Vocus Melbourne data centre blacks out

Ry Crozier | Dec 10, 2010 9:23 AM
Updated: Second generator only a week away.

Vocus' newly-acquired data centre in Port Melbourne suffered a 3.5 hour outage this morning after a power grid failure.

Utility CitiPower reported a mains outage in Crockford Street, Port Melbourne. The high-voltage problem was understood to have occurred around 4am.

Several customers of the Vocus facility and users of Pipe Networks peering services then reported outages from 5am.

Sources told iTnews that battery back-ups had kicked in "for about an hour" following the mains problem but that the centre's single 750 kVA diesel generator failed to start.

Vocus acquired the facility from E3 Networks as part of a $5.9 million transaction announced in October.

Chief executive James Spenceley told iTnews that during due diligence associated with the purchase, Vocus had discovered the Port Melbourne site ran off a single back-up generator.

He said that immediately after the acquisition was finalised, Vocus purchased a second generator to bring the centre up to the minimum back-up specifications that Vocus thought necessary.

"[The new generator] was due to be delivered this week," Spenceley said. "This [outage] is terrible timing".

Spenceley said Vocus had also implemented new disaster recovery processes after acquiring the facility, which kicked in as the outage began.

Generator technicians were understood to have been been onsite within a half-hour. Back-up power was restored to the data centre at about 8am.

Customers' engineers were not allowed back into the centre immediately, reportedly because the VESDA smoke detection system could not be safely disabled.

It was understood the whole Port Melbourne suburb had been affected by the mains outage.

A CitiPower notification indicated that ground crews were attending and that the cause of the outage was still "under investigation".

Mains power was restored at approximately 12.30pm.