WebNX Generator Caught Fire After Power Outage

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Imagine suddenly having your website go offline, along with a cluster of other websites. Even worse, a hosting provider has to experience damage on some of its customers’ servers and go offline due to a power outage with no backup. All this happens to a company that banks on its reputation of providing maximum uptime.

This nightmare is exactly what web hosting company WebNX had to go through recently. During a power disturbance in Los Angeles and surrounding areas, WebNX’s Utah-based data center’s backup power option backfired when one of its main generators caught fire. Usually, it takes only a fraction of a second for the generator to switch on and resume power during an outage, thus minimizing the downtime experienced by websites to 0.01%. Unfortunately for WebNX, the company experienced a lengthy power outage after its generator caught fire the second it tried to switch on.

To make matters worse, the data center could not switch back to the main power grid when the area’s power supply was fixed, as the fire services had cut off the premises’ main power supply as a part of its emergency protocol. Consequently, the web hosting company suffered drastically as its customers had to go through a long period of disrupted services, not to mention the water and fire damage to some parts of their customer servers and hardware.

Situation Made Worse by Fire Suppression Protocol?

Dealing with a malfunctioned generator was one catastrophe, but the fire department’s suppression protocol was another challenge the company had to deal with. 

According to Fire Marshal Kevin Brown, cutting off a site’s main power supply is a routine protocol in such situations. The service is only resumed once an electrical engineer inspects the facility thoroughly to make sure it’s safe to do so. The fire services made it clear in their official statements that the fire was managed and controlled due to the emergency suppression protocol. After originating from the generator, it quickly spread to surrounding servers and could have done even more damage had it not been curtailed in time. 

However, until all this was taken care of by the fire team, the WebNX data center remained without power. In fact, all of Ogden City’s IT services, which relied on the WebNX data center, were down for two consecutive days. Thus all their customers experienced a serious downtime despite regular power supply being resumed in the rest of the area.

No Fire Damage to Customer Servers. Compensation for Those Affected

In its social media statements, WebNX claims no significant damage was done to most of its customer servers. The only exception was the few in the central bay that experienced damage due to water exposure. 

The crisis had also affected Gorilla Servers, which operates within the Ogden data center. However, the web hosting company’s clients are not pleased with the situation. Gorilla Servers hosts many major websites, including YouTuber Dave Jones’, all of which went offline. 

The company further claims that most of their hardware was spared, besides a few machines that would need to be fixed or rebuilt due to water exposure. Furthermore, WebNX is working on restoring power, network, and unaffected hardware as a top priority and should successfully get their servers back online within 2 days. They are also prioritizing restoring customer data. 

Additionally, WebNX will be offering compensation for damages to all affected customers in line with their customer service legal agreements.

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