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University of Twente NOC Destroyed 483

JanJoost writes "Around 08.00 CET today the University of Twente Network Operations Center, which amongst other things hosts a SURFnet PoP as well as and, caught fire. The UT, which hosted the HAL in august last year is completely unreachable and is not likely to come back up any time soon. The fire department has given up every hope on protecting the server area and is now trying to protect the surrounding buildings. More information can be found at the Telegraaf, Planet Internet and Twentsche Courant. Pictures can be found here and here. It's a shame to see a great infrastructure go down in flames like this."
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University of Twente NOC Destroyed

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  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by Strike ( 220532 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:06AM (#4714523)
    From debian-devel, here []'s a slightly (only slightly) more informative blurb
    • That in the next year, most new OS documenation and projects will have several URLs built in for all online stuff (gentoo's Portage; TLDP; having a sourceforge page and a mirror, for example).

      OS people learn quickly from mistakes like this.

      • Re:I predict... (Score:3, Informative)

        by gmack ( 197796 )
        I predict they will use their backups and repoint the URL to another location.

        It's not as if the debian project didn't have the domain properly setup with 3 diffrent nameservers in 3 completely different locations.

        They may even have a working mirror...
    • Re:More info (Score:5, Informative)

      by Stonehead ( 87327 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:21AM (#4714617)
      Hey, I posted that to debian-devel. Scary to see it get Slashdot headlines, since this posting [] from Wichert Akkerman himself is more 'official'.
      He's now probably busy setting up as the next host. Don't get yourself trojaned, please people, don't panic and just wait for the official Debian announcement that everything has been fixed again. Or play around with inofficial mirrors like [] these [], and there are more. But I feel a bit stupid myself, because - unlike Wichert - I have done nothing myself except forwarding the news and act like a karma whore.
  • Well Damn... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jhines0042 ( 184217 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:06AM (#4714525) Journal
    ... I hope nobody was hurt.

    After that, I wish them luck getting back online.
    • I hope nobody was hurt.
      All news reports say people were evacuated in time from the building and nobody got hurt.

      Funny, I was in this building a few times during the buildup and cleanup of HAL2001 []. Feels strange now.

  • Photo's (Score:5, Informative)

    by fearlezz ( 594718 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:06AM (#4714527) Homepage
    More images can be found on
  • Capacity usage of the world largest interconnection lines roughly halved today.

    The cause of this is thought to be a steadily decline in warez/divx/mp3 traffic. The underlying reason for that is still unknown.
  • by ravidew ( 456067 ) <david AT roux DOT family> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:08AM (#4714538) see how this could be prevented in the future. How much fire protection do NOCs owned by the big boys (Verio, WorldCom) have? Offsite backups, too, I hope?
    • After 911 all the big techfirms created DRA's (disaster recovery area's) in case anything major happened.

      I had no less than 1000 companies call asking how to handle licensing and DRA's.

      I'd be surprised if they didn't have one, it's pretty much standard practice comercially....

      Yo Grark

      - Canadian Bred with American Buttering
    • by rleyton ( 14248 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:19AM (#4714603) Homepage
      Whilst I'm no expert in fire supression systems, I have studied a few data centres in my time as a Senior Sys Admin for a number of companies. Most (decent) NOC's have a fire *supression* system based on gas or (more likely these days) some form of liquid (gas has the nasty side-effect of potentially killing humans).

      These are for small fires that can be contained within a data centre, ie. a computer catching fire or emitting smoke. Really good systems are very localised (racks or cage specific). A big fire just isn't going to be stopped by such a system.

      I haven't read too much into this particular incident (ie. not at all), but my initial thought was that something more serious must have happened (well, duh!), perhaps a fire outside of the main suppression system (outside of the raised floor area?). Or perhaps the paint on the walls/carpet wasn't fire resistant and just took hold very quickly.

      Or a large initial fire (gas leak?) that just didn't die down when the supression system kicked in. Maybe the type of fire (again, gas? oil?) didn't die down because Data Center supression systems presumably focus on electrical fires.

      A well, just my 2p's worth.
      • NOC's have a fire *supression* system based on gas or (more likely these days) some form of liquid (gas has the nasty side-effect of potentially killing humans).

        When I worked for DEC they actually had sprinkler systems in their data centers (I couldn't verify first hand that every data center had sprinkler, but I was told so).

        The reasoning was, that even if they was one big, bad, evil, wicked water damage in a data center, that the company considered this to be better then one killed employee by gas extuinguishing systems.

        That was in the early 90ties

    • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:19AM (#4714604) Homepage Journal
      Most NOCs I've been in have an oxygen-deprivation gas that's dispersed in the case of a fire (after a series of highly visible and audible warnings). The one I'm in right now seems to have gone the inexpensive (and arguably safer) way of a two-stage dry-pipe water sprinkler system where the pipes are usually dry (empty). In case of a smoke detection above a certain level, the pipes are "charged" (filled with water), and if the heat gets above a certain level, the sprinklers go off. Basically, the decision was made that if there's a fire, the equipment will probably need replacement anyway, so why not use sprinklers?

      Personally, I'm not too sure of this route. I can understand it, from an environmental and human-safety perspective (the gasses eat the ozone layer, and you *really* don't want to inhale stuff that ties up oxygen at those rates), but if it ever happens here, it's going to be an awfully hurried mess to get everything back up and running in a reasonable timespan, even if the fire is only a small one that doesn't destroy the building.
      • by AlphaInsight ( 140726 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:56AM (#4714811)
        Actually FM-200 and Inergen are the current replacements for Halon. Non Ozone-depleting and won't kill you if you're trapped in a NOC. Just lowers the avaliable O2 in the air. You'll get out of breath easily, but as long as you stay calm you won't have to worry.
        • You'll get out of breath easily, but as long as you stay calm you won't have to worry

          And, as we all know, there's nothing more calming than being in a room that's on fire and having some funky gas poured into the room that makes it harder to breath
    • Offsite backups are one thing, but in a case of sheer devistation (such as this), it really doesen't help too much. They have to find a building, fiber, computers, cabling, everything to replace it. Backups, although an important part in the puzzle, are ultimately the last, centermost peices.

      After all is said and done, the U still has to deal with insurance companies, getting specs for colocated equipment, etc. It's not an easy process (if you've dealt with your insurance company not wanting to pay for a dent in your car, imagine telling them that the dent would cost millions to repair) and I doubt that they will be up and operational in less than 6 months.

      I just find it ironic that they put all of their fault-tolerant redundant systems in the same building, only to have it burn down. Distributed computing should mean more than just two computers sitting right next to each other.
  • Vunerability (Score:5, Interesting)

    by e8johan ( 605347 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:09AM (#4714543) Homepage Journal

    This shows the vunerability of putting all computers in one building. To have a safe network one needs to spread (duplicate) the information over several computer at several locations. How far apart these locations has to be is depending on how important you data is.

    It is a shame that a building hosting so many good initiatives should be the one to go, but as always: there is no excuse for not have a backup. By that I don't only mean that tape that always seems to go missing when needed, but multiple sites (or at least buildings) that provide redundancy.

    • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:38AM (#4714710)
      To have a safe network one needs to spread (duplicate) the information over several computer at several locations.

      What a stunning idea. Perhaps they should call it the internet... ;-)
    • Re:Vunerability (Score:4, Insightful)

      by coupland ( 160334 ) <> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:20AM (#4714941) Journal

      It is a shame that a building hosting so many good initiatives should be the one to go, but as always: there is no excuse for not have a backup.

      Uhhh, yes there is... I suspect you either know nothing about IT or are fresh out of college. DRP (disaster recovery planning) factors in things such as criticality of data, cost, and acceptable downtime. A university payroll system may need to be back up within 12 hours of a major incident, so in addition to tape backups you might have a failover site. Contrary to your simplistic post, even the richest corporations rarely have failover sites of their own. They simply contract out to a DRP vendor who have these types of machines lying dormant in a glass room, waiting to cut over. On the other hand a university FTP site is probably classified as low risk, low impact. So you would rely on off-site backup tapes and perhaps only restore when you've arranged for an alternate site and taken delivery of new servers. You don't pay millions of dollars to have two glass rooms just so you can have uninterrupted FTP service...

    • Re:Vunerability (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pellaeon ( 547513 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:34AM (#4715027) Homepage
      Try doing that on a university-wide multi-gigabit capable network on the budget of the average Dutch university. Our universities aren't like M$ in cash, you know. I know, I'm an admin at one myself.

      I just hope they're well insured....poor colleagues...

      On the upside: they may get a squeaky-clean start when this blows over :-)
  • A good reminder.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Martigan80 ( 305400 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:09AM (#4714545) Journal
    To never keep back-ups in the same physical location.
    • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:20AM (#4714608) Homepage
      Or even general location for that matter. A friend of mine did disaster recovery work for IBM after the Trade Towers attack. They had their data center in Tower 1 and their backup center in Tower 2. After six weeks of what was essentially scrabbling through rubble they managed to recover a single spindle. The company concerned became another statistic, and part of an important lesson in DR implementation; safety increases with distance.
      • Cantor Fitzgerald, the company hardest-hit in the attack with 700+ employees killed, had just that viewpoint. eSpeed, a subsidiary of CF, had all trading activities back up and running by the morning of Sept 13, due to the multiple locations and real-time backups being done on the network. My understanding is that the time from loss of connection with CF headquarters to full resumption of its trading activity around the world was about 46 hours.
      • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:39AM (#4714717) Homepage
        I mean seriously, each tower collapsed because it was hit by its own plane. If one tower had been in NY, one in California and both were still hit by a plane each, the result would be exactly the same.

        The lesson should be: Primary back-up is a very good start, but secondary/tertiary back-up is the thing if it's that critical.

        • Considering how several other buildings in the WTC were damaged or destroyed just from debris, I'd say that even if only one tower had fallen, there's a good chance everything in the second would have been trashed.

          Really, not having your backups in close proximity to the data center IS good policy.

        • No, you want two geographically diverse sites in case of natural disasters or other events that keep you from reaching (physically or electronically) one.

          I'm sure that there's been lots of study of this, but I suspect that a good distance is 1-2 hours drive. Far enough to avoid most of the impact from things like a big chunk of the city being shut down for weeks, close enough to get to (with some inconvenience) if necessary.

          In the Chicago area it might be something like downtown Chicago and Schaumburg, Naperville, Aurora or even Rockford (at the 2-hour mark).

        • Bullcrap. BOTH towers had been exposed as very vulnerable to ONE bomb in the underground parking garage long before. BOTH towers were connected to the same small pieces of the electrical, telecom, water, sewer, gas, etc. systems, and Chicago demonstrated the dangers of that a few year ago.

          The only [gag] good [retch] reasons to have the backup in the other tower are spelled "lazy" and "stupid".
    • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:46AM (#4714759) Journal
      To never keep back-ups in the same physical location.

      That's why I use Kazaa to keep backups of my pr0n all over the world!
  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:10AM (#4714551) Homepage Journal
    This is something I keep hearing from people, particularly those who balk at paying for upgrades to expensive fire suppression systems. "They're always built so well that there's never been a case of a server room destroyed by fire." I always did doubt that, and now whenever they tell me that, I can point to this.

    What a shame.
    • Yes, but did this server room have one of those fancy fire suppression systems? If so, yes, you can point to this an laugh. If it didn't, your friends that always say "Server rooms are never destroyed by fires because of their fire suppression systems." will have the last laugh.

      I.E. "See, if they would have had a fire suppression system, this would have never happened."

    • by Plutor ( 2994 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:35AM (#4714697) Homepage
      The fact that "The fire department has given up every hope on protecting the server area and is now trying to protect the surrounding buildings" leads me to believe that the fire didn't start in the server area. Lots of server rooms were destroyed on September 11, for example, but it wasn't the fault of the room's design, or the presence or lack of fire suppression systems. If the whole building is burning down, fire suppression in one room is only going to work until the floor and ceiling collapse.
  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:11AM (#4714558) Homepage
    The University of Twente's attempts to overclock the new AMD Opteron and Nvidia GeForceFX card in the same case are declared a failure. "We certainly won't be building a Beowolf cluster of these..." commented a spokesperson.
  • Maybe.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by jedie ( 546466 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:12AM (#4714564) Homepage
    Someone took "firewall" too seriously? :)
    (and this isn't *flame*bait :p)
  • Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by brianvan ( 42539 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:13AM (#4714567)
    Was anyone killed?

    If not, was anyone hurt?

    If not, do they have insurance?

    If they do... well, I'm sure someone just lost their masterpiece pr0n directory, but otherwise, things like this happen. (ask Hemos) You have to make it through such things. In this case, it was a commercial (educational) building and no one is homeless, so it's less of a tragedy than usual. Let's hope that they rebuild with something better and newer.

    That said, I get the feeling that those plumes of smoke really are millions of dollars floating away in the wind...
    • Re:Priorities (Score:5, Informative)

      by bzzzt ( 313005 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:25AM (#4714641)
      No, no and no.

      The university doesn't insure itself agains this kind of disaster because they are able to set aside enough money to cover the cost themselves and don't have to pay the insurer's profit.

      Now how they are going to deal with this and their financial troubles (they're almost broke) is another issue...
  • by ahu ( 4707 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:13AM (#4714572) Homepage 3613: Nov 20 07:20:50.927 UTC: %ENV_MON-2-TEMP: Hotpoint temp sensor(slot 18) temperature has reached WARNING level at 61(C)

    few seconds later on the local side: 1146: Nov 20 07:20:56.458 UTC: %CLNS-5-ADJCHANGE: ISIS: Adjacency to ar5.enschede1 (POS2/0) Down, interface deleted(non-iih)
  • ... got backups. Only fools ditch the backup procedure!

    If the actually have backups it's only a matter of money/time before sites will be up'n'running again.
    • I imagine they were well-insured. On the greed side of things, some major server company is going to report a small spike in Q4/02 server sales in Europe.

      "Hi, we need a quote for a few hundred new servers and a couple dozen new routers and switches. Oh, and we need them *now*. Hello? Hello...? Dammit! Another sales rep fainted!"
  • Halon dumps? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:15AM (#4714581) Journal
    The last time I worked in a NOC, it ran Vaxes, but we had a halon dump. A Big Red Button that got smacked by the last person out of the room. The halon would smother any fire by replacing all the oxygen in the room (which was why the last guy out hit the button). Why wasn't there a halon dump in this NOC? Or, if there was one, what happened?

    I hope Debian practices good management principles by having offsite backup.

    • The blurbs imply ("The fire department has given up every hope on protecting the server area") that the fire originated elsewhere and spread -- fire supression systems are good for fires that start in server rooms, but if somebody puts tinfoil in the microwave next door, the fire may be just too big by the time it gets to the server room.
    • by earthy ( 11491 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:26AM (#4714653)
      The fire did not start in the server rooms. What happened was that a fire started in one of the lecture rooms (and a smallish one at that, number A108) that just happened to be in the same wing of the TWRC building that also housed the server rooms (yes, multiple). It then proceeded to take out two entire wings and threaten other buildings nearby as well as the library.

      Now, I would *love* to see a halon system capable of stopping that...

      Owh, and the fire seems to be under control by now, as evidenced on
      (which you can contrast to (taken at about 09:40 CET this morning)).
    • Re:Halon dumps? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by lamj ( 153635 )
      Halon DO NOT replace oxygen in the room to extinguish the fire. It breaks the chain reaction of fire, basically stop the elements of fire to react with each other.

      Most scenario would only require a less than 8% of concentration to take out the fire. Under 10% and you can still breath.

      Problem of Halon is when over 900 degree C, it breaks down into hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen bromide and bromine - stuff that are toxic. So, run!
  • by lemmen ( 48986 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:17AM (#4714594) Homepage
    In case one might be interested, Essent mirrored

    You can use to download the latest security updates (in case you haven't already). Please note this is NOT an official mirror.
    • by novakreo ( 598689 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:33AM (#4714687) Homepage

      Actually, Debian security updates are usually also added to the proposed-updates section, which means that they are available on nearly all Debian mirrors worldwide.

      Something like
      deb proposed-updates main contrib non-free
      deb proposed-updates/non-US main contrib non-free

      (replace XX with your ISO country code) in your /etc/apt/sources.list should work well.

      You can find mirrors on Debian []'s website.

    • I don't want to besmirch Essent or anyone else, but please don't install security-critical software from a mirror some guy posted on Slashdot. apt-get doesn't check signatures, so if you put a compromised or malicious mirror in your sources.list, it's game over.

      Debian haven't released a security advisory since yesterday, so it's deeply unlikely you'll need an update before they get a new online tomorrow.

  • by matija ( 27014 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:17AM (#4714595) Homepage
    Who posted a link to UT's webserver on slashdot?
  • by CuriousGeorge113 ( 47122 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:17AM (#4714596) Homepage
    Here's some statics taken from their webcam. Someone might want to mirror these before they get slash'd. Webcam PicsPics []

    Also, here's what seems to be the only close up I could find of the fire. pics []

  • Oh Dear.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zech Harvey ( 604609 )

    Is there anything that could cause this naturally? I mean, judging from the pictures it looked fairly large and out of control...I hope no one caused this purposefully. I've never had to deal with a catastrophe like this, luckily...I send my best wishes of luck and hope to those involved and pray no one got hurt. =(
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:21AM (#4714616) Journal
    Lets hope the place didnt look like this beforehand:

    Dangerous server rooms []

  • by mdav ( 627832 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:24AM (#4714633)
    Here's an update from SARA (that's where I work), the network operator for SURFnet. SURFnet is very busy ordering new equipment and fixing the 2 x 10 Gbit/s lamda's to Enschede. We hope to restore connectivity a.s.a.p. Greetings, Marco
  • by micaiah ( 593598 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:24AM (#4714637)
    "Witnesses saw a large balding man monkey dancing from the scene and a slim geeky man with glasses trailing behind continuously adjusting his glasses." An in other news....
  • by decarelbitter ( 559973 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:25AM (#4714643)
    The Dutch LFS [] FTP mirror was also hosted at the University of Twente, which means it's also down. The Dutch HTTP mirror should work properly, since it's outside space.
    Last news is that HP (Who supplied most of the UT backbone equipment) is on its way with emergency equipment to have things up and running somewhere tomorrow.
  • Time to find out if their disaster recovery procedures work... There'll be a heck of a lot of running around trying to get some kind of infrastructure back in place now, I'd imagine.
  • by Erik_ ( 183203 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:30AM (#4714673)
    I believe, the open and distributed network of (distibuted network of PGP keyservers) was hosted by SURFNet. This network is a distributed network holding PGP and OpenPGP keys. The loss the to UT NOC could have an impact on the updating of key-rings across the network.
  • BACKUP!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beliskner ( 566513 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:37AM (#4714707) Homepage
    Now we can find out how secure and hardened Debian really is. You are as good as your latest backup.
    BACKUPS BACKUPS BACKUPS Off-site! I've had enough of people who are talking about RAID-5 because 5TB tape drive arrays are too slow. Always keep your BACKUPS!
  • by TeeWee ( 98278 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:38AM (#4714711) Journal
    [Apologies for the poor translation, no time for a better attempt]

    The burning building contains the IT department and a part of the faculty of Business Administration [Closest I could come up with: Bestuurskunde]. The building has three storeys.

    The university fears the loss of its network facilities and is trying to save the main computer. According to a spokesman this network is amongst the fastest in Europe. Most classes are expected to resume as normal today. [According to other sources, this is an exam week, meaning few classes anyway. This is also a reason that few students were around so chances were that this also reduced potential casualties]

    The fire department is fighting the fire with 25 firefighters and expects to need the entire day to extinguish the fire. No dangerous materials have been released by the fire at this point. At the moment nothing is known about the cause of this fire.
  • by ACK!! ( 10229 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:45AM (#4714752) Journal
    This brings to the forefront of my mind the fact my organization is currently devising disaster recovery plans for our new building.

    The NIH Computer Center Disaster Recovery Plan is available online somewhere in pdf format and provided a good deal of insite.

    Does anyone else have good hints on texts and outline for good disaster recovery plans?

    • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:02AM (#4714840) Journal
      The Gartner Group [] put some stuff up after 9/11. Most of it is common sense.

      Do full backups weekly, store copies offsite. Incremental backups daily, copies offsite also. If you can afford it (or can't afford any downtime), have emergency backup hardware (enough for minimal operations) in an offsite storage facility. Old hardware that would otherwise be thrown out is good for this (remember, it's for an emergency). Have a supplier who can get replacement hardware to you in a hurry (so you can get off of those old 90 MHz Pentium servers).

      The most vital part of the plan, after backups, is good insurance. If the building burns to the ground Monday morning, you want to be able to call the insurer Monday Noon, and have the check in hand Tuesday morning at the latest.

      These recommendations do not cover disasters such as 767s flying into the building and killing all the sysops. Earthquakes dropping the building on the same. Etc. The people are the most important part of any company and, if too many of them are lost at once, the company probably is lost too.

      Unless you have really good (and expensive)insurance which can provide enough funds for you to hire new people, get them trained, and keep the company solvent while you do so.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:48AM (#4714772)
    The fire started at 08:00 (i.e. in the morning). Since the students are preparing exams at the moment, there were hardly any students in the building. Several surrounding buildings were evacuated. In other words: nobody was injured. So far no dangerous substances were detected.

    There is a complete backup of the data, so no ireplaceable data-loss. Still, several tens of millions of euros worth of damage.

    An emergency network will be constructed, that will take several days. Please do not post a link to the new network on slashdot, the emergency solution will not have a very high capacity...

    The exams for today were mostly cancelled, internet and e-mail for students and teacher will be down untill the emergency network is in place.

    Kind regards,

    Maarten Sneep from Amsterdam

    PS. This is the same town that a few years ago was struck by a fireworks disaster. See [] for pictures.
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @09:52AM (#4714790)
    ... finally gets to make an appearance in earnest.

    'lp1 on fire'

  • Oops. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:09AM (#4714870) Homepage
    Maybe I shouldn't have released that code after all...

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • by StormCrow ( 10254 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:12AM (#4714890) Homepage
    Quote from debian-devel-announce

    At around 8 this morning (local time) a fire started in the computing facilities of Twente University. This affects Debian, since one of our servers (satie) is hosted there. At this moment it seems very likely that the machine can not be recovered from the fire.

    The following services are currently down as a result of this:

    We are working to restoring these services on another machine and hope to have things in mostly working order by tomorrow. Security advisories are still available at

  • by manual_overide ( 134872 ) <> on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:16AM (#4714911) Homepage Journal
    lp0 on fire!!!

    (sorry, couldn't help myself...)
  • Students! (Score:5, Funny)

    by flippet ( 582344 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @10:48AM (#4715111) Homepage
    The Register has a story [] about it. I like the paragraph at the end...

    Twente's high-speed network was originally constructed to provide students with access to high-speed Internet access for their studies. It soon became one of the major hubs for peer-to-peer exchange programs like KaZaA. This perceived misuse of Internet resources caused former Dutch education minister Loek Hermans to comment: "It would be nice if the students at Twente University would use their fast connections for information and education purposes, instead of downloading huge amounts of porn."

    Phil, just me

  • Sad (Score:5, Funny)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:14AM (#4715318) Homepage
    Maybe it was a flame war between students? Were they overclocking? The dangers of using FireWire. Were their harddrives Quantum Fireballs? (They are now) Is this what you get when you try to hot-swap them?

    Other sad jokes will no doubt follow.
  • translation.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by mikevdg ( 579538 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:30AM (#4715405)
    This is a translation from the telegraaf (which, btw, isn't the best newspaper in holland, but anyway..)

    "University network down from fire"

    "ENSCHEDE - A fire in the computing center from the university of Twente (UT) in Enschede has caused a few 10's of millions of euros damage on Wednesday.

    The fire, which broke out about 8:00am, has disabled the universities network. There were no injuries. The fire department has cleared out several buildings in the nearby facinity. The IT departments of the UT and a part of the business studies department were housed in the building where the fire broke out. The building was three stories high.

    The fire department fought the fire with several dozen people and estimated that they would need the whole day to get the fire under control. There are, until now, no dangerous substances released. The cause of the outbreak is not yet known.

    According to Van Vught, a backup of the network's data has been made. "All data have been safely stored". Because of exams, there were no classes at the time. There were also few students on the campus on wednesday. Exams on wednesday have been cancelled.

    Staff at the UT want to set up a temporary network, which can take several days. Thousands of staff and students can not make use of the campus network until a temporary network has been installed.

    One on-looking business studies student is shocked (?): "incredibly sad. It means that I can't do my assignments. Doubtless, a temporary building will need to be set-up to help the situation". The Saxion Polytechn in Enschede has made room available.

    The web-site from the Enschede city council is not available because of the fire. The council used the servers from the UT. The Saxion Polytech is also without internet access for the same reason."

    Okay, this translation is a wee-bit too literal, but it's understandable.

  • by Lethyos ( 408045 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @11:32AM (#4715414) Journal
    So wait, the University of Twente NOC caught fire. Why? Was there a story posted on Slashdot's front page that linked to a server at their location? Or was this fire caused by something other than a hardy slashdotting?
  • by 0x69 ( 580798 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @02:15PM (#4716983) Journal
    Our ISP bought an old legal office building for their HQ and colo facility. The place was built with file rooms to safeguard tons of irreplaceable paper documents - imagine thick concrete walls & ceilings, with heavy steel fire doors, rated to preserve the contents through an EVERYTHING-else-burned-to-the-ground fire.

    Critical stuff is spread between the file rooms, with metal conduit, etc. protecting the few small holes they added for wiring.

    Steel & reinforced concrete aren't quite obsolete.
  • by wichert ( 6157 ) on Wednesday November 20, 2002 @06:08PM (#4719214) Homepage
    Lots of people are helping to restore the lost network and computing facilities. People from XS4ALL drove from one side of the country to bring spare junipers and other equipment. The campus is already back online thanks to Virtu. Mail for student is being stored at a new backup MX server courtesy of Terena and

    Debian is restoring the lost services on klecker. At this moment is up and running and the non-US and security archives are available as well, although their backend systems have not been restored yet.

    Valuable lessons have been learned though: it is very useful to have machines on standby where you can switches services to when needed. Having backups of important data is also really useful (and we could have done a bit better at that. UTwente apparently has good off-site backups of its own data though). And having good insurance is also definitely useful.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!