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Govt sites down as load-shedding knocks out SITA data centre

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The State IT Agency (SITA) has revealed its network is down, impacting the availability of a “few” government department Web sites that it hosts.

SITA says this is the result of an incident at around 2am this morning when the municipal power feed to its Centurion building was lost, causing its data centre to go offline.

The agency goes on to say its data centres contain a high concentration of high impact systems that support public services.

SITA hosts everything from large processing computing environments to legacy equipment on behalf of government departments and the public sector.

Its complex and highly secure facilities are built with multiple layers of redundancy to ensure that its services are continuous and sustainable, it says.

“The affected data centre in Centurion does not house all of SITA’s systems and only some of the equipment has been impacted. SITA apologises and would like to assure South Africa that it is managing the situation and doing everything in its power to find the most effective and efficient solution to restore service delivery.”

Attempts to access SITA-hosted sites like the Department of Public Service and Administration, the City of Tshwane and Department of Public Works have been unsuccessful.

According to SITA, its back-up generators were functioning, but a fault was experienced on the static circuit breakers that are highly sensitive to voltage irregularities. The agency’s engineers are said to be repairing the static breakers and have put an alternative solution in place.

“SITA is cautiously enabling select equipment and its systems and networks will be back to full functionality once it is verified that the electrical feeds are stable.

“SITA has been severely affected by the electricity outages and sustained periods of unprecedented load-shedding. The ongoing load-shedding, with the consequential voltage fluctuations, has placed excessive and undue strain on the electrical and mechanical equipment. The continuous days of rolling blackouts have had a very negative effect on services in the ICT sector, given the complex and sensitive nature of the equipment, particularly in data centres.”

This past week has seen Eskom continue to roll-out blackouts, briefly introducing stage six load-shedding for the first time in the country. This year also marks 12 years since the embattled power utility introduced load-shedding, making power cuts part of daily lives for South Africans.

Today, Eskom announced stage 2 rotational load-shedding will be implemented from 9am until 11pm. 

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