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.