When Hurricane Irene hit the east coast last weekend, it brought with it, heavy wind and rain that took out cell networks in some areas. Yet most mobile news sites were able to stay up in spite of the conditions and the stress to the networks during the storm.
It’s a lesson you should take away from the storm. Regardless of the conditions, you still have to work hard during these events to ensure your mobile site stays up because it may be the only access to your web site or application.
It’s worth noting that according to cloud monitoring company, Keynote Systems, most mobile news sites were able to stay up and running to a remarkable degree during the storm. “Leading fixed and mobile news websites performed admirably on Thursday and Friday before Hurricane Irene made landfall, and continued to perform well on Saturday and Sunday in both page download speed and overall reliability,” Dan Berkowitz, senior director of corporate communications at Keynote said.
When a disaster strikes, you can be almost certain of some service disruptions. This could be as a result of power outages near your data centers, or in the case of cell tower networks, wind or tree damage to the cell towers themselves (or issues in individual user’s areas).
As a network administrator, there’s not a lot you can do to prevent these types of disasters from adversely affecting your user base when these broad issues affect your networks, but if you are experiencing more intermittent disruptions, you still need to be on the ball and looking for root causes. Don’t always assume the storm is the cause because there may be other factors in play.
Regardless of the cause, during a weather event or other natural disaster people rely on mobile sites on the cell network more than ever, especially if there are widespread electricity outages. And they want to know why you’re not up (even if they sense the reason is the storm).
According to a PCMag.com article, all four major cell phone service providers said they prepared for the hurricane by adding fuel to their backup batteries to ensure to the extent possible that they could stay in service.
As network administrators and IT pros, you should be paying attention to how these large networks respond to disasters like this. Sometimes it’s about an ounce of prevention, making sure you are prepared, rather than monitoring the situation as it happens and tracking down the issues.
There are certain to be plenty of those too during a storm or other crisis, but if you can be as prepared as possible, you might be able to limit the disruption to your users.
And that should be your goal during an event like Irene: to minimize the impact of the storm to the extent possible.