When we flush the toilet, our server goes down!

Yes, really!

Our client shall remain anonymous to avoid embarrassment, but this is a true story:

We recently decided to offer our Network Monitoring System free to our established clients. This service monitors PC’s and servers on a round-the-clock basis, and tells us such things as when your server disk is getting full, or when it is not contactactable.

Yesterday we noticed that one server in particular had been, shall we say, ‘up and down like a yo-yo’ for about a day.¬†Our network monitoring systems lost contact with the server a few times. This would normally be the result of a power cut or loss of internet connection.

These types of outages are not uncommon, and so while we are on higher alert that there may be an issue with power or broadband, we do not make an immediate call to the client, becuase this is usually met with ‘our broadband is down’ or something similar.

After a day of these outages we called the client who explained they had been having a few power cuts… and while we were on the phone it suddenly dawned on the member of staff we were talking to that the power cuts they were experiencing only happened when somebody flushed the loo!

It turns out that one of the pumps in the cess pit was causing an electrical problem – in turn tripping out power to the whole building!

At time of writing it appears that these power outages have not caused any network issue – but this client was very lucky indeed. Power cuts like this can be extremely damaging to computer equipment and data.

Fortunately we had installed a new UPS on the server a few months before – but none of the computers in use have their own power protection and so these could have suffered damage, most likely to the operating system or applications.