Updated: DCs, telcos brace for impact in Queensland

AAPT data centres, backhaul down according to unconfirmed reports
The South Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket is expected to be flooded soon, affecting some Dedicated Servers staff.

The South Brisbane suburb of Fig Tree Pocket is expected to be flooded soon, affecting some Dedicated Servers staff.

Data centres and telecommunications across Brisbane are continuing to brace for impact as a result of ongoing flooding in the city’s CBD.

Queensland energy utility Energex this morning issued a revised notification stating power would be cut to low-lying areas of Brisbane from 8.30am. The outage could affect up to 100,000 homes and businesses, but the utility stated the scale of the operation prevented it from notifying individual businesses before they lose power.

Energex doesn't know how long the blackouts will last and has advised restoration times will depend on how quickly the floodwaters fall and how badly equipment has been damaged.

Unconfirmed reports this morning indicate AAPT’s shorefront data centres in Eagle St, Brisbane may be down, though a spokesperson for the telco was unreachable at time of writing. It is unknown whether backup generators are in operation.

Major data centres from Pipe Networks and Dedicated Servers continue to operate as normal but both have had issues with staffing and potential evacuation procedures.

Pipe network operations centre manager, Andrew Edington, said Tuesday that all four data centres operated by the company in the CBD and Fortitude Valley were unlikely to be affected.

Update: However, an advisory notice sent out to Pipe customers on Wednesday indicated the two CBD-based data centres, housed in Creek St, Brisbane, could be affected. The data centres house critical government data used in coordinating a State Emergency Service response to the flood and will likely be the last building in its immediate area to have its power cut by Energex.

Nevertheless, should flooding proceed, power to the centre could be cut for up to 48 hours, until waters safely recede.

All non-government staff have been evacuated from the building housing the centres.

Dedicated Servers chief executive, Jon Eaves, told Computerworld Australia that problems to the data centre weren’t anticipated, as backup generators and servers were both above ground.

“The biggest threat we have is staff unavailable to get to work today should any issue occur,” he said in an email. The immediate surrounding area of one executive (pictured) is expected to undergo flooding within the next 12 hours.

Telecommunications networks have continued to undergo strain as well, as mobile towers face effects from power outages.

An update from fibre provider Nextgen networks identified issues with a main backhaul cable near Thagoona in the state as a result of the flooding. The cable would remain unrepairable for up to three days, according to the advisory, forcing customers to use alternative fibre routes.

“However, it should be recognised that the network is now currently operating unprotected and a fault on the other major Brisbane to Sydney cable could cause a significant outage,” the advisory reads.

“A small number of customers (typically wholesale customers) who have specifically purchased unprotected services on the inland Brisbane to Sydney route will now be experiencing an outage. Please be aware that we are currently converting all possible unprotected traffic to the alternate route so that services can be restored wherever possible.”

Service provider Internode also indicated downed cables in the state, potentially leading to service disruption in Brisbane pending further issues.

According to an Exetel advisory posted yesterday, AAPT fibre backhaul has also been disrupted, causing ADSL issues for customers at surrounding exchanges.

An advisory from Telstra last night indicated problems with landlines and ADSL connections in some areas around the state, with major issues affecting the Grantham exchange.

Telstra will match dollar for dollar donations by its employees up to a total of $500,000, providing a total of $1 million to the flood appeals. The committed donations follow a pledge of $100,000 from Vodafone Hutchison Australia, which continued to face network issues as a result of the floods.