Storm Barbara, the energy sector and our web hosting infrastructure

Find out how Storm Barbara will put our web hosting infrastructure to the test.

Posted on 22 December 2016 -
Tibus BY Tibus

The direct link between meteorology and web hosting might not be immediately apparent, but the impending arrival of Storm Barbara is actually likely to be a major real-life test of our infrastructure.

That’s because we have a number of clients who operate in the energy sector, including NIE Networks and Click Energy. As you would expect, these electricity companies operate or depend upon infrastructure that is more likely to take a battering from Storm Barbara. Indeed NIE Networks has already issued a warning to that effect.

A statement on its website said: “Following the weather forecast for severe gales with gusts of up to 70mph tomorrow morning [Friday 23rd December], Northern Ireland Electricity Networks (NIE Networks) has warned of a possibility of damage to the electricity network, especially in exposed and coastal locations. 

“NIE Networks has initiated an escalation plan and has emergency crews, engineers and call handlers on stand-by. “

The knock-on effect for us is that many of those who find themselves without electricity, want to report damage to the network or want to check on known faults before reporting a problem will choose to do so via the NIE Networks website or their own electricity supplier’s website.

That means that any website in the energy sector is likely to receive extraordinarily large numbers of visitors if, as is being predicted, Storm Barbara causes damage to the electricity network.

Fortunately for the likes of NIE Networks and Click Energy, they have been working with us well in advance of an event like tomorrow’s storm to ensure that their digital infrastructure, such as their website, is robust enough to cope with the demand generated by a major storm. We carry out regular simulations in which we replicate the conditions that might be created by a storm like Barbara to ensure that the website hosting infrastructure can cope with a worst scenario.

In such a situation, NIE Networks are so busy and have such a lot of work to do that the last thing they need is to be worrying about the status of the website. As the company’s web manager Emma Duggan said: "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.”

Interested in learning more?

If you'd like to read more about the infrastructure we provide for NIE Networks, you might like to read our case study.

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