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As Hurricane Season Looms, It's Disaster-Preparedness Time

Soulskill posted about 10 months ago | from the make-sure-the-anti-zombie-alarms-have-batteries dept.

IT 117

Nerval's Lobster writes "In 2012, hurricane Sandy smacked the East Coast and did significant damage to New Jersey, New York City, and other areas. Flooding knocked many datacenters in Manhattan offline, temporarily taking down a whole lot of Websites in the process. Now that fall (and the tail end of hurricane season) is upon us again, any number of datacenters and IT companies are probably looking over their disaster-preparedness checklists in case another storm comes barreling through. Ryan Murphey, who heads up design and capacity planning for PEER 1 (which kept its Manhattan datacenter running during the storm by creating a makeshift bucket brigade to carry fuel to the building's 17th floor), offers a couple basic tips for possibly mitigating damage from the next infrastructure-crushing disaster, including setting up emergency response teams and arranging contracts for maintenance and fuel in advance."

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117 comments

Hurricane season is just about over. (4, Informative)

edibobb (113989) | about 10 months ago | (#44975257)

Looming? Most North American hurricanes this year have already happened! Is this some kind of spam?

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975345)

No, it's the insurance companies trying it on to get another massive rate hike. Here in FL they've been increasing rates by 25% or more per year since 2004's big hit. There has been very little FL damage since, buy my total property insurance bill has gone from $1940 to over $11,000 since, and there's almost no competition so rate increase by as much as they can get away with, all with FL legislature backing.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (4, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | about 10 months ago | (#44975593)

You know that even with the rate increase you are getting a huge barging? Florida’s state insurance scheme deficit keeps on getting bigger and bigger each year. Private insurance companies are fleeing as fast as they can because of caps set up by the state insurance regulator- which is why there is no competition.

Either build cheap houses that are cheap to rebuild after they are blown down or build them so that can take a hurricane. Stick built houses just is not the answer..

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21579470-americans-are-building-beachfront-homes-even-oceans-rise-youre-going-get-wet [economist.com]

http://www.economist.com/node/4085798 [economist.com]

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 10 months ago | (#44977669)

Course, one of the downsides of "build them so that [they] can take a hurricane" is the minor problem of sinkholes all over the place in Florida...

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (3, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 months ago | (#44979027)

A lot of florida is not at risk. The problem is that the insurance rates for the truly risky locations don't reflect the genuine cost of living there, so the wealthy people who can afford coastal property are effectively being subsidized - either they get insurance at too-low of a rate to match the risk, or they forego it and lean on the federal and state disaster relief programs.

Anyone deliberately living in the Category 1 flood zone should not get state or federal money when their houses are wrecked, regardless of whether they have been built sturdily or not. Cat 1 storms happen all over florida almost every year.

The price of insurance should be allowed to rise and fall to reflect the actual risk and cost of each location, sending pricing signals to people who would build in risky areas. Otherwise, you don't really have insurance. You have a subsidy of people living in risky areas paid for by people who choose more sensible locations. The price of insurance in the sensible locations should basically be so cheap that no one would bother not getting it....

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975421)

Since NY was affected by a hurricane in the fall, hurricane season now officially starts in the fall. Everyone else be damned.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44976105)

Makes sense. [samefacts.com]

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#44976231)

Since NY was affected by a hurricane in the fall, hurricane season now officially starts in the fall. Everyone else be damned.

Since the Northeast is by far the most densely populated section of the US, they kind of have a point.

I think only something like 1/3 of the population lives West of the Mississippi, even though it's over 2/3 of the land area.

The financial center of the US is in New York (and one of the financial centers of the world) and to a great extent, the cultural center is there too.

I know the flyover folks believe they are important, and they are, in an abstract, humanist way, but newsflash: Most of the produce in the store comes from South of the border now.

The Northeast, and specifically NY, is mainstream America.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (4, Informative)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | about 10 months ago | (#44976401)

I think you are ignoring some critical points.

Like the population affected by gulf and southern atlantic hurricanes.
You know... texas with 25 million (up by 5 million since 2000 alone) vs new york with 19 million ( essentially no growth since 2000).

Another 16 million in Florida (which has been hit by almost every major hurricane at some point). 10's of millions more in loiusiana, alabama, mississippi, the carolina's, and arkansas.

You have an argument culturally (tho california has come on a bit with it's 33 million people). Nothing is replacing Broadway and off Broadway.

New York is visible financially (tho it's slowly being routed around due to cost issues). The largest component of job loss recently has been financial jobs (20,000 in 2009 alone).

The hurricane season officially began on June 1 and will end on November 30.
It was predicted to be a rough season.

So far, it's a dud.

In the 20th century, of the 64 major hurricanes to hit the US, 51 hit in september and august.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 10 months ago | (#44977561)

The NYC metro area alone has 25+ million people, the most densely populated region in the country. Add in the rest of the Northeast Corridor and it doesn't take much for even a small sized storm to cause a lot of damage. While Texas and Florida have the numbers, they are relatively spread out and a hurricane rarely effects the entire population at once.

All of the major tropical storms that have hit NJ since I have been alive have struck between the end of September or in October, its when the ocean is the warmest. That is not including countless Nor'easters (What the "perfect storm" of 1991 began as). Many of which pack a wallop, particularly when they are fueled by remanent moisture from former tropical storms. (an October 1996 Nor'easter comes to mind there)

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#44977665)

When "official" assholes predicted a far worse than average hurricane season this year, I snapped a picture of Good Morning America's graphic.

May 24, 2013k
GMA 2013 Hurricane Season
NOAA
13-20 Named Storms
(Normal 12)
7-11 Hurricanes
(Normal 6)
3-6 Major Hurricanes
(Normal 3)

These clowns have no real scientific knowledge about even basic things like regression to the mean, or a simple grasp of chaos theory and statistic. They are acting (probably deliberately, the alternative that they are stupid is also unsettling) like religious doomsdayers saying, "The end is nigh!" The goal isn't accurate prediction -- it's whipping up more frenzy for, presumably, political purposes.

Global warming or not, trying to make hurricane season predictions like this is asinine, and doesn't even understand GW's implications for such (like tiny increases in average energy, or, once in awhile, statistically one more storm per season.) It's the exact same thing as saying heat waves are due to it, when a half degree increase on average is just that -- on average -- so a heat wave would be a whisker hotter or longer than before. Again, ignorance of chaos theory.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

tzog (83893) | about 9 months ago | (#44978971)

Your post is wrong and offensive, good job.

Regression to the mean is all nice and good, it may be applicable for the next couple decades lumped together, but it's not of any use to attempt to predict the outcome of a single season.

It is not just NOAA that predicted an above average season, everyone that I'm aware of that issues a seasonal forecast did. Those guys are scientist, not politician. Their funding doesn't depend on AGW, and if it did, they are aware that there is no consensus on the impact of global warming on the frequency of tropical cyclones. There is demand for seasonal forecasts, yes they are still low skill, but they are not no skill.

The big factors in the seasonal forecast this year were a warm Atlantic and an expected neutral phase El Niño which both of which positively correlate with tropical storm frequency. Despite neutral El Niño, there has been more shear which is unusual and has prevented storms from strengthening much. Dry air has also been a problem. The scientists producing the forecasts will learn from it.

The season is not over, October can be very busy. Yes, at this stage it would be shocking if the higher end of those prediction range were reached, but the lower, not so much.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (2)

msauve (701917) | about 10 months ago | (#44976753)

"The Northeast, and specifically NY, is mainstream America."

+1 Funny.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44976861)

He's basically right. +5 Informative.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977877)

I know right? It's already down to mid 60's at night in Alabama. No more hurricanes this year.

Actually Alabama hasn't had a hurricane since Katrina. Although this type of rhetoric is great for insurance scams. In Alabama, since Katrina, wind insurance (different than hurricane insurance) has gone up every year. My homeowners insurance, prior to Katrina, was $800 a year. Now it's $2,700 a year. Actually most insurance companies are not able to write wind coverage, and you are then required to get state-funded insurance, which is very expensive. Strange thing is that the same guy that oversees the insurance, is the same guy that declares the rates. He can make the rates so high that the people are forced to get his insurance. It's bullshit.

Actually, this is the first year that wind rates have actually gone down, since Katrina - a storm that happened 8 years ago. Alabama has, since I was born in 1976, had a hurricane AT LEAST once every other year. Since Katrina, we have had zero hurricanes.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

Cederic (9623) | about 9 months ago | (#44978209)

How big is your house? $2700 is excessive. Hell, $800 is excessive. I'm paying around £105 a year to cover buildings insurance for all causes (including wind, flood and other storm damage) except for terrorism, warfare and possibly (I'd need to check) damage caused by things falling from aircraft. Including the aircraft themselves.

That's in an old coal mining area, so subsidence is a definite danger - but is covered.

Maybe your house is 8 times the size of mine. Very possible. So a simple metric: My insurance (which covers me for rebuild cost) costs approximately 0.1% of the rebuild cost.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 9 months ago | (#44979097)

Depends on where you live. It shouldn't be a straight multiple of the rebuild cost.

It should be something more like:

  {rebuild and cleanup cost} * {probability of destruction over insured interval} + sum { {repair and cleanup cost}_i * {probability of damage over insured interval}_i} + {administrative costs and profit for insurer}

Which obviously depends strongly on both the construction of the building and the environmental conditions of its location.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975431)

it is a link to a slashdot article about Sandy. Yep, spam.

heh, catchpa = memories

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (2)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 months ago | (#44975517)

Summer is the Pre-Season - Early Autumn is the real season, depending upon how moody Dame Nature feels.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | about 10 months ago | (#44976573)

Well, so far, we've had two category ones and 7 tropical storms. In early August, NOAA predicted 13-19 named storms, including 6-9 hurricanes, 3-5 of them major.[1]

so, expect a big pileup in October and November. Maybe even a storm to ring in the new year

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 9 months ago | (#44978379)

Well, so far, we've had two category ones and 7 tropical storms. In early August, NOAA predicted 13-19 named storms, including 6-9 hurricanes, 3-5 of them major.[1]

so, expect a big pileup in October and November. Maybe even a storm to ring in the new year

Or not.

The traditional formulas for statistical prediction of hurricanes have been patently knocked for a loop. So we can say that the statistics indicate that we've some catching up to do, but then again, where I live, we're double-plus overdue over multiple years.

So I won't "expect" a pileup or even a big storm. Though I will be prepared. Because frankly we don't have a clue anymore.

Re:Hurricane season is just about over. (1)

Richard Larson (3318887) | about 10 months ago | (#44976779)

Looming? Most North American hurricanes this year have already happened! Is this some kind of spam?

So, you can predict the future? Hurricane season runs from June to November. September is the most active month for hurricanes in North America. Still, I would not call it "looming". That's the kind of thing one would say in April or May. That's when we start thinking about them on the Gulf Coast.

How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

NetNinja (469346) | about 10 months ago | (#44975259)

How many emergenices has lower Manhattan had in the past 12 years? Stupid is, is stupid does. MOVE!

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

bigredradio (631970) | about 10 months ago | (#44975369)

First, calculate the chances of a disaster vs. where you can actually find customers and IT talent. There are not too many highly trained systems administrators in rural New Mexico. Also, can you get enough customers to pay the bills for your multi-million dollar co-location facility? Seems to me the location is worth the risk. If you are well prepared, you can mitigate the damages. It is more of a risk to have a crappy business location.

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (5, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 10 months ago | (#44975899)

While rural New Mexico might be extreme, there's a reason that places like Phoenix AZ are filled with new data centers and skilled IT staff. Need a disaster recovery site? Put it here, or in Nevada. Flood? Hurricane? Earthquake? Tornados? You must be kidding.

Sure, it's not the tech density of San Jose, but it's kitten-safe from a disaster standpoint.

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#44976377)

They still have flooding and water shortage issues. But flooding is something you can get mostly right by proper site selection (you still have to worry that there are dependencies outside your control such as the power company putting your substation in a flood-prone area).

Water shortages aren't usually considered a data center problem, but if you're doing something like using water-based cooling towers to remove heat, that can impact your business.

But having said that, these are issues that California has as well and at least to the same extent. So it might not be kitten safe, but it probably is safer than California.

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | about 10 months ago | (#44976499)

Flood? Hurricane? Earthquake? Tornados? You must be kidding.

Yes, earthquakes. No matter where you go, it's earthquake country, at least on a long enough time scale. Remember, the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 [wikipedia.org] was on a previously unknown fault, so the fact that there's no record of earthquakes in the area doesn't mean as much as you'd like it to.

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#44979043)

When is the last time you heard of an earthquake in Az? Now compare to Ca.

Yes, in theory they could have one, but it is extremely unlikely. If they did, it would be strange enough that geologists would still be talking about it centuries from now.

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 10 months ago | (#44976659)

Flood? [...] Tornados?

Yes. [azcentral.com] and Yes. [azfamily.com]

Re:How many emergencies in the past 12 years? (1)

sjames (1099) | about 9 months ago | (#44979011)

Just how many SAs do you need onsite? These days, even commodity servers have a BMC built in so they can be managed from anywhere. You do need a few local to handle lost connectivity to the management network and such, but you can probably get half from anywhere else in the U.S.

I find it really funny how many datacenters pay a huge premium on space in order to be in an 'it' location when the whole premise of the net is communication over a distance. Really what's needed is somewhere with stable infrastructure, low costs and within the same legal boundaries as your customers (in many cases).

I'm with you man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975535)

How many emergenices has lower Manhattan had in the past 12 years? Stupid is, is stupid does. MOVE!

Nice! Stopped at 2001 - did we?!

And why move when the government will just declare a "disaster area" and you get check for your decision on a lviing space.

Oh, I'm with you man! Why is that millionaires can have those beach front homes that they KNOW are not insurable and yet, the inevitable hurricane comes and wipes them out, they get their check at their primary home and build anew. And in the meantime, the poor bastards in the reclaimed wetlands are stuck in some shelter and have to wait for FEMA to cut them a check so that they can get another residence.

Yes sir, I'm with you!

As far as I'm concerned, if your residence is in a known hurricane - flooding - earthquake- tornado-tsunami- etc... path and you can't get commercial insurance, then TOUGH SHIT!

The Free Markets have pronounced sentence - you live in a shit hole: so suck it NC, SC, FL, TX, AR, KS, OH, TN, KY, CA, OR - well the entire South Midwest and West Coast. You suck!

And since NY and DC is a target for terrorists - you SUCK TOO! And it's WORSE! If you people weren't such assholes, then maybe the terrorists wouldn't have attacked you scumbags.

After all, NY IS home to the WallStreet Asshole - crooks who are scumbags. Wait, they also have homes in CT! Those fuckers! CT is a shit hole too!!

And MA?! Mitt Romney - that Mormon-Wallstreet-rich kid scumbag who got everything easily! ANd Maine too! Steven King's novels are so cookie cutter! I mean really - Evil supernatural something tricks good guy. Good guy find a way to beat evil. Blah de blah da!

And don't get me started on MI - Detroit?!? Good greif! That city damns them all!

Fuck it! Nuke it all!

Re:I'm with you man! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 10 months ago | (#44976257)

Are you mad? You're adorable when you get mad, you know that? Your forehead gets all scrunched up and you do that thing with your mouth and your eyes roll around in your head.

WTF? (4, Insightful)

scheme (19778) | about 10 months ago | (#44975271)

Hurricane season has been going on for a few months now. Why the hell would a data center or organization review their hurricane/storm related disaster checklists now instead of, oh, you know, before hurricane season? Any organization complacent and negligent enough to wait till the end of the hurricane season to review/correct their checklists probably isn't going to actually care about the checklist anyway.

Re:WTF? (1)

bagboy (630125) | about 10 months ago | (#44975443)

It's a slow news day on Slashdot...

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975521)

Because this is Slashdot where FUD reigns.

I miss the Cmdr Taco days. I don't even bother logging into my account anymore.

Re:WTF? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975525)

Because Nervous Lobster hasn't had a story posted in 5 mins?

Re:WTF? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44976555)

Candles taste better when they're fresh.

Too Late! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975283)

You should have designed and tested your hurricane preparedness plan back in April or May. If you waited until now to "look into it" then you are being irresponsible.

Oh cool (4, Funny)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 10 months ago | (#44975299)

I was looking for a reason to lay in a supply of scotch. I already have the generator and transfer switch.

Arberg here we come!

a bucket brigade of FUEL?! (0)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 10 months ago | (#44975327)

>> which kept its Manhattan datacenter running during the storm by creating a makeshift bucket brigade to carry fuel to the building's 17th floor

No fire code violations there, right? I'd love to be an attorney near this one. "So, you burned down the building trying to keep a couple of servers running, when you could have just co-located your equipment in a smarter place (like anyone who knows what they're doing would have done)."

Re:a bucket brigade of FUEL?! (4, Informative)

Shoten (260439) | about 10 months ago | (#44975657)

>> which kept its Manhattan datacenter running during the storm by creating a makeshift bucket brigade to carry fuel to the building's 17th floor

No fire code violations there, right? I'd love to be an attorney near this one. "So, you burned down the building trying to keep a couple of servers running, when you could have just co-located your equipment in a smarter place (like anyone who knows what they're doing would have done)."

When you're doing things like HFT, colocation in a different geographical area is a non-option. They're eking out every microsecond they can, even going so far as to use microwave for communications when possible instead of fiber simply for the reduced latency. Putting the servers way the hell out somewhere away from Wall Street is not helpful.

Surely you don't think that these companies have large datacenter operations in Manhattan just for the cheap real estate?

Re:a bucket brigade of FUEL?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44976937)

We can only hope that they burn it to the ground...

Re:a bucket brigade of FUEL?! (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 9 months ago | (#44978671)

Putting Wall Street on Wall Street is the first example of STUPID in that equation, the rest follows quickly from there.

Every company I've ever worked with that has datacenter in manhattan JUST so they can say 'We have a datacenter in XXX' as a bragging right. (Note, never worked with financial traders)

Yes, SOME companies want the shortest length of transit to the markets, MOST of those data centers are marketing fluff for ignorant companies who think showing how wasteful you can be with money is impressive.

Sorry, We'll fix it! (-1, Flamebait)

CajunArson (465943) | about 10 months ago | (#44975401)

Unfortunately they're haven't been all those Category 6 Hurricanes* that have destroyed the entire Eastern Seaboard because someone used a car and didn't pay for the approved religious indulgence... uh I mean "carbon tax".

The lack of hurricanes just proves that all the climate models are completely accurate because it's been proven that non-disaster weather is just random variability but 100% of any disaster weather is solely due to global warming.

Fortunately, the models that predicted a complete lack of polar ice in 2013 were completely correct... or else we'll say they were "within the margin of error".

Now can we get back to talking about the apocalypse and how any engineering projects that don't move industry to China where there zero pollution controls should be outlawed in the name of the environment?

* Al Gore says that SOME PEOPLE told him there should be a Cat 6, but he was careful not to go out of his way to expressly endorse that point when he publicly repeated it over and over again.

slowest season in modern times (2)

peter303 (12292) | about 10 months ago | (#44975423)

Never modern have there been so few hurricanes by Oct 1 as there were in 2013. Meteorologist blame a "cooler" ocean. We still have another couple months to the season. nd bad ones have occurred late like Sandy.

Re:slowest season in modern times (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975539)

October 1 came early this year.

Re:slowest season in modern times (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975779)

It takes a few days for a hurricane to develop. We don't even have any tropical depressions building up at the moment.

So no, we won't have any hurricanes in the next four days.

Re:slowest season in modern times (1)

reboot246 (623534) | about 10 months ago | (#44977299)

That's exactly the point. You can see hurricanes coming for DAYS! They don't sneak up on you, for Pete's sake. Anybody not prepared is too stupid to live.

Oh, and all you people in hurricane country - keep your damned plywood to use again; don't throw it away just to have to buy more next season. You've driven up the plywood prices so damned high I can't afford to buy it.

Re:slowest season in modern times (2)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 10 months ago | (#44976837)

Thing is, currents changed with the big earthquakes that have happened in the past few years. If it was enough of a change to affect migration patterns (it has), it was also probably enough of a change to alter the predictable long term weather models. Anyone know if the modeling software has been updated with the new data?

Location, Location, Location (2)

bobcat7677 (561727) | about 10 months ago | (#44975433)

We have our servers in a data centers in inland Oregon/Washington. There has never been a hurricane or typhoon within a thousand miles, seismic events are rare, the area is used to large amounts of rain so flooding has minimal effect, the weather is temperate so there is rarely extremes in heat or cold and Tsunamis would have to get past the coast range mountains to be an issue. Basically, nothing ever happens there. I would recommend anyone with important data at least have a DR location in a low risk geographical area.

Re:Location, Location, Location (1)

edibobb (113989) | about 10 months ago | (#44975827)

Maybe, but according to a web page the Internet (the finding the link is left as an exercise to the reader), Mount Rainier, Adams, and Hood are past due and will erupt any day now.

Re:Location, Location, Location (2)

bobcat7677 (561727) | about 10 months ago | (#44975941)

Sorry, forgot to mention volcanoes. Mount St. Helens could erupt again too. But the servers are located outside the lava and mud flow paths for all of these (there are maps widely available that show these things). Even a major eruption would be unlikely to pose a physical threat to the servers and damage to electrical or internet infrastructure would be temporary and easily routed around at worst. Probably the most likely thing might be ash from an eruption potentially clogging cooling systems...but that is easily mitigated by making sure the air handling systems in your data center have pre-filters installed.

Re:Location, Location, Location (1)

notonthegrid (1414053) | about 10 months ago | (#44976383)

It seems everyone has their own notion of 'low risk geographical area'. Mine
is Utah.

Re:Location, Location, Location (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | about 10 months ago | (#44977817)

hate to tell you, but the AWS servers In Oregon are right near a very, very large river, (The columbia I think is second to only the mississippi) Right near several volcanoes, In an area that commonly gets lots of freezing rain and high winds. Its also a few miles from a major chemical weapons depot. (I guess the servers wouldn't care, but nobody would go onsite to replace failed equipment) and not very far from Hanford, where there is tons of nuclear waste.

Re:Location, Location, Location (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44978259)

Seismic events are rare, except of course when a large mountain explodes and lays waste to hundreds of square miles of terrain and levels some small towns.

Lack of Planning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975483)

I opened the article, searched for "replication"...nothing. The only backups mentioned are the generators. Seriously? Skimmed a bit further and the author states that they came up with their disaster plan *after* Sandy hit. I didn't read the article enough to know what their situation was exactly, but lesson one, plan for the disaster *before* it hits.

Dear Sir (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975543)

I am enjoying your website. I would like to buy your wormhole technology. Please contact me.

Re-Inventing The Wheel (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 10 months ago | (#44975553)

Look, we don't have to re-invent the wheel. A hurricane preparedness kit is EXACTLY the same as Zombie Survival Kit minus the shotguns.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975687)

Shotguns are often very handy in the aftermath of a hurricane...

I'll second that... (2)

p.rican (643452) | about 10 months ago | (#44976149)

With all of the looting that went on by my house, you'd better keep the shotguns. There are some real opportunistic bastards out there with no conscience. Had loads of people driving through the neighborhood to see how bad we (East Rockaway) got hit. Problem was that you couldn't tell them apart from the savages that were looking for where they were going to "visit" later on that night. Generators stolen, aluminum siding, anything resembling a fuel can, just to name a few.

We as a society are doomed if we get hit with a disaster worse than Sandy.

Re:I'll second that... (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#44978937)

We as a society are doomed if we get hit with a disaster worse than Sandy.

Umm, many of us like to think Katrina was just a bit worse than Sandy....

Re:I'll second that... (1)

p.rican (643452) | about 9 months ago | (#44979231)

Understood. It's all relative. I could have quantified my last statement better.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (2)

slew (2918) | about 10 months ago | (#44975847)

Look, we don't have to re-invent the wheel. A hurricane preparedness kit is EXACTLY the same as Zombie Survival Kit minus the shotguns.

Depending on what state you live in, a hurricane preparedness kit would necessarily include a shotgun (of course that means an extra shotgun in those states).

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975993)

Reminds me of a college friend who had a few wooden stakes in his trunk. He says it's for zombies, just in case. He wasn't crazy, he just didn't see a reason why not to have them, plus he liked zombie movies and thought it was cool.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#44976307)

What are wooden stakes supposed to do to zombies? I have yet to see a zombie movie where wooden stakes were more effective than wooden baseball bats. Maybe his zombies were some sort of proto-vampire?

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 10 months ago | (#44976523)

The werewolves are going to rip that guy apart.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44976135)

Actually, if you want to protect your business from potential looting after the storm, you still need the shotguns.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44976423)

Nonsense. If your business is washed away by a storm surge you won't need to worry about looting.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 10 months ago | (#44976847)

My hurricane check list includes checking the ammo supply level... I live across the road from just over 1000 acres of forest, has the potential to be a grocery store....

If I lived more urban, the check list would still include an ammo check, for "social issues" that may arise.

Re:Re-Inventing The Wheel (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 10 months ago | (#44977593)

Look, we don't have to re-invent the wheel. A hurricane preparedness kit is EXACTLY the same as Zombie Survival Kit minus the shotguns.

You clearly haven't waited in line for fuel in New Jersey before.....

Nobody remembered Katrina???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44975573)

Looks like none of these people paid attention to the ISP that kept running during Katrina. His blog starts here: http://interdictor.livejournal.com/2005/08/28/

Re: Nobody remembered Katrina???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977259)

I remember following his blog after we were well clear of the path of Katrina. This may be a dupe of yor link: http://mobile.baselinemag.com/c/a/Business-Intelligence/Diary-of-Disaster-Riding-Out-Katrina-in-the-Data-Center but it was a hell of a read at the time. Those folks were more than prepared, they were dammed committed to providing the service their customers paid for in harrowing circumstances.

Advice? (1)

Netdoctor (95217) | about 10 months ago | (#44976059)

I'm not sure I want to take the advice from a guy who's emergency plans ended up with him using a bucket brigade to keep his DC open...

No, sorry. Being clever in the midst of a disaster does not make you good at emergency IT planning.

Sandy Wasn't a Hurricane (5, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | about 10 months ago | (#44976159)

Sandy was a tropical storm. Not a hurricane. No, there wasn't anything "super" about it.

Re:Sandy Wasn't a Hurricane (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about 10 months ago | (#44976537)

Why the mod down. Sandy was a tropical storm (as measured by wind speed) when it hit New York.

The super is due to the amount of damages which is due to the amount of expensive infrastructure that was built in areas that were vulnerable to that type of storm.

Re:Sandy Wasn't a Hurricane (1)

beanpoppa (1305757) | about 10 months ago | (#44977155)

Actually, Sandy was technically not tropical, and therefore not a hurricane or a tropical storm when it made landfall. It was "Post-tropical cyclone Sandy". The "Superstorm" designation was more catchy, but also attributed to the fact that Sandy had merged with another low pressure system (which is what caused it to make the very unusual sharp turn West).

Re:Sandy Wasn't a Hurricane (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 10 months ago | (#44976645)

Actually, Sandy covered an enormous amount of territory for a tropical storm/hurricane (something close to twice the area of the next largest major storm to make landfall in the U.S.), which is what made it a "super-storm". The fact that it hit New York only compounded that.

Re:Sandy Wasn't a Hurricane (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44976707)

Good point. Tropical storm vs. hurricane, or hurricane category, is based only on wind speed. That gives a fair idea of the wind damage caused, but in many cases, and certainly Sandy, most of the damage is caused by the storm surge. That's more a function of the total energy of the storm, which for Sandy was the second highest on record, due to the large area it covered.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/sandy-packed-more-total-energy-than-katrina-at-landfall/2012/11/02/baa4e3c4-24f4-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_blog.html [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Sandy Wasn't a Hurricane (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44978885)

Actually, it was CAT1 strength when it struck NJ.

NY isn't the be-all end-all definer of everything, you know.

#irc.trolltalkN.3om (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44976189)

CONTRIBUTED CODE All major surveys problem; a few but now they're NetBSD user the political mess need your help! it racist for a bottoms butt. Wipe cycle; take a profits without everyday...We believe their fuck1ng market become like they This post brought exactly wha8t you've lead developers stagnant. As Linux notorious OpenBSD and personal Java IRC client moans and groans your replies rather volume of NetBSD minutes. If that. posts. Due to the area. It is the parties). At THE people playing can to underscore encountered while [klerck.org]? bombshell hit

Better solutions that actually work (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 10 months ago | (#44976211)

1. Require all new housing within 10 miles of a coast to be built either on stilts or with a ground floor only used for garage, mud room, and guest room.

2. Remove all insurance subsidies for housing withing 10 miles of a coast. All of them. No exemptions.

3. Raise power systems 10 feet up, to allow for storm surge flooding.

4. Redraft flood drainage and screening to anticipate storm surges 10 feet in elevation in all locations. Yes, this means almost all of Florida.

5. Mandate emergency power systems for apartment and all buildings taller than 3 stories have solar panels, either passive or PV electric, for at least enough energy to keep minimal power usage, if within 10 miles of a coast. Even when stormy, these work, usually at 70-80 percent of sunny periods, and allow for service interruptions that can take months during anticipated 100 year storms, that will occur (not might, will) every 2-3 years.

Climate change is here, boys and girls. Sticking your heads in the sand does nothing.

Re:Better solutions that actually work (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 10 months ago | (#44976411)

Require all new housing within 10 miles of a coast to be built either on stilts or with a ground floor only used for garage, mud room, and guest room.

That makes sense. I live 1 mile from the coast. Of course I also live 200 feet above sea level. What sort of storm surge should I worry about?

Remove all insurance subsidies for housing withing 10 miles of a coast. All of them. No exemptions.

But keep them for places subject to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, forest fires, river flooding and flash floods?

Raise power systems 10 feet up, to allow for storm surge flooding.

You do realize that most of the power losses from Sandy were due to the winds breaking above ground power lines, right?

Redraft flood drainage and screening to anticipate storm surges 10 feet in elevation in all locations.

That sounds useful - Sandy had a 13 foot storm surge.

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 10 months ago | (#44976593)

That sounds useful - Sandy had a 13 foot storm surge.

When I first came here, this was all swamp. Everyone said I was daft to build a data center on a swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest data center in all New York.

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

sl149q (1537343) | about 10 months ago | (#44976547)

10 miles is silly. First in many areas its not enough. Around New Orleans and probably in Florida lots of places farther inland still in danger.

On the other hand I live less than a kilometer from the Pacific Ocean. But at 100m above sea level would be pretty safe. More worried about things higher up coming down than anything coming up.

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

nicoleb_x (1571029) | about 10 months ago | (#44977033)

Actually, in the Ft. Lauderdale/Palm Beach area the Atlantic is rather deep and not going to produce a big storm surge. You need shallow water for the water to pile up. They have shallow water in most places in the Gulf but not all of Florida is susceptible to major storm surge issues.

http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/surge/miami_mom5h.png [wunderground.com]

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 10 months ago | (#44976683)

Your basic idea is sound, but to be possible it needs to be less drastic. The first step is that any new buildings do not get subsidies for flood insurance (and it does not matter how far it is from the coast). Part of that is that if you re-purpose a building, the flood insurance subsidy is the lesser of what would be available for the original purpose or the new purpose. That goes into effect immediately. After a short length of time(2-5 years), any residential building that is not the primary residence of the owner loses the flood insurance subsidy (although someone who was renting the place would be eligible for flood insurance subsidies if those exist as part of renter's insurance). Five years after that, we could re-examine the issue and decide if there is still a problem.

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44976781)

Electrical power is not something needed for in an emergency. Electricity does not support life, you can't eat or drink it either. You can argue that it can keep you warm but a few 1800 watt heaters running on it is nothing great. Some sleeping bags will keep your warm too. All of these idiots who think that having a generator solves 90% of their emergency problems are sitting ducks. Take the money you would spend on a generator and fuel to keep it going (most burn about a gallon an hour), and buy some extra canned goods, a few cases of water or as much as you can, sleeping bags, batteries, flashlights, some $5 dollar powered speakers and a cheap MP3/FM player. Keep an extra propane tank in standby for your backyard grill or buy a camping stove and some small cans of propane, some paper plates and utensils and some baby wipes. All of that stuff mentioned costs less than a generator, will fit in a big container, and will keep a family ready for an emergency for days/weeks WITHOUT having to venture out and try to find gas for your generator.

Optional..
  Step it up a notch and possible buy a kerosene heater and 10 gallons of kerosene (lasts for years in storage, and a 10K btu unit will heat a portion of your house to over 60F when it's 0 outside and only burn about 1.5 gallons in 12 hours), some type of room light with D batteries, possibly use your car battery and a power inverter, duct tape, taps, first aid kit blah blah. Those are emergency supplies, a generator is not.
I've heard the arguments, but I have $2000 of prime steaks in my freezer! I need to keep it cold. Well, that's your fault. Raw prime beef is what you will be eating when you can't get gas for your generator.

All of that stuff, even the optional stuff included STILL costs less than a decent generator. Everything I mentioned is not going to waste either just waiting for a storm, you can drink and eat the food and water and replace it on your next trip to the store. Having an extra propane tank is very convenient when you run out in the middle of your 4th of July cookout too.

Re: Better solutions that actually work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44976969)

I need electricity to keep my gas furnace pumping water through the house. I've never seen the natural gas fail but I've had multi day electricity failure during 3 of the last 8 winters.

Re: Better solutions that actually work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977531)

My house is 100% electric including a well pump and all heat via the heat pump. I lose everything the instant power goes off. I still do not have a generator. I do always have what I suggested above though. I also have several 7 gallon containers filled with drinking water that I drain and refill every month or so just in case. For toilet flushing I use my rain barrel or worse case, get some water from the pool. I am in a semi rural area and have lost power and ability to go anywhere for several days in winter during storms too. A kerosene heater is perfect device for that situation. They last decades, they can sit unused for years untouched, you blow off the dust, put kerosene in it, let the wick soak for about 30 minutes if it was bone dry, and light it up. They require no power at all and they give off light and heat. I have a split foyer style house with about 2600 sq foot. A 23K BTU kerosene heater is enough to keep the bulk of my house very comfortable, even with 10-20 outside temps, areas in the basement closer to the heater are in the upper 70's, some of the furthest away bedrooms on the second floor stay about lower 60's. A 5000 watt generator uses about 1 gallon of fuel per hour, that heater uses 1.6 gallons in 12 hours. They do give off a slight oder, specially when starting and stopping them. You can move them into the laundry room or a small bathroom to start and stop them and gently slide them back out to a central point.

They have smaller 10-12K units that are directional and only use about 0.8-1 gallon in 10-12 hours.

Re: Better solutions that actually work (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 10 months ago | (#44977611)

Don't know why this was modded down, but the lack of heat was a serious concern after Sandy hit. We were lucky to have low tech gravity steam heat and a boiler run by a millivolt thermopile gas valve. The system requires no external electricity and works exactly like a gas hot water heater so we had heat even though the power was out for nearly two weeks. Sadly its no longer an option on modern steam boilers thanks to the safety and efficiency nuts banning pilot lights and requiring two stage gas valves... that requires an electrical source to operate.

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 10 months ago | (#44976911)

whether climate change is here or not, there is no evidence whatsoever of anything unusual about frequency or strength of hurricanes. you might be interested to know the worst hurricane ever to hit the USA was over 200 years ago.

calm down, stop believing hype

Re:Better solutions that actually work (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 9 months ago | (#44978969)

1. Require all new housing within 10 miles of a coast to be built either on stilts or with a ground floor only used for garage, mud room, and guest room.

Note that New Orleans is >10 miles from any coast.

Note also that it is below sea level.

Defining a solution to a problem in terms of "miles from the coast" shows enough ignorance of the subject that anything you suggest can safely be disregarded....

One important tip (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 10 months ago | (#44977723)

For your emergency survival kit, take a good long look at all the options for camping gear. If you aren't prepared for a month of camping, alone, way out in the wilderness, with just your emergency kit, you aren't prepared for a fire/flood/hurricane/earthquake. You'd be amazed at the dozens of small things you will need (or seriously want) but would never think of until you try a few days of camping.

* Hiking water filter or lots of purification tablets (1 gallon per person, per day)

* Multi-gallon water containers, and camp shower

* Tent or large tarp

* Air mattress & pump, or foam pad

* Heavy blankets or sleeping bag

* Heavy waterproof jacket, several changes of clothes, perhaps shoes, etc.

* Plenty of dehydrated food, and salt

* Lighter/matches, propane canisters and 1-burner stove, plus cooking pot/pan and utensils

* Prescription drugs, or just aspirin, antacids, etc.

* First aid kit with numerous bandages, antiseptic (iodine/alcohol), burn ointment, and sewing kit.

* Large knife/hatchet/saw

* Shovel, toilet paper, and soap.

* Toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant

* Solar AA/AAA battery and cell phone charger combo [amazon.com]

* Spare LED flashlight

* AM/FM/shortwave radio, and perhaps CB/FRS/GMRS/Ham radios

* Compass and a map

* Probably a few others that slipped my mind.

And be sure most of the above is in fully submersible, water-tight containers, like freezer bags or food storage bins.

Re:One important tip (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 9 months ago | (#44977959)

You've got some good things on your list. You also have some stupid things. Like deodorant. Who needs that? If your camping, you don't need it. If there is a break down in social order, you don't need it. If you don't have access to shops for a month, you don't need it (as no one else will have it either...).

Camp shower? I'm pretty sure where I come from they call those waterfalls. Or you could just go swimming in the lake. (Just avoid all those small microscopic bugz and shitz.)

Further, how are you going to carry all this stuff?

OK, maybe I misunderstood, and you are just going to hangout in your datacenter and pretend you're camping. In which case, you can just store all your shit. But wouldn't you rather hangout at home for a month and forget your datacenter?

Sigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#44977845)

Slashdot, you are really a piece of shit.

http://mayphatdiencu.vn/ and buy a new generator. (1)

quyennguyenduc (3319141) | about 10 months ago | (#44977879)

That makes sense. Hurricane season has been going on for a few months now. Why the hell would a data center or organization review their hurricane/storm related disaster checklists now instead of, oh, you know, before hurricane season? when Hurricane come then electric may be cut. that why you need a generator . i think we should visit website: http://mayphatdiencu.vn/ [mayphatdiencu.vn] and buy a new generator.

Why bother with a generator, get a propane cooler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44979601)

Or just get a cooler that runs off propane. You would get a hell of alot more use out of that. http://www.propanecooler.com

There were no major Atlantic hurricanes this year (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44978253)

At least none so far. There have only been two small ones.

I guess Global Warming doesn't cause killer hurricanes after all.

Huricaines year off (1)

Lost Penguin (636359) | about 9 months ago | (#44978713)

2013 is the year hurricanes seem to be taking a vacation. /Florida!
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