Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government United States Your Rights Online

Tornado Risk Seen For Social Security Data Center 67

Posted by timothy
from the quasi-funded-mandate dept.
1sockchuck writes "Despite the recent outbreak of powerful tornadoes, the Social Security Administration has decided to engineer its new data center to withstand winds of just 90 miles per hour. Data center experts say mission-critical facilities should be built to withstand winds of 120 to 180 miles per hour to protect against tornado and hurricane risks. It's the latest in a series of challenges for the $800 million project, which will replace a creaky 30-year old facility."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Tornado Risk Seen For Social Security Data Center

Comments Filter:
  • Even the new Social Security facilities are gonna blow.
  • Build a bunker, large version. It isn't fucking difficult, bunkers are thermally efficient, and they can shrug off storms.

    • by timepilot (116247)

      but not flooding.

      • That's why you don't build critical facilities in the floodplain, and are wary of coast lines, volcanoes, and fault lines.

        A little thought about truck bombs and other terrorist means would also be nice.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They have some leftovers from the cold war. Those nuke silos didn't go anywhere, and from what I understand they're pretty solid. Instead of selling them all off, the government should utilize its internal exchange program to utilize in-house assets.

      As long as the backup generators are working and sump pumps are in good order, an old nuke silo is likely one of the best places to store electronic records. A tornado comes, you just close the vent hatches on top and continue with business as usual.

    • Why not just build it somewhere that doesn't have tornadoes instead?

  • by bflong (107195) on Friday June 03, 2011 @06:00PM (#36334336)

    Don't they have geographically disperse redundant data centers to avoid an issue like a tornado taking them completely down?

    • Don't they have geographically disperse redundant data centers to avoid an issue like a tornado taking them completely down?

      What? Backups? Are you serious?

    • by baegucb (18706)

      I deal with SSA fairly often. I think they might have another facility in Illinois. At least that's where the calls went to on a couple of occasions when we lost connectivity, and I had to chase down the reason. These are mainframes using VTAM btw.

    • Don't worry! A tornado will ensure any data center will become geographically dispersed!

  • why not build it under ground or at least put the severs at a lower level or in shipping crates like the MS data centers. Any ways a big storm likely will cut power / data lines and a on site power generator will need to have the fuel to last in less it's natural gas powered.
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Friday June 03, 2011 @06:08PM (#36334378) Homepage
    They should put it in a double-wide [hubpages.com] and get 140 MPH rating. Seriously, 90 MPH is nothing. That's just a bad thunderstorm. I just can't even envision what sort of construction would not be able to withstand 90 MPH except for possibly an un-anchored camping tent.
    • Re:Trailers (Score:4, Informative)

      by rtb61 (674572) on Friday June 03, 2011 @07:34PM (#36334752) Homepage

      Modern building engineering, everything is down to actual location, including surrounding buildings and geography. To say you are designing to 90 miles an hour doesn't mean much and is likely taken out of context. Now days thanks to computers each elevation is designed separately as well as taking into account different loading at different locations on the building, be it the apex the eaves, mid point of the building etc. Now add to this safety factors which is added on top of environmental conditions, based upon use and life of building and are built into the calculations to be used.

      So commentary upon building engineering by a computer expert (definitely a drip under pressure) who knows little to nothing about building design.

      Realistically though any Federal infrastructure should be evenly distributed between states with each state facility acting as backup for adjoining the states and of course fairly distributing the income from Federal spending. The big cost with these facilities is not data storage, but data input and output ie people at keyboards. Replicating the data stored fifty times really doesn't add that much cost. The extra cost of fifty data centres tends to balance out because there are plenty of existing buildings near state capitals that can be fitted out, employees are far more accessible and infrastructure design becomes much simpler (great system redundancy).

  • Then all you have to worry about are data leaks.

  • assuming they have backups. 
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Friday June 03, 2011 @06:29PM (#36334476)

    http://www.missilebases.com/properties [missilebases.com]

    Dig the one with 45,000 sq ft. No worry about wind velocity here.

  • If it's designed to fail, it means someone is going to get repeat business.
  • The only obvious explanation to me is that someone wants to prove that they do not believe in any sort of climate change.
    Someone should check. Someone somewhere may be a patsy for some industry that is a known producer of greenhouse gas or something...

  • "SSA Moves to Cloud Computing", "SSA Outsources Operations to ", "SSA Decides to go NoSQL", "SSA Goes to HDFS"
  • Is it built to withstand or prevent anything like another one of these [wikipedia.org] and/or are the offices in it prepared to quickly recover from such an event?

  • Don't worry (Score:2, Insightful)

    by argoff (142580) *

    The risk of the ponzi scheme going to hell is 1000 time's greater than the risk of a tornado.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      The risk of the ponzi scheme going to hell is 1000 time's greater than the risk of a tornado.

      You haven't been watching the weather, have you? Every once in a while you should pull your head out of your navel and look around. There's more to life than cubicle and basement.

  • Isn't social security going to be bankrupt within 20 years, anyway?

  • Or is their plan a disaster?

    Specifying the design of a building shouldn't be done in a vacuum (!).
    They should estimate how soon that center needs to be back online (to service local centers, I imagine) if it gets taken out, how much it will cost (to them or their clients) if it is not back online on time, how much extra it will cost to harden or duplicate the center, how often they expect a disaster that could take out the center, etc.

    And if experts say they should build for 120 - 180 mph winds (given all

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Friday June 03, 2011 @11:14PM (#36335592)

    ...Congress has done far more damage to that particular administration than any natural disaster ever could.

    As far as I'm concerned, don't even bother replacing the old building. It won't need to exist much longer at this rate of insanity within the political realm.

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Saturday June 04, 2011 @01:57AM (#36335936)

    This question got me curious, so I did a little homework. What are the odds of a building in Maryland being struck by a tornado during its lifetime?

    Found an AMAZING website: The Tornado History Project [tornadohis...roject.com], which has statistics for all recorded tornadoes in the U.S., integrated with Google Maps and with a spreadsheet export function. So I grabbed the stats for every historical tornado in Maryland, used the site's track width and length data to find out the area of land affected by each one, and added them all up. The usual caveats about rounding error, reporting bias, etc. apply.

    The result: about 43 square km of Maryland has been hit by tornados in the last 60 years. The area of Maryland [wolframalpha.com] is 32,000 km^2, so the odds of a random patch of land in Maryland being hit by a tornado are roughly 1 in 750.

    Is this risk high enough to be worth redesigning the building for? I guess it depends on the consequences of loss. It's not a negligible risk, but if the data is backed up elsewhere, I wouldn't worry about it myself. I can think of plenty of [visitthecapitol.gov] other [loc.gov] buildings [osd.mil] in the area whose loss would be more of a concern.

  • This question got me curious, so I did a little homework. What are the odds of a building in Maryland being struck by a tornado during its lifetime?

    Found an AMAZING website: The Tornado History Project [tornadohis...roject.com], which has statistics for all recorded tornadoes in the U.S., integrated with Google Maps and with a spreadsheet export function. So I grabbed the stats for every historical tornado in Maryland, used the site's track width and length data to find out the area of land affected by each one, and added them all

  • Back in 1995 or so I did a project in the PA data center replacing Token Ring (!) with Ethernet cabling, along with some other stuff. The building was essentially 3 stories of brick. It was in an area that wouldn't be prone to tornadoes, being amidst several hills and mountains, but hurricane Agnes did quite a job on the area back in '72. While do that project, I got to deal with some of the facilities people, and let's just say that I was a bit underwhelmed by them.

    So I'm not surprised that 1) They'll s

  • I've personally witnessed all of the types of destructive
    http://www.windlegends.org/windnames.htm [windlegends.org]
    winds. Front row to over a dozen hurricanes, all the way
    up to 5. Seen a handful of twisters and waterspouts...

    http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/psr/general/history/ [noaa.gov]

    ... and I've seen many haboobs and the winds that
    are associated with it. If you aren't planning on high
    speed straight-line winds, you're just too stupid to be
    in the business of planning.

    "Peak wind gusts of up to 115 mph were measured at the Deer Valley Airport,

As the trials of life continue to take their toll, remember that there is always a future in Computer Maintenance. -- National Lampoon, "Deteriorata"

Working...