How the Internet Kept Humming During 2 Hurricanes

Author: James Glanz
Coverage Type: reporting
Miami, FL, United States

For all their seeming immateriality, the internet and the cloud rely on a vast industrial infrastructure consisting of data centers linked through a sprawling network of fiber optics. The facilities are stacked with servers — boxlike computers that crunch the data for everything from hospitals, law enforcement agencies and banks to news websites, email and weather reports — that cannot be without electricity and cooling for even a fraction of a second. Yet even as millions of people lost power across Florida, and thousands of homes and businesses were flooded out in Miami and Texas, the heavy digital machinery at the heart of the internet and the cloud held firm. Though the storm disabled some cellphone towers and local connections, Jeff Eassey, a manager for Digital Realty who hunkered down in the Miami building, said the center never stopped processing and transmitting data. It lost utility power around 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, but supplied its own electricity with generators.


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