Back-up power fails as lights go out at Ice

The exchange’s primary data centre in Chicago lost power at 10:30am local time (4:30pm GMT), shutting down trading in oil and gas as well as coffee, sugar and other agricultural futures and options, leaving all orders temporarily suspended.

Ice has confirmed that the outage was localised to the data centre itself, with no other businesses in the local vicinity affected. Commodities and energy trading was not able to resume until 2:00pm.

Ice is currently trying to establish not only the cause of the power loss, but also why the data centre’s back-up power systems failed to kick in once primary power was lost.

“There is a back-up power system but the situation that occurred yesterday also knocked out the back-up capability. For safety reasons, both primary and back-up power sources can be knocked out in an emergency situation, such as in the event of a fire in the facility. That’s the way the system is designed, so although yesterday there was no emergency, the system behaved like there was one,” explained Ice spokesperson Sarah Stashak.

Stashak confirmed that an investigation is under way to discern why the system went into an emergency shutdown but stressed that a repeat of yesterday’s outage is unlikely.

“It was a very fluke situation that was not within Ice’s control but it is something we are investigating and we are looking to put measures into place so it cannot happen again in future.”

See also:

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