Google’s Fiber Shot Down…Literally

Too many people here in the San Francisco/Silicon Valley have a distorted view of the country. With friends and neighbors working for tech giants and just about everyone slinging a smartphone, it’s easy to forget about technology challenges outside of the area. Take for example Google’s datacenter up north in Oregon. Vijay Gill, Google’s network engineering manager, spoke at a conference and explained that it’s a challenge to keep its fiber optics line in tact.

When Oregonians are out hunting, shooting at electrical insulators is a side sport. They often end up hitting Google’s precious fiber lines that connect the $600 million datacenter to the rest of the world. Fixing fiber in the middle of wilderness during winter is no easy task. A Caterpillar tractor or helicopter has to be sent in to repair the lines every time they’re shot down. One shooting occurred during a snowstorm that prevented vehicles from reaching the area. Technicians had to cross-country ski for three days in the storm to repair the lines.

These are challenges to cloud computing and mobile services that techies that live near me  would probably never think about. A good chunk of the U.S. population (including me) owns firearms, but there are more Apple stores (three) than gun shops (one) in San Francisco. People that work at big tech companies around here can be pretty insulated from the outdoors and the rest of the country. It’s stories like these that remind us that not everybody lives and breathes in front of a computer monitor.

via ITNews Australia

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