Downtime Attacks South Park Studios

Downtime Attacks South Park Studios

December 6

Your potty-mouthed friends Cartman, Stan, and Butters didn’t show up to class last December, owing in no small part to a little foe we in the IT industry know all too well about: power outage.

BBC news reported in October that Los Angeles-based South Park Studios suddenly lost power to all of its computer systems. The power loss stopped them from finishing an episode of the animated comedy South Park that was set to air the following day. The power to the building was reportedly cut, halting production for three hours. The staff wasn’t able to finish the episode in time and was instead forced to air a repeat of an older episode.

Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park famously produce their episodes from start to finish in just six days in order to keep them fresh and up-to-date on current events, a practice which has never been an issue for thirteen years. The creators, however, knew it was only a matter of time before they’d miss a deadline, “After all these years of tempting fate by delivering the show last minute, I guess it was bound to happen,” says co-creator Trey Parker.

Oddly enough, a production studio whose 17th season premier gained 4.3 million viewers across three broadcasts doesn’t have backup power. Their lack of planning caused disappointment in hundreds of thousands of fans who had intended to watch the latest episode. Sure South Park Studios isn’t your conventional business, but ultimately, they do have customers to please– millions of them.

An issue like this could easily be there result of some kind of computer failure, but instead it was a simple utility, and one that most people rely on daily. It’s easy enough to plan on hardware failures by taking backups, but as we explored in our ebook “Making Disaster Recovery Easy,” people often overlook things like utilities when they’re planning to thwart downtime.

A couple of backup generators or alternate power systems are all South Park Studios would’ve needed to prevent this one week delay in broadcasting the latest episode. Of course, this is all easy to think about after the fact, a concept South Park Studios (ironically) brought up a few years back when they created a character called “Captain Hindsight.” Watch this clip to see what I mean:

Captain Hindsight has the amazing super power of hindsight, which is effectively useless because anybody can see what should have happened during a disaster after that disaster has already happened. We all have blind spots, which makes creating plans for disaster a little bit difficult. If you’re smart, your super power can be foresight, and you can prepare for any issue that comes toward your business, whether it’s a power outage, flood, tornado, or whatever.

Whoever makes sure South Park Studios stays up and running probably feels a lot like Captain Hindsight after this blunder, but you don’t have to.

Don’t be a “Captain Hindsight.” plan for disaster now, not when it’s too late. Learn more about the Recover-Ability Solution to find out how to keep downtime from being your next disaster.

Photo Credit: abusx via Compfight cc