iiNet blames heatwave conditions for data centre outage

iinet service down

iiNet, owned by TPG Telecom, said extreme heat in Perth is the cause of a data centre problem that has left its email and web servers offline since mid-morning on Christmas Day.

The telco’s customers across Australia reported major disruptions to their emails, with the NBN provider’s web services and website also unavailable.

IiNet is headquartered in Perth, with temperatures hitting 43.5 degrees on Christmas Day. The heatwave also caused power cuts to thousands of residents.

The company took more than a day to formally acknowledge the problems, with a social media post published shortly after 3p.m. AEDST on Sunday.

Referring to public complaints on its Twitter page on Christmas Day, iiNet blamed technical issues related to a major weather event in Western Australia that caused problems at iiNet’s data centre.

“We are experiencing some impacts to our customer service operations. Internet and mobile services are still available,” iiNet wrote.

In a statement a spokesperson for iiNet apologised to affected customers

“We apologise for any inconvenience, we are working to restore operations as soon as possible.”

Impacted services include:

  • iiNet website
  • iiNet domain email services

The iiNet customer call centre was available for basic troubleshooting only at the time of the outage.

Western Australia suffered a lot during the hottest Christmas Day on record, according to media reports

The company’s website displayed placeholder text noting it was “currently unavailable” and asking visitors to “check back later”.

Companies that have their sites hosted on iiNet also found their sites unresponsive.

iiNet previously had problems with the Perth datacentre in 2015 due to a heatwave and in 2018 due to power loss at the installation site. It was knocked offline due to equipment failure and record-breaking temperatures in the area. The heatwave caused outside temperatures to rise to about 44.4 degrees and brought down iiNet‘s data centre

More recently in September millions of Australians were left with no phone or internet service after a massive telecom failure brought down services including Telstra, iiNet and TPG

Data centre operators know very well the importance of cooling. Servers and other networking equipment can radiate enormous amounts of heat, and the lack of adequate cooling can lead to disastrous results.

Heat leading to data centre failure is common, although most of the time it is due to problems with the cooling or power supply of the infrastructure rather than external weather.

Data centres are equipped to consider the outside environment, with heat-based outages usually the result of an internal problem, not the weather.

Matthew Giannelis

Secondary editor and executive officer at Tech Business News. Contracting as an IT support engineer for 20 years Matthew has a passion for sharing his knowledge of the technology industry. He's also an advocate for global cyber security matters.

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