Last night, I was playing Words with Friends on my iPad with a half-dozen sprinkled from within a few feet to as far as 1,800 miles when suddenly the game wouldn't update. I checked every connection and reset every setting, before I giving up and calling tech support at my ISP.

The bad news? The ISP was experiencing a denial of service attack, and no one was guessing when service had been restored. Normally my provider, State Telephone, is very reliable. I never lost service when Tropical Storm Irene blew through and destroyed entire towns nearby and my lower lying neighbors, for instance. So this was serious. I felt disconnected, with only cable, telephone, and cellular service available.

Things got more serious this morning, when service had not been restored at 7:30 a.m., when I tried to log in at work. Now I was disconnected, as high-speed is as basic a tool to an editor working from a remote location as a hammer to a carpenter.

An intentional attack had done what Mother Nature couldn't do. Fortunately, StateTel managed to restore service by about 9:00 am. I could work and catch up on backlogged Words with Friends games.

My bad experience reminds me that facilities-IT partnerships are essential. In fact, Dan Skwire said, "I don’t see instances where there are conflicts between software problem solving and folks worried about the data-center’s power grid and its continual operations. I am aware of electrical-oriented products that follow software product examples of ‘monitoring’ for thresholds reached/not reached, followed by phone homes, etc.

Perhaps the worst conflicts are in various articles I see where root-cause charts of data-center outages are shown. And at the outset, perhaps there are disputes about ‘what causes data-centers’ to have outages!!! "

Skwire is the author of the book, “First Fault Software Problem Solving: A Guide for Engineers, Managers and Users," which aims to help data centers avoid downtime problems caused by software conflicts. It's an interesting read. I think Skwire is saying that both camps see each as irrelevant to the task at hand, rather than warring camps.

I felt similarly during a conversation today with Marvin Wheeler, chair of the Open Data Center Alliance (ODCA). The Open Data Center Alliance was formed in 2010 as a unique consortium of leading global IT organizations. It is led by a steering committee of senior IT executives from BMW, China Life, China Unicom, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Inc., National Australia Bank, Terremark, Disney Technology Solutions and Services, and UBS. Intel Corporation serves as the organization’s technical advisor. The ODCA came together to deliver a unified voice for emerging data center and cloud computing requirements. Our mission is to speed the migration to cloud computing by enabling the solution and service ecosystem to address IT requirements with the highest level of interoperability and standards.

I believe that this group can play a positive role in helping the industry avoid missteps in its inexorable move to the cloud, and the inclusion of a number of end users is a positive step.

Still, even Marvin had to admit that the lack of involvement of power and cooling infrastructure companies was a significant oversight, as the ODCA learned at a recent Intel developer's event. It would seem that early participants didn't see the significance of these key services.

To Marvin's credit, he promised to spend the next 30 days correcting this shortcoming and promised to keep me informed.

When will we learn, facilities and IT are inextricably bound together, and a failure on either part means downtime for the customer, as the denial of service attack on StateTel reminded me last night.