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A reported failure of air conditioning that shutdown Glasgow City Council’s datacentre on Tuesday is still causing the council problems three days on.
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In a statement on its website Glasgow City Council said: “The council switchboard is now operational again. Emails are still not being received nor sent due to IT issues at Glasgow City Council.”
It is believed the council’s core datacentre went offline due to a fault in the air conditioning system, which caused fire repellent to be released.
Fire is the among the worst things that can happen to a datacentre.
Under normal operation, server rooms contain breathable air. But when a fire alarm is tripped, the datacentre pumps in inert gases like Argon or Halon into the server rooms to remove as much air as possible from the facility to prevent any fire from spreading. As a result, IT administrators have about 30 seconds to evacuate before the air is replaced by the fire retardant gas.
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Usually the alarm triggers a datacentre information management (DCIM) systems in to ensure the delicate servers, network and storage units shut down gracefully in what is often known as “a known state.” But, some datacentre procedures at Glasgow appear to have been done manually.
According to some experts, it can sometimes take days to restart servers successfully when they are shutdown. In fact, a large proportion of servers often fail as a result of being shutdown and restarted for a datacentre relocation.
Since 2008, Glasgow’s IT is run through a joint venture called Access with service company Serco. The 10-year contract, which began in 2008 covers datacentre operations and disaster recover.
In November Glasgow signed a deal with CityFibre, which will build a city-wide gigabit to transform Glasgow’s digital infrastructure. The fibre network will give the city broadband connectivity many times faster than the UK average, future-proofing local businesses for many years to come.