It’s not just your disks, file systems, backups, and redundant servers that you need to worry about these days. The infrastructure that powers, cools, and makes them accessible is at risk. While this isn’t something you’re likely to find yourself thinking about or even reading about very often, the risk is very real and worth considering. The danger that I’m referring to is called “EMP” and it just happens to be one of the greatest threats to data centers today — and that’s just a start.

EMP stands for “electromagnetic pulse”. What it entails is a short burst of electromagnetic energy that can be damaging to — if not destructive of — electronic equipment. In fact, the quick and intense nature of an electromagnetic pulse is what makes it particularly powerful and dangerous. Not all forms of EMP will take down electronic equipment. Some are mild and relatively inconsequential — like lightning and electrostatic discharge — while others can have devastating consequences. Some are natural. Some are man-made. And some pose threats to the electrical grid that could leave large portions of the country experiencing lengthy electrical shutdowns if an EMP strike of sufficient magnitude were launched.

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