A power outage at a key New Jersey data center on the afternoon of January 24 disrupted several state services, including its Labor Department, which processes unemployment claims.
The power failure, which occurred at about 2 PM ET, shut down most of the state’s network, causing “disruptions across many state departments and agencies frequently used by the public,” the Treasury Department, which manages information technology for the state, wrote in a statement. Some departments lost access to e-mail, The Jersey Journal’s NJ.com reported on its Website.
The disruption affected most of the state’s computer network, including the nj.gov homepage and multiple offices from the state’s department of motor vehicles, which had to close an hour early Thursday when their computers went down, added the Associated Press.
Treasury Department Spokesman William Quinn told NBCNewYork that power was restored late in the day, but that the data center wasn’t yet back online. Techs would work as late as necessary to restore services, but that members of the public with state business should check the state’s Web sites on Friday, January 25, presumably to see if they were operational.
A message left with Quinn’s office Friday morning wasn’t returned by press time.
As of 9:30 PM ET Thursday, the New Jersey Treasury Website hadn’t publicly noted the outage or provided a schedule to bring services back online. However, the Web pages of the Treasury, Department of Labor and Workforce Development—as well as the main nj.co homepage—appeared to be serving pages normally.
New Jersey isn’t the first government-run data center to feel a power pinch, accidental or intentional. Last August, Mayor Mike McGinn of Seattle informed residents that the city would partially shut down its municipal data center for five days, including the Labor Day weekend. As a result, city residents were unable to pay bills, apply for business licenses, or take advantage of other online services.
For Seattle, the issue was a failure in one of the electrical “buses” that supplied power to the data center. Because that piece of equipment began overheating, the city had to begin taking servers and applications offline to prevent overloading the system.
Just a few weeks before, Washington state officials had begun asking for buyers for a $255 million data-center site. That facility, based in the state capitol of Olympia, is currently accepting servers from an overburdened nearby data center while the state looks for a potential purchaser.