You can't prevent floods, but you can prevent downtime with flood monitoring

You can't prevent floods, but you can prevent downtime with flood monitoring

Rain can wreak havoc on data centers.

Flooding is one of the most substantial threats to data centers. It might be possible to reduce the chances that a pipe will burst or that a leak will form in the roof, but there's not much that can be done to fend off a hurricane or a violent rain storm. 

In 2012, for instance, multiple data centers in New York City were knocked offline as a result of floods brought on by Hurricane Sandy. Of course, it doesn't always take a hurricane. An uncharacteristic stretch of rainy weather is enough to cripple an operation. That's what happened in early 2016, when a Vodafone data center in the U.K. city of Leeds experienced outages after consecutive rain storms caused the River Aire to run over. 

Alas, rivers will be rivers, and the rain answers to no one. While data center operators may not be able to prevent all the causes of floods, they can certainly enhance their emergency response plans, and possibly even prevent unscheduled downtime.

Cloudy with a chance of rain

"Cloud and IT vendors are at the mercy of rain."

According to research by IDC, IT spending is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of around 12.5 percent through 2020, driven primarily by the proliferation of cloud environments. There are many reasons why an organization would migrate to the cloud, but some key adoption drivers referenced by TechTarget contributor Stephen Bigelow are affordability, less internal maintenance of IT systems and greater scalability than on-premises deployments. Cloud computing also enhances mobility since it improves wireless accessibility to web-based services and tools.

However, If there's a potential caveat to these benefits, it's that businesses put a lot of faith in the IT infrastructure supplier. In some cases, an organization's entire business model can be undercut as a result of a data center outage. Just as cloud and IT vendors are at the mercy of rain, many organizations are at the mercy of their cloud and IT vendors. 

Rain can put a serious damper on a data center manger. Rain can put a serious damper on an IT manager.

An elegant solution to an elusive problem

It's impossible to prevent floods, but a data center deluge doesn't have to cripple a cloud vendor or its clients. The trick to fast emergency response is thorough, constant, real-time monitoring of a facility. Staff will be alerted the moment that a preset threshold is exceeded, and this doesn't just apply to temperature or power usage. 

With Geist's Watchdog solutions, data center operators are notified the instant there's any indication of water pooling in the data center, be it the result of condensation, a slow leak from the ceiling or an aggressive rain storm.

This is accomplished with a water-sensing cable that runs along the points in a facility where water is most likely to accumulate. If any conductive liquid makes contact with the cable, an electrical signal is generated, prompting an alert to be sent out immediately. The more water touching the cable, the stronger the electrical signal becomes. This makes it much harder for data center operators to get caught in the rain, so to speak. 

To learn more about flood sensors and other state-of-the-art monitoring solutions, contact Geist today