How Storm Ophelia will put our web hosting infrastructure to the ultimate test

Former hurricane Ophelia is on its way to our shores - and it is set to give Tibus’ infrastructure a severe test. Here’s why…

Posted on 16 October 2017 -
Tibus BY Tibus

Ophelia is set to be the biggest storm to hit Ireland and the UK in 30 years. In other words, we are set for the most adverse weather conditions we have seen in the Internet age. Meteorologists are warning of a danger to life, flying debris and damage to the power network.

The Met Office said in a statement: “There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.”

This is of particular concern to us because we count among our clients a number of energy companies, including NIE Networks, which is responsible for maintaining the electricity network across Northern Ireland. Today promises to be a very busy day for its website. The testing work we have undertaken to prepare for an extreme weather event like Storm Ophelia is likely to get its sternest real-life test to date..

Damage to the electricity network

NIE Networks is telling its customers: “Due to the severe weather warning across Northern Ireland, there is a possibility of damage to the electricity network. If you lose electricity supply, please call our customer helpline on 03457 643 643.”

However, to get the latest information in their area (before or after supply has been damaged) or if their landline or mobile phone coverage has been affected by the storm, many people choose to visit the NIE Networks website, which was not an option during the Great Storm of 1987.

When Northern Ireland’s households find themselves without electricity and working phones, television and radio, if their mobile phone is still clinging to the 3G network, they expect to be able to get the information they desperately need from the Internet.

The also want to use the NIE Networks website to report damage to the network, to check on known faults before reporting a problem or find out when power is due to be restored in their area.

The result is levels of website traffic that go far beyond the levels of traffic the NIE Networks website would attract on a normal day. It is vital that the website remains available to provide its public service function during the storm.


NIE Networks’ web manager Emma Duggan explains: "When bad weather strikes, our website must remain available, no matter how many customers need to access it. Tibus provides the assurances we need - and the testing to support those assurances.”

The private cloud hosting infrastructure we have put in place is flexible to allow it to scale up as required. It is designed and tested to cope with worst case scenarios, such as the conditions it is likely to face today.

Click here to read more about the hosting infrastructure we have put in place for NIE Networks (but only once you’ve battened down the hatches).