Lightning Obliterated (Less Than 0.000001% of) Google's Cloud Data

By Gary Cutlack on at

A power outage triggered by a lightning strike had a negative effect on one of Google's EU data centres, somehow managing to cause the firm to lose some of the data it manages in physical farms connected to the cloud.

The outage caused problems with the tech giant's Google Compute Engine persistent disks in one Belgian data warehouse, causing users to see connectivity errors and forcing staff to attempt recovery -- and some data not coming back at all. Google explained:

"...four successive lightning strikes on the local utilities grid that powers our European datacenter caused a brief loss of power to storage systems which host disk capacity for GCE instances in the europe-west1-b zone. Although automatic auxiliary systems restored power quickly, and the storage systems are designed with battery backup, some recently written data was located on storage systems which were more susceptible to power failure from extended or repeated battery drain."

As anyone who's ever wondered what might happen if you switch off your computer when it tells you not to switch it off will know, some recently cached data in the process of being written was not saved to the longer term storage drives -- resulting in some "permanent data loss" being suffered. [Google via BBC]

Image credit: Lightning from Shutterstock