Explosion shuts down The Planet/Hostgator dedicated servers

June 2nd, 2008 - 9:34am by Slye Fox
Tags: server

On Saturday at about 4:45pm, a major power transformer in the one of the Houston data centers exploded knocking down three walls and causing a large fire. Power was disrupted and technicians were unable to do anything until approval from the fire marshal was granted. It took over 24 hours for this approval.

The good news was that none of the hardware (servers, routers, etc) were harmed. No one lost any data, but since backup power was not allowed, the network went down and many of Hostgator's dedicated servers went offline. Mine included. This is a fluke event and unpredictable by anyone. No one to blame except fate.

Early this morning the folks at both The Planet and Hostgator have managed to get 90% of everyone back online. Sorry for the downtime. I've still been noticing some lag and issues with my email. Obviously the support staff is swamped with irate customers and trying to get things back online. Hopefully everything will return to a normal plateau shortly. Thanks for your patience.

If you want to read more visit:

From The Planet's CEO:

June 1 – 11:00pm

As previously committed, I would like to provide an update on where we stand following yesterday's explosion in our H1 data center. First, I would like to extend my sincere thanks for your patience during the past 28 hours. We are acutely aware that uptime is critical to your business, and you have my personal commitment that The Planet team will continue to work around the clock to restore your service.

As you have read, we have begun receiving some of the equipment required to start repairs. While no customer servers have been damaged or lost, we have new information that damage to our H1 data center is worse than initially expected. Three walls of the electrical equipment room on the first floor blew several feet from their original position, and the underground cabling that powers the first floor of H1 was destroyed.

There is some good news, however. We have found a way to get power to Phase 2 (upstairs, second floor) of the data center and to restore network connectivity. We will be powering up the air conditioning system and other necessary equipment within the next few hours. Once these systems are tested, we will begin bringing the 6,000 servers online. It will take four to five hours to get them all running.

We have brought in additional support from Dallas to have more hands and eyes on site to help with any servers that may experience problems. The call center has also brought in double staff to handle the increase in tickets we're expecting. Hopefully by sunrise tomorrow Phase 2 will be well on its way to full production.

Let me next address Phase 1 (first floor) of the data center and the affected 3,000 servers. The news is not as good, and we were not as lucky. The damage there was far more extensive, and we have a bigger challenge that will require a two-step process. For the first step, we have designed a temporary method that we believe will bring power back to those servers sometime tomorrow evening, but the solution will be temporary. We will use a generator to supply power through next weekend when the necessary gear will be delivered to permanently restore normal utility power and our battery backup system. During the upcoming week, we will be working with those customers to resolve issues.

We know this may not be a satisfactory solution for you and your business but at this time, it is the best we can do.

We understand that you will be due service credits based on our Service Level Agreement. We will proactively begin providing those following the restoration of service, which is our number priority, so please bear with us until this has been completed.

I recognize that this is not all good news. I can only assure you we will continue to utilize every means possible to fully restore service.

I plan to have an audio update tomorrow evening.

Until then,

Douglas J. Erwin
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

June 3, 2008 - 7:04pm
Slye Fox says:

Some people may have noticed problems with their gallery installations yesterday and today. The power disruption broke the MySQL connection and today I restarted the MySQL service to resolve the problems.

So far as I can tell things are back to normal. Be sure to get in touch if you notice any goofiness.