Protecting Diesel Supply, But What About Water?

DataCenterKnowledge reports on Digital Realty Trust (NYSE: DLR) securing diesel supply through an exclusive agreement with Foster Fuels.

If a major disaster leaves you without utility power for days, will you be able to get refills of diesel fuel for your generators?  Digital Realty Trust isn’t taking any chances. The company has signed an exclusive agreement with Foster Fuels to provide  emergency fuel delivery for generators at any of Digital Realty Trust’s Turn-Key data center facilities in the U.S.

Digital Realty, which is the world’s largest landlord of data center facilities, said the new service was “unique in the data center industry” and will ensure that its customers can keep their facilities online even during lengthy utility outages.

The scenario is not without precedent. After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York, the Telehouse carrier hotel facility at 25 Broadway experienced diesel fuel shortages and generator problems that left its customers offline for more than two days. In the 2005 aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans colocation provider Zipa had to scramble to find diesel fuel at a time when the city was without power.

StrategyPage has a post about the dangers to electricity, water, sewage, and transportation.

The Lights Are Going Out All Over Europe

August 30, 2008: European nations are alarmed at the recent increase in probes, via the Internet, of public utilities (electricity, water, sewage, transportation). Cyber War experts are divided on whether this is just the next big thing in criminal activity (finding out how to shut down utilities via the Internet, then using the threat of that to extort money), or military Cyber War operations, scouting utilities in anticipation of damaging them in wartime or a time of crises.

A lot of these probes can be traced back to the usual sources (China, Eastern Europe and the Middle East), the places where many of the Internet based criminal gangs hide out. So far this year, there has been an increase in probes, but not attacks. At least as far as anyone knows. However, the most professional Internet attacks are unnoticed (as the intruder gets away with data, or a deep understanding of how the target site operates, and thus a good knowledge of how to take it down.) Utilities, and large corporations in general, are being urged (and sometimes ordered) to check, and double check, the adequacy of their Internet defenses.

When you think of disasters like Katrina or 9/11, was there any water?  Did the sewage system work? If you can’t get water or dispose of it, most cooling systems will be shut down. Whenever we lose power, it reminds me the backup generator is great to have, but when there is no water, life really gets tough,. You need to drink from bottled water, and don't flush the toilet.

Keep the issues of water, sewage, and transportation in your disaster recovery plans, and maybe it will help think of the use of these resources everyday.  Most people would be amazed at how much water they use per day in a data center.  Try to ship that much water in a tanker truck.

Also, if the transportation system is crippled, can you ship the diesel?