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IBM’s SoftLayer ‘fully operational’ as Storm Harvey floods basement

Business continuity will keep servers operational, but tropical storm appears to have taken out one of IBM’s basements

IBM has been forced to issue a tweet after images and videos showed one of its sites in the US city of Houston under water after Tropical Storm Harvey struck.

The pictures and videos, reportedly taken by a SoftLayer administrator, show flooding in the basement of IBM’s HOU04 site, which is located in Capitol Street, Houston.

In response to the images and rumours, IBM tweeted: “The #IBMCloud Data Center in Houston is fully operational & serving clients. Video of basement flooding does not depict the #datacentersite.”

The IBM site appears to be an office in the centre of the city that is used by system administrators to monitor IBM’s Houston HS002 datacentre remotely.

Storm Harvey has affected more than 6.8 million people and there are reports that it has already taken the lives of nine.

Although IBM’s Houston datacentre site may be fully operational, according to TV and new reports, Houston’s basic infrastructure has been hit severely.

The BBC reported that 30,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the city with floodwaters continuing to rise.

Flooded server rooms in any of the offices affected by the storm are likely to be inoperable if there has been flooding and electrical power outages, but IT departments tend to run a backup and recovery plan to minimise data loss, and the servers should failover to a remote location to enable business continuity.

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If access to a server room is not possible, system administrators can usually manage systems remotely, but impassable roads and power outages may mean employees and IT staff are unable to get to the site selected in the business continuity plan.

In a recent Computer Weekly blog, Quocirca principal analyst Rob Bamforth discussed the need for network resilience as part of an effective business continuity plan. He wrote: “A resilient organisation needs to apply some level of failover to cope with the inevitable network problems that will occur.

“With no expense spared, the solution for resilience is multiple independent, redundant and equivalent connections. In practice, this can prove to be an expensive route even when done intelligently. However, if the investment is too low, the curtailment of critical networked processes will severely impact the business.”

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