 29 percent in 2010, according to their most recent study, released earlier this year.

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