Web sites went dark for some organizations – even emergency response groups – because of the largest power outage in U.S. history.
Many organizations that host Web sites in house lost power and, at least temporarily, lost their Internet identity.
But, for the most part, Internet traffic stayed up, according to public statements from Internet providers.
Organizations whose Web hosting companies had dependable backup power managed to keep their Web sites alive.
Most data switching centers and long-distance switching centers have large battery racks and diesel generators that automatically kick in during a power failure.
Computer network experts added there was no evidence that the power outage was related to the Blaster computer worm that began spreading Monday.
Some major news network Web sites slowed temporarily during the first part of the outage because of an overload of traffic.
Disaster News Network, hosted by its sister organization, New Village Media Inc., stayed online throughout the blackout despite the fact that its servers are located in Toronto. Several other national disaster response Web sites, including Church World Service/Emergency Response Program and National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters are also hosted by New Village Media.
"It is critical that emergency response organizations, who have come to depend upon the Internet for communications, include Web and mail server contingencies in their emergency plans," said Jim Skillington of New Village Media of Jessup, MD. "Although it may be convenient to host Web sites in-house, few organizations can afford the auxiliary power supplies needed to keep a Web server online through a major power failure or similar national emergency."
"Many organizations have kept servers in-house," he said, "because they are not aware of available options or haven't considered the real impact of a power failure or national emergency." Businesses that rely on the Internet, he added, lose more than $12,000 in missed opportunities and sales for every hour a Web site is off-line according to recent industry estimates.
"Our servers are running on back-up generators that have enough fuel for nearly a month of independent operation. In addition to power back-ups, we have multiple redundancies to insure Internet access. Having Web servers be offline because of a power failure isn't an option for our clients."
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