Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wish You had a Surge Supressor?

Computers are inexpensive these days, but they are not so cheap that forgetting to protect your computer with a surge suppressor is a good idea. Take the example of the Nebraska BMV, who tried to go live yesterday with a new $2.9 Million data system that was taken offline completely by a power surge caused by a mylar balloon hitting a power line:

Mylar balloons, the kind that cost about $5, might have been the party poopers that ruined Monday's launch of the state's new multimillion-dollar driver's license system. -- Paul Hammel - Omaha.com

The result: the BMV went down hard and will not be back online until Wednesday. With no manual processes to back up the computers, that means that if you live in Nebraska and your license is about to expire, you are basically out of luck. It also means the vendor that leased the system to the state (and 30 others), L-1 Identity Solutions and the Nebraska department of Administration have some explaining to do. Even though they had battery backup (a UPS), they forgot to condition the power upstream from the UPS.

The moral of the story: surge suppressors are still relevant.

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