Lightning strike in Dublin downs Amazon, Microsoft clouds

The incident took a turn for the worse when some backup generators didn't start as planned

A lightening strike in Dublin on Sunday caused a power failure in data centers belonging to Amazon and Microsoft, causing the companies' cloud services to go offline.

Lightening struck a transformer, sparking an explosion and fire which caused the power outage at 10:41 AM PDT, according to preliminary information, Amazon wrote on its Service Health Dashboard. Under normal circumstances, backup generators would seamlessly kick in, but the explosion also managed to knock out some of those generators.

By 1:56 PM PDT, power to the majority of network devices had been restored, allowing Amazon to focus on bringing EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) instances and EBS (Elastic Block Storage) volumes back online. But progress was slower than expected, Amazon said a couple of hours later.

"We know many of you are anxiously waiting for your instances and volumes to become available, and we want to give you more detail on why the recovery of the remaining instances and volumes is taking so long," the company wrote at 11:04 PM PDT. "Due to the scale of the power disruption, a large number of EBS servers lost power and require manual operations before volumes can be restored ... While many volumes will be restored over the next several hours, we anticipate that it will take 24-48 hours until the process is completed."

To speed up the recovery process, Amazon started adding more EBS capacity. European customers of Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Standard Suite were also affected by the power outage. But services were restored to all customers by 5:45 PM PDT, a spokesman said via e-mail.

Dutch company Layar, whose augmented reality platform has been running on Amazon's cloud for the last 18 months, was one of the affected companies.

"I've been continuously following #AWS on Twitter and looking at our AWS dashboards to see the progress. It's frustrating. There's nothing you can do except wait," Dirk Groten, CTO at Layar, said in a blog posted at about midnight between Sunday and Monday local time.

In an interview on Monday morning local time, Groten said his company's service was up and running again and that he is still a believer in cloud services. Any data center can experience an outage following a power failure, he said.

It was clear that Amazon was working hard to restore services, but the information the company provided didn't always match with what Layar was seeing at its end, according to Groten. Layar is now waiting for Amazon to publish a final report on the incident, which should include what it plans to do in the future to prevent something similar from happening again, Groten said.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cloud computingMicrosoftinternetweb servicesAmazon Web ServicesSoftware as a serviceInfrastructure services

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?