Squirrels v. The Internet

It turns out that one of the biggest threats to a data center are squirrels:

Squirrels may be the data center’s enemy number one. Level 3 Communications say that they accounted for an astounding 17 percent of all of their cable damage last year.

The thing is, squirrels are little chewing machines, and they love to chew right through whatever is in their way, even if it’s a critical fiber-optic cable or (bad news for the squirrel) a live power line.

That’s what happened to Yahoo a couple of years back, according to Mike Christian, a director of engineering at Yahoo. ” A frying squirrel did take out half of our Santa Clara data center two years back,” he said, speaking at the Velocity conference in Santa Clara, California last month.

As Data Center Knowledge pointed out recently, squirrels account for an astoundingly large percentage of power outages.

Steven Hebert, a wildlife specialist with Swat Pest Control in San Jose, Calif. says that most of the time the culprit is the eastern grey tree squirrel. These guys don’t hibernate or burrow like their ground squirrel cousins.

Personally, I’ve never trusted them.

H/T: Instapundit

FILED UNDER: General
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Herb says:

    Urgh….I hate squirrels. They murder my garden yearly and chewed up the wiring on my truck once. I got a live trap and was doing the catch-and-release thing, but that just opens up territory for the nearest squirrel clan. These damn red-tailed squirrels aren’t even native to CO, man…..

    A similar problem occurs with wasp nests and VSAT equipment.

  2. michael reynolds says:

    So that’s why we have domestic drones! Suck on my Hellfire, Mr. Cheeks!

  3. Ron Beasley says:

    I worked for a large manufacturer several years ago. A squirrel got into the very specialized transformer outside the plant and shorted it out. We were shut down for the two days it took to get a replacement.

  4. ernieyeball says:

    I began a 35 year career in the telephone industry in 1973. Long before CATV existed squirrels have been chewing on aerial telephone cable since it was first strung in the 1800’s.
    Alot of the earliest wire was sheathed in lead. If it killed the squirrels it did not stop them from eating it.
    Mice are the # 1 varmits causing trouble with buried telephone facilities. I used to be able to walk up to a terminal in the winter, kick it, watch the mice run out and the trouble would be fixed!

  5. ernieyeball says:

    I began a 35 year career in the telephone industry in 1973. Long before CATV existed squirrels have been chewing on aerial telephone cable since it was first strung in the 1800’s.
    Alot of the earliest wire was sheathed in lead. If it killed the squirrels it did not stop them from eating it.
    Mice are the # 1 varmits causing trouble with buried telephone facilities. I used to be able to walk up to a terminal in the winter, kick it, watch the mice run out and the trouble would be fixed!
    Upon closer inspection the tree rat in the picture may be perched on a telephone cable. The CATV facilities are above.

  6. ernieyeball says:

    Don’t know how that happened.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Squirrels.

  8. ernieyeball says:

    “If it killed the squirrels it did not stop them from eating it.”

    Zombie squirrels…

    (How many times do you have to read something you write before you realize that it’s not quite what you were trying to say?)

  9. Franklin says:

    I find squirrels fascinating. They actually seem to be getting smarter about crossing roads, standing up and surveying the scene, often retreating when necessary. I also swear they usually stop at the yellow line in the middle to evaluate further. Why I find this fascinating is that they simply don’t have the equipment to deal with this task – a brain the size of a walnut and eyes that can’t see far enough (or at least can’t gather enough information to judge the speed of a car-like object). But they try their darndest, and of course they have to.

  10. John Peabody says:

    This gives a new meaning to the oft-heard warning: “Squirrel!”