NYC Data Centers Weather Athena Just Fine

An inflatable bed in a conference room: essential when you’re trying to keep a data center up and running through disaster.

While New York City’s data centers survived Winter Storm Athena with flying colors, Friday will bring a new challenge: fuel rationing.

That could mean facilities still on generator power may have some difficulty getting fuel, although the New York Mayor’s office hasn’t yet given any indication that commercial deliveries will be affected. Under the terms of the rationing, consumers must buy gas on alternate days, depending on the digits on their license plate. (New York taxis are exempt.)

Even so, most New York City data centers have returned to running on utility power in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

The Weather Channel announced that Athena dumped 4.5 inches of snow in Central Park on Wednesday. While the storm managed to plunge 300,000 homes and businesses back into darkness, local utility Con Edison reported that only 200 or so customers in Manhattan were without power.

Here’s a quick rundown of the area facilities, after the nor’easter moved through:

Atlantic Metro:

“Our whole team is preparing for the next storm,” Atlantic Metro said in a tweet earlier this week. The company reported no adverse effects from Athena.


As of today, 99 percent of our sites are up and running across the region impacted by Hurricane Sandy, AT&T said via Twitter. “Nearly 97 percent of our cell sites across New York City including in Manhattan are up and running.”


No issues reported. For a more detailed look at how CoreSite survived Sandy, see our previous story.


“Preparing for the storm on Wednesday,” the company tweeted. “Raising & protecting exterior cables. CAT & H.O. Penn assure us generator can run day/night in a storm.” So far, Datagram has reported no problems.


“No rest for the Equinix weary as Abdel’s team is preparing for yet another storm crawling up the coast,” the company reported. “Operations are never off. We’re always monitoring and on call ready to react. We’re constantly communicating to customers. You never know what will happen.”

So far, the company has reported no problems.


“The data center continues to operate on generator power with all systems being monitored and everything is stable,” FiberMedia reported at 7 PM ET on Nov. 8. “Our plan is to continue to operate on generator back-up power until utility power has been restored and is stable. The fuel supply continues to be reliably replenished by the building. FiberMedia currently has engineers on-site reviewing a solution to share generator capacity with the building and will have additional details tomorrow. Additionally FiberMedia is replacing all batteries in the UPS System, this work is being conducted over the coming weekend.”


The company offered co-working environments at its 29 Broadway facility to affected workers. No other updates.

Level 3 Communications:

No updates.


On its Web page, at least, Peer1 continued to pretend that Sandy or Athena had never happened, making no mention of it.

One of its customers, Squarespace, reported on Nov. 8 that the company is still surviving on fuel-powered generators. “We now have a working pump system delivering fuel to the roof generator, more than enough fuel on site, and a redundant street-level generator connected and tested as of last night,” Anthony Casalena, founder, chairman and chief executive of the company, wrote in a blog post. “These systems will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Our building has still not been able to connect to Manhattan’s power grid, as the building’s two sub-basements were submerged in 30 feet of water that took four days to pump out. We will continue to post updates on as we resume normal operations.

“Of course, such heroics should not be necessary to keep operations running smoothly,” Casalena added. “We initiated a plan to build a geographically redundant operation this past summer and expect to have it online in early 2013.”

Another Peer1 customer, Fog Creek Software, has been on normal operations for several days, save for its phones, which wet down (and then began working again) on Thursday night.


Telx reported that all facilities—except for its headquarters, which remains closed—are on utility power.


The carrier reported that it is bringing in about 1,200 employees from other regions to help fix wireline and wireless problems in affected areas.


Image: Equinix