Hurricane Sandy Knocks Out Some Websites; Off-Site Data Centers, Back-Up Servers Save The Day

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Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the U.S. East Coast, has also wreaked havoc in the cyber world as the storm floods knocked down the servers of several popular websites, forcing them to go offline for hours.

Several websites like the Huffington Post, Jezebel, Gawker and Gizmodo experienced technical problems as the servers of the Internet service provider Datagram, which powers these websites, went off. The storm water flooded the electrical and equipment system in the Datagram building forcing them to shutdown power to avoid permanent damage.

"Unfortunately, within a couple hours of the storm hitting Manhattan's shores, the building's entire basement, which houses the building's fuel tank pumps and sump pumps, was completely filled with water and a few feet into the lobby," a statement on the  Datagram website said.

"Due to electrical systems being underwater the building was forced to shut down to avoid fire and permanent damage. We experienced no infrastructure damage due to the storm," it said.

Several other websites like Market Watch and Buzfeed.com also experienced technical difficulties, forcing their sites to go offline temporarily.

The Huffington Post is back with partial functionality with minimum updates on after storm news while Gawker is redirecting its customers to a blog format backup site for the latest stories using backup servers.

"We are working around the clock to get the site back to normal," the Huffington Post editor's note said. The website relied on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr to update news during the storm. “HuffPost is currently relying on its Newark data center, while the New York City facility is still under repair.”

“We're continuing to work on our servers and will be back online as soon as is possible. We miss you already. Stay dry,” tweeted Gawker.

The impact of Sandy is expected to prompt websites to create backup data centers and servers to stay online in similar situations in the future.

"While we're obviously disappointed with Datagram, our priority has been getting back online for our readers with an alternate publishing platform, which we've now done with all sites, thanks to Tumblr," Scott Kidder, Gawker's Executive Director of Operations told ABC News.Buzzfeed which initially had problems is back using an off-site backup data center. The website was back online soon because Buzzfeed had started backing up its data on real-time in an off-site data center at Akamai, a content delivery network, after Hurricane Irene struck last year.

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