Overheating shuts down Wikipedia data center

Many users were without access for more than an hour when a switchover to another facility failed.

Mar 25th, 2010

On Wednesday, March 24 an overheating problem at Wikipedia's European data center caused a temporary global shutdown of the online encyclopedia.

The Wikimedia Technical Blog explained that servers in the European data center shut themselves down in order to avoid damage from overheating. Once that happened the site moved all user traffic to its Florida data center; however once that happened it was discovered the failover mechanism in the Florida location that changes Domain Name System entries, was broken.

The blog added that the problem was resolved quickly, but many users could not access the site for more than an hour. It made no mention of efforts to control the heat in its European data center.

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