Data Disasters | Episode 3 - Azerbaijan goes offline after data center fire

Data disaster! Environmental factors like excess heat, flooding and power outages can wreak havoc on any business.Third cab off the rank in our ongoing exposé of the most egregious critical infrastructure fails in recent history centres on the small Eurasian nation of Azerbaijan. 

November 2015 – Computer says NO (internet): 90% of networks down after a cable fire in near-monopoly telco's data centre 

If you think your internet connection is slow, spare a thought for the 10 million or so residents of the small former-Sovet state of Azerbaijan, who in late 2015 lost practically all internet connectivity after a fire broke out in the country's major telecom provider Delta's data centre.

A fire early in the morning of Monday the 16th of November led to a shutdown that affected 90% of the country's networks.

Delta Telecom’s head of Internal Service Anar Gulmammadov’s was low key in his description of the causes behind the 7-hour outtage, telling the media it was due to “no serious problem... just wires in the data centre were smoked…”.

Azerbaijan — like neighbouring Georgia and Armenia (and not-so-far-away Iran and Saudi Arabia) — is classed as having a high risk of wholesale internet failures because of the near-monopolisation of internet services by one provider who has close ties with the central government.

The Lessons

Azerbaijan capital city BakuOther than the obvious caveat against routing an entire country's internet traffic through one state-affiliated provider, there are improvements that could have been made on a monitoring and maintenance level to prevent such an incident.

While any major data centre will have smoke detectors, fire alarms and suppressions systems, often these safeguards can only provide alerts after it's too late.

In this situation, ServersCheck's market-leading Thermal Imaging Camera Sensor can be configured to constantly scan complex electrical infrastructure like wiring ganglions, giving invaluable early warnings on localised thermal runaways which are the precursors to critical incidents like electrical fires.


Don't go anywhere... Check out Episode 4, a 'sickening' story of an English hospital and its £1 million server meltdown!

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