Skip to comments.NSA's Utah Spy Supercenter Crippled By Power Surges
Posted on 10/08/2013 10:19:57 AM PDT by mojito
...[W]e ran a story in March 2012 which exposed the NSA's unprecedented domestic espionage project, codenamed Stellar Wind, and specifically the $1.4+ billion data center spy facility located in Bluffdale, Utah, which spans more than one million square feet, uses 65 megawatts of energy (enough to power a city of more than 20,000), and can store exabytes or even zettabytes of data (a zettabyte is 100 million times larger than all the printed material in the Library of Congress), consisting of every single electronic communication in the world, whether captured with a warrant or not. Yet despite all signs to the contrary, Uber-general Keith Alexander and his spy army are only human, and as the WSJ reports, the NSA's Bluffdale data center - whose interior may not be modeled for the bridge of the Starship Enterprise - has been hobbled by chronic electrical surges as a result of at least 10 electrical meltdowns in the past 13 months.
Such meltdowns have prevented the NSA from using computers at its new Utah data-storage center which then supposedly means that not every single US conversation using electronic media or airwaves in the past year has been saved for posterity and the amusement of the NSA's superspooks.
This being the NSA, of course, not even a blown fuse is quite the same as it would be in the normal world: "One project official described the electrical troublesso-called arc fault failuresas "a flash of lightning inside a 2-foot box." These failures create fiery explosions, melt metal and cause circuits to fail, the official said. The causes remain under investigation, and there is disagreement whether proposed fixes will work, according to officials and project documents. One Utah project official said the NSA planned this week to turn on some of its computers there."
(Excerpt) Read more at zerohedge.com ...
Power design in datacenters is pretty much settled science. Sounds like incompetence to me.
Probably their Wind Generators are bad!!!
Incompetent engineering... Check.
Or deniability. If any authority demands to know what data they are storing they can just say "the power surge ate it".
Apache Indian burial ground. Uh Oh!
Just kidding (Maybe)
Maybe we had some patriot electricians involved.
Love those Electrical Engineers out there in the West! Did they do it? To tell the truth ... impossible to know ... lol.
Oh and, "Hi , NSA!!!!"
that’s why you don’t hire illegals to build stuff LOL
Somehow tied into the Obamacare’s new website.
Hope the damn thing has a total meltdown - along with the idiots who designed it.
Crying semi-real tears here. May this spy facility be forever cursed.
Another failure in Oblabbas’ attempt to suck up all the power in the nation, OOPS
Total incompetence. Arc faults?! Those are COLOSSAL electrical failures. If you’ve never had the pleasure of being in a room when an arc fault occurs, count yourself lucky. The sound is deafening and you can feel the heat from 20 feet away. These are either deliberate sabotage events or complete incompetence on the part of the contractor. With automatic transfer switches, you have to wrench down the connectors with such torque that they make special wrenches to do just that. Any air gaps in a system carrying that much juice means instant death for anyone unlucky enough to be around when it arcs.
This is a poorly designed system all around, according to the WSJ article. They’re having cooling and generator systems issues? Having stood up 3 datacenters in my professional career, I can tell you that those sort of oversights would NOT be tolerated in the private sector. Those are career ending engineering oversights.
And I can personally tell you that if you can’t provide adequate cooling to a data center, you’re just asking for a hardware meltdown, esp. on the systems the NSA is purportedly using.
It's one or the other.
NSA gets the bug-ZAP!
Maybe somebody sprinkled holy water on the computers.
Payback for Stuxnet?
Never fear, the one in San Antonio took up the slack.
Good! Let’s pump enough power surge in there to have the whole place self destruct!
“....on Sept. 23, the contractors reported they had uncovered the “root cause” of the electrical failures, citing a “consensus” among 30 investigators, which didn’t include government officials. Their proposed solution was the same device they had already begun installing.”
Hmmm, you’ve found the “root cause” of the problem but the cause of the failures remain “unknown”?
Utah is also subject to dirty rains, where windstorms pick up tons of salt off of the west desert and then drop it against the mountains in rainstorms. The amount of salt in the rain causes substations to arc and shut down.
No doubt there are many in the NSA who love this country and its people, but let’s face it, government is no longer the friend or the servant of the American people.
Sounds like prayers answered. Too stupid to build a working data center that holds all our data.
Even 1984 used a meritocracy via exams so that the top 2% were the smartest.
Exactly. They are just incompetent or hired the people who designed Amazon’s VA data center.
THE FOURTH AMENDMENT MAKES THIS UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!!
Shut it down, turn it off forever.
This is a lie.
This is a problem that is solved by throwing money at it.
There is no shortage of money in the BlackOps program.
This article is some weird, thinly veiled (if it is veiled at all) propaganda planted story, though I don’t know for what purpose.
Appropriations Bill lobbying?
NSA attempting to buy the civilian regional electric company and power grid to maintain operational control?
False cover story to “replace” equipment that isn’t broken so they can use the old equipment for even blacker ops?
At this point in the decline in the democratic republic, why bother making any publicity, if not a false cover story for some nefarious deeds? No one would dare call the NSA out on it anyway, heck no one but a few thousand leeches in DC and the DoD/NSA power structure would even know it existed.
This is akin to the Iranians claiming to have only 300 centrifuges hidden in the Fordow mountain tunnels, while the satellite activity indicated well over 3000 centrifuge deliveries.
No one believed Tehran either.
Umm...arc faults in a data center? Suddenly carrying a cup of coffee into a raised-floor facility sort of pales into insignificance. I'd love to know how much gear was on line when it happened. I don't have to wonder what happened to that gear. Crispy critters.
I can only hope the NSA system was developed by the same nincompoops that designed and developed healthcare.gov. In that case, we are all home free.
Failures like this only bring on the fix to every govt problem:
I love this story.
For me the whole concept of digital privacy is a little like a keyhole, and this story fits PERFECTLY like a key into that keyhole.
Ya know what THAT means? This story is a LIE.
It’s a great post, but sorry, when it comes to news about this stuff and there are allegations of some kind of technical set-back, well, my feeling is that it’s a lie.
Especially with looming budget cuts they want our ire and concern to go away, and that is what this story does.
All people having anything to do with this topic on the government side lie, lie, lie.
Then they stack up more Bibles, swear on THAT stack, and you know what? They instantly go back to LYING.
“Oh man, those idiot dufuses —dufii?— had that huge mountain of cash and they STILL can’t get it right, yuck, yuck, yuck..!!!!”
Sorry, it’s just too perfect. So it’s a lie and the machine is humming along just fine. They’re robbing you of your digital privacy as you wait for red lights to turn green, and while you brew coffee, and while you sleep.
They’re doing FINE out there.
Hence, this looks like they brought in the power and then cheaped out on the distribution. It's stupid, reflecting directly the existence of mal-intent.
My thot exactly: chinese made lithium batteries. what could go wrong? The electric car charging stations are blowing?
Of course they're lying - they're the NSA.
The question is, what are they really lying about?
I'm aware of the gross levels government incompetence can take. But on a project like this, concerning such crucial fundamental design issues, that incompetence didn't happen over such a long-established engineering issue.
So what's left? Sabotage.
But by whom? It's not in the parts or design, because of the partial checking that takes place during construction. It's not a one-off 007, or that would be noted, too.
Yea, I was thinking the same thing.
The way they write it, it sounds so blase’. “Oh, the lights went off again. What a bother.”
To someone who has seen an arc fault in a three phase system... heh. It’s a whole ‘nuther level of incompetence. For the kind of power they’ve got plumbed into that outfit, I’m sure it is an experience that could make someone lose bladder control.
We had what is (to guys like you) a very minor arc-over in an irrigation pump panel (480V, 200amps) that vaporized about a cubic centimeter of copper from the contactor points - and it blew the door off the panel and out into the field.
I used to wonder “Why did they put all the controls on the edge of the cabinet instead of on the face?” If I’d been standing in front of that panel door to bump the start switch, I’d likely have been killed by that flying door. It tore out the locks, the safety interlock on the main switch and the four hinges. 12 gauge steel. Just torn apart, no problem, no hesitation.
BTW, post-shutdown examination of the panel interior showed a rattlesnake had crawled into the cabinet and gotten across the pump-side terminals on the 200A contactor. Hit the “go” switch, the snake’s middle section vaporized, but left a plasma arc in place that vaporized the copper. He must have come in from the other end of the conduit where it went to the pump motor, and came up alongside the 4-conductor 00 aluminum cables.
As for the cooling issues - whatcha wanna bet they’re the result of some environmental push in federal regs? Remember the good ol’ days when we had mainframes on raised floors, and the air pressure under the floor helped you pick up the floor tiles? Oh, that felt good on a hot day.
I read that as their initial report from summer could not identify any cause yet, but later by Sept they had and had already begun steps to fix it.
Shut them down.
We can find a more American and more patriotic way, I assure you.
Do not listen to those who say otherwise. They have become Fascists, one and all.