Last week's fire in British Telecom's Belfast data center provided yet another example of how data center customers can be impacted by things out of their control. A small fire, that according to BT, did not damage any customer equipment, nonetheless was able to take down all of the customers of the Belfast data center for most of a day because it hit the space used to provide power and connectivity to the IT load of the data center.
Belfast-based ISP Tibus, which uses the BT data center, tweeted and blogged about its experience with the fire, which impacted its ability to deliver services to customers hosted by that facility. While not caused by the fire directly, Tibus' equipment was damaged by the sudden return of power without notification. Tibus reported that the sudden restore damaged two of its on-site power distribution units in the racks that are located within the BT facility.
The fire was confined to a small area in a single room, yet clearly identified a single point of failure for the Belfast BT data center. While not forthcoming on details, BT assured the media that the cause of the fire was not one that would affect its other data centers.