Amazon’s Web Service was temporarily disrupted this week when a data centre in Dublin was struck by lightening, causing a break in service to parts of America’s East Coast and shutting down a number of sites including Netflix, Reddit and Foursquare.
European services were also disrupted but the cloud service was restored quickly after a half hour break. However, the incident was reminiscent of a similar disaster suffered by the organisation in April which lasted for two days.
A spokesperson for Amazon released a statement to reassure users that the outage was nothing more than a freak accident: “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. Restoring these volumes requires that we make an extra copy of all data, which has consumed most spare capacity and slowed our recovery process. We’ve been able to restore EC2 instances without attached EBS volumes, as well as some EC2 instances with attached EBS volumes. We are in the process of installing additional capacity in order to support this process both by adding available capacity currently onsite and by moving capacity from other availability zones to the affected zone.
“Normally, upon dropping the utility power provided by the transformer, electrical load would be seamlessly picked up by backup generators…The transient electric deviation caused by the explosion was large enough that it propagated to a portion of the phase control system that synchronises the backup generator plant, disabling some of them,” it stated.
The outage was quick to trend on Twitters with users questioning the safety of data hosted in the cloud in the event of similar disruptions.