Last Thursday was a very stressful day for many web designers in the UK, and we were no exception. In fact, I would argue that we had a worst time than most. Bluesquare, based in Maidenhead, is one of the UK’s largest datacenters. For those that don’t know a datacenter is a large complex of servers – literally home of the internet. On Thursday last week, an incident involving a fire alarm and strict safety protocols resulted in the datacenter being shut down. Twitter was a hive of activity with reports of fire brigades and less serious ones such as people claiming their websites were on fire. Regardless, millions of websites were offline for several hours.
Although many people found the whole incident rather amusing, this was not the case for us. Not only were all of our websites offline for over 5 hours – we were being represented in a rather important meeting at the time. Teams of people from the UK, Romania, Slovenia, Greece and Germany had all flown to Athens along with members from The Culture Programme of the European Union who were funding our latest project. They would have collectively travelled thousands of miles, and instead of viewing the private beta of our website, would have witnessed a rather dull “Server not found” page. We were not happy. More importantly, they were not happy! Several feverish and rather expensive phone calls later and we managed to explain that there was nothing we could do and it was simply a case of waiting it out.
Eventually, with no sign of the site coming back online any time soon, the meeting was postponed until the following day. It didn’t end there though! Halfway through the demonstration of our website the internet cut out due to ISP strikes in Greece! In the end, the meeting finally concluded and most of the partner countries involved in the project got a fairly decent look at the website.
It is a fact that with technology, sometimes things just go wrong and there is nothing you can do about it. It is just life and you just have to take the rough with the smooth. At the time it may not seem like things will get better but they generally do. The internet outage suffered by us and many web professionals was a freak incident not likely to happen again any time soon, and we can happily say that all of our websites are up and running smoothly (including this one) and the project mentioned above is progressing very nicely and should be launched in a couple of weeks.