Bay Area Earthquake Creates Ripple Of Outages, Downtime

The Bay Area's strongest earthquake in 25 years resulted in IT outages and downtime, with damage making it impossible in areas to assess the state of on-site equipment.

Sunday morning's 6.0 earthquake led to outages and downtime for the 35 to 40 percent of Berkeley-based Endsight's customers located in Napa or Sonoma counties, said company CEO Mike Chaput.

"IT system outages were almost completely driven by infrastructure issues related to pipes," said Chaput, citing power and telecommunication outages.

[Related: When Disaster Strikes: Let These VARs Tell You What Can Happen]

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Some 70,000 Napa County residents lost power after the storm Sunday, but all were expected to have their lights back on by the end of the day Monday.

The brunt of the damage was borne by the back rooms of Endsight's customers, with warehouse boxes and belongings tumbling all over the place, Chaput said. Damages ranged from as little as having books all over the office to losing more than 20 percent of their wine inventory, he added.

Meanwhile, San Francisco-based BC Cloud Solutions LLC couldn't even get in to inspect the IT-related damage for its two Napa-area clients, said Tony Mwangi, the company's client solutions manager. That's because local authorities have "red flagged" the building, Mwangi said, meaning civilians can't enter until inspectors ensure the site is safe for public use.

Once BC Cloud Solutions gets the go-ahead, Mwangi said the company will assess damages to on-site computer and networking equipment and either replace items that have been severely compromised or remove them from the building until clients reoccupy their offices.

But when it comes to IT-related turmoil, solution providers said their customers largely dodged a bullet.

"The emergencies have mostly been dealt with on the IT side," Chaput said.

Most affected Endsight customers had business continuity and disaster recovery services in place, Chaput said, which worked as designed.

Nearly all Endsight and BC Cloud Solutions customers have their data stored or backed up to the private cloud, reducing the stakes of on-site damage.

"Everything is in the cloud," Mwangi said. "There's nothing they're not able to access."

And for Endsight customers with internal infrastructure, Chaput said most of the IT systems were securely installed inside racks and didn't tumble over or suffer significant damage.

Another area of concern for Chaput was server corruption stemming from the power outages. But based on everything he's heard so far, the uninterruptable power supply – which runs a non-disruptive, intelligent shutdown service after sensing the main power supply has gone out – was configured properly and functioned without incident.

It was all hands on deck at Endsight Sunday, Chaput said, with company employees visiting customer sites to make sure the water pipes hadn't burst, dealing with power infrastructure issues and cleaning up IT-related damage.

End users, though, were largely able to operate without a hitch.

Mwangi said both of his Napa-based customers worked from home Sunday and were able to access documents via the cloud, while Chaput said most of his biggest concerns had been resolved by the end of the day Sunday.

"Today (Monday) has been a pretty normal day for us and for our customers," he said.