Superstorm Sandy is old news for some now that it's not in the media spotlight all the time, but an article from Wired magazine last year had an interesting angle on data centers in Manhattan. New York has a lot of reasons people should want to be hosted there, but the city also has some drawbacks.
The southern tip of Manhattan is known to some as a place for high-tech wizardry and state of the art data centers. However, because of it's location, it suffered problems when New York was hit by Sandy in 2012. When the storm first hit, one data center went completely dark, taking down the website for Gawker, The Huffington Post, and other websites.
DataGram was one of the companies hit hardest. They wrote on their company website, "Within a couple hours of the storm hitting Manhattan’s shores, the building’s entire basement - which houses the building’s fuel tank pumps and sub pumps - was inundated with water taking the building generator system offline - essentially shutting down the entire building,” That wasn't good news for the websites hosted in the building - especially the ones without a back-up plan.
This is why finding the right web host is so important. You really need to go beyond price and look at the big picture, include the physical location of the servers. There's no telling when another superstorm might hit New York City and cause problems for Manhattan, but it's something that should be thought about before any decisions are made.
Not too far away from DataGram's data center, one run by Google itself was overtaken by the forces of mother nature. The reason the search giant (and other companies like AT&T) want hardware on the island of Manhattan is so that it's easier to serve the millions of people who live and work there at any given moment in time. And yet the storm in 2012 showed that the proximity comes with drawbacks.
But wanting to be close to all the action has long been a priority. At the building at 60 Hudson Street - now a high-tech data center - Western Union once ran the hub of their operations - complete with state of the art (at the time) pneumatic tubes! Today, the building is still being used for data communication, but with more modern equipment. DataGryd, AT&T and even Verizon have server farms set-up at the location today.
While Sandy was a history making storm in many ways and is rare, it doesn't mean mother nature will never unleash her fury on the island in the future. Because of this, many of the data centers located in Manhattan are coming up with ways to make sure they're even more prepared the next time the area is inundated with water. Communication is essential today, and with Manhattan being so integral to the world in many ways, data centers here may be one of the best places to have them.