"This will be worth the read." A Reddit poster recently posted the details of a PoE (Power over Ethernet) fault caused by lightning.
It wasn't your usual outage, though. When inspecting the server room, the user found that a window was shattered and that lightning had taken chunks out of the sidewalk outside. Thankfully, only an HPE Aruba switch was damaged.
The Redditor, who goes under the name of 'blboyd,' provides a bit of context at the start of the post. Despite strong lightning and storm condition in South East Texas caused by Tropical Storm Imelda, the IT worker's servers held out pretty well.
"I'm down here in SE Texas north of Houston, and we just had Tropical Storm Imelda make landfall. Our buildings and campus held up well and only had power blink once or twice, and my UPSs held everything up perfectly."
The concrete outside the server rooms, however, suffered a crueler fate.
The poster details how a PoE fault led to the discovery:
"At 5:20 AM on Thursday, I get a POE fault on one of my HP/Aruba switches which causes me to loose all POE devices (VOIP Phones/Cameras). The switches continues passing traffic and acts like nothing is wrong - it just won't power any POE devices."
Blowing chunks of concrete
This led the Redditor to investigate, leading him to find out that the issue was caused by "tons of lightning:"
"The next room over from my server room has a large double-pane window, and the outside pane was shattered when we finally got back on campus. I start digging through camera footage from my cameras that were unaffected on campus.
"Tons and tons of lightning but the lightning that struck at 5:20 AM caused a huge distortion and interference on all of the camera feeds."
"We're out walking around the outside of the building and notice huge chunks of our sidewalk missing. Turns out we took a lightning strike about 20ft outside my server room on the sidewalk."
"It ran down the rebar in the sidewalk blowing chunks of concrete out. Found a small piece on the window sill."
"The hand of Zeus."
Other Redditors replied with incredulity, or advice on grounding electronic devices.
One poster claimed this was the "hand of Zeus" at work, saying they had never seen a lightning strike do such a thing. Another suggested it could have been a positively charged lightning storm — these are much stronger than more common negatively charged storms.
Either way, we're glad no one got hurt and that only one Aruba switch was affected.