Machine Zone cites substandard cabling architecture, improper fiber management in lawsuit against Peak Hosting

July 6, 2016
Plaintiff says that attempts to remediate the cabling installation could put its operations ‘at risk for catastrophic failure.’

In a legal flap that includes claims and counter-claims, game developer Machine Zone Inc. has accused data storage vendor Peak Hosting of improper fiber cabling management and other best-practice failures in a data center. The dispute stems from an outage to Machine Zone’s Game of War and that company’s subsequent cancellation of its contract with Peak.

Peak Hosting filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June after it lost a $4-million-per-month data hosting contract with Machine Zone, which also develops the game Mobile Strike.

On Law360.com, reporter Martin O’Sullivan said, “According to [Peak Hosting attorney Timothy] Conway, Machine Zone agreed that it would honor the monthly payments through October 2017, even if it chose to terminate the contract. In October, a third-party software bug caused Peak’s network to crash, resulting in a ‘Game of War’ blackout lasting more than two hours, Conway said. Machine Zone backed out of its contract with Peak the next day, despite language in the agreement that said a third-party bug was not grounds for termination, according to Conway.”

Reporting for The Oregonian/Oregon Live, Mike Rogoway explained, “The two sides are fighting in a California courtroom over $100 million Peak says Machine Zone owes it and counterclaims from Machine Zone.” Rogoway cited a statement by Machine Zone deputy general counsel Tracy Tosh Lane that said the company has $23 million in claims against Peak. He quoted Tosh Lane as follows: “After experiencing frequent outages, MZ visited Peak to investigate and found a data center riddled with scattered cardboard boxes and tangled cords. Peak’s contract to keep our game up and running was a scam that harmed MZ’s business. That’s why we ran as far as we could from Peak, and that’s why we sued them for damages.”

Oregon Live has online a copy of the complaint Machine Zone filed against Peak Hosting in November 2015. In that complaint, the plaintiff states that during an audit of a Peak Hosting data center, it “discovered and documented that Peak’s cabling architecture was far below industry standards and posed risk to Machine Zone’s operations. Cabling architectures provide the basic the infrastructure foundation for data center networks, and Machine Zone recommended that Peak use fiber troughs to house delicate fibers. While Peak utilized troughs initially, they later not only piled cables on top of one another, but there was no care taken to avoid bending delicate fibers that require no less than a 90-degree bend. Certain of these fibers are made of glass and must be handled accordingly. Otherwise, the integrity of the cables is jeopardized … Despite the fact that cables were wrapped around steel poles and bent at unacceptable angles, which are not acceptable for fiber optic cables, Peak’s failure to use industry minimum standards for its data center operations continue to put Machine Zone’s systems at risk because any remediation of Peak’s improper installation would put Machine Zone’s live operations at risk for catastrophic failure.”

The photos on this page are taken form Machine Zone’s legal filing.

Law360’s O’Sullivan reported, “Peak has reduced its workforce from about 185 to 54 people in the past five months and has closed seven data centers.”

You can access Machine Zone’s legal complaint against Peak Hosting, via the Oregon Live website, here.

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