Substation blast offers powerful lesson

Vehicle Testing NZ learnt a lesson in the need for power protection when a Dunedin substation blew up last weekend, knocking out the computer system in the company's South Dunedin centre.

Vehicle Testing NZ learnt a lesson in the need for power protection when a Dunedin substation blew up last weekend, knocking out the computer system in the company’s South Dunedin centre.

Senior vehicle inspector Steve Hunt says a power spike that followed the blast caused software configuration problems which took half a day to fix.

“It meant we couldn’t use the system for entering motor vehicle registration and warrant of fitness records,” Hunt says. “The whole system lost its configuration.”

The Friday night blast disrupted services on Saturday morning, one of the centre’s busiest periods.

“It’s difficult to quantify the cost,” Hunt says, but vehicle registrations can account for $2000 of business in a morning. The centre had to turn motorists away while its system was out of action.

Consultant Kevin Watson, of Logical Networks, who repaired the system, says power protection would have prevented the damage.

A systems consultant at Dunedin reseller Computerland, John Simpson, says the cost of power protection – as little as 2% of a typical server installation – is a small price to pay for avoiding such problems.

“We insist on it as a standard component of any server installation we do,” Simpson says.

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