US paranoia about another September 11 style strike on New York resulted in the region’s data centres being swamped by tons of water.
In the wake of September 11, US officials were so paranoid about airlines striking their buildings they issued a series of orders which were supposed to protect the general population. They reasoned that if a plane struck a building it would set light to any fuel which might have been stored there and cause a fire hazard.
While this seems fair enough, you have to remember that an aircraft carries enough fuel of its own, and if it hits a building, any fuel contained on the room is going to be the least of the building’s problems.
The health and safety move, which was based on the unlikely event that an aircraft might strike a building, failed to factor in a much more likely event of a storm hitting New York and the area being flooded.
According to Datacentre Knowledge, when Superstorm Sandy came ashore the staff at Datagram thought that they had it all sorted.
The storm surge from Sandy poured water into the basement of Datagram’s primary data centre.
But what was particularly stupid was that the basement was where they housed the diesel fuel tanks and pumps supporting Datagram’s emergency backup generators, as well as key switch gear. When the electricity went off, Datagram was stuffed.
Anyone could have told Datagram that housing its generators in the basement was daft, but that did not stop city officials restricting placing fuel tanks on rooftops and upper floors, citing concerns about the 9-11 attacks
Of course, if we were terrorists we would think that all that fuel in the basement would be a tempting target to explode at ground level, that way you could bring down a building without having to go through the trouble of hijacking an aircraft.