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Lightning Strike KOs Amazon, Microsoft EuroClouds

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the this-basket-of-eggs-is-highly-conductive dept.

Cloud 189

1sockchuck writes "A lightning strike has caused power outages at the major cloud computing data hubs for Amazon and Microsoft in Dublin, Ireland. The incident has caused downtime for many sites using Amazon's EC2 cloud computing platform and Microsoft's BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite)."

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So Cloud v Cloud.... (5, Funny)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018874)

...nature wins?

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (-1)

ELCouz (1338259) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018880)

woooosh!

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019754)

Actually, it's more like an earth-shattering BOOM.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (3, Funny)

Torinir (870836) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018886)

Flawless Victory!

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019276)

And with all eggs in one basket you can be sure to crack them all in one punch.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019294)

As Nelson would say, HAH-HAH!

As yo mama might say: NIGGERS!

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018986)

Sephiroth is rumored to have been stuck in the middle.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (3, Funny)

Trilkin (2042026) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019000)

There is bad fanfiction depicting this event. Lots of it.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019092)

On sale in the dark corners of comics shops all across Japan for 400 yen a copy.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019104)

...nature wins?

Sadly, not so true.

EC2 is set up so that you can move your instance quite simply to another availability zone such as America.

Leveraging the internet and routing around damage is one of the great strengths of "the cloud". If you had a server traditionally hosted in that datacenter you'd be quite screwed right now.

I dislike "the cloud" term as much as the next /.er but right now its working as intended.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (2)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019172)

US is not another availability zone -- it's a different region. There are multiple AZs per region and -- if Amazon is doing their job -- a lightning strike should not take down more than one AZ in a region.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019600)

I dislike "the cloud" term as much as the next /.er but right now its working as intended.

That seems to be true for Amazon; the outage is exactly what they documented in the case of the loss of a data centre. I'll give them (tentative) points for a job acceptably done*. You can't, however, say the same for Microsoft. They had a user visible application level outage for the loss of a single location. That's a screw up and clearly shows why you shouldn't trust anything "business critical" to just one cloud.

* we still don't have clarity about the physical separation between their generator and phase synchronisation system. I don't know if they could have saved themselves with a proper physical layout of their separated power supplies. Also we have no idea what caused the transformer to be struck instead of just some lightning protector.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019770)

You can't, however, say the same for Microsoft. They had a user visible application level outage for the loss of a single location. That's a screw up and clearly shows why you shouldn't trust anything "business critical" to just one cloud.

Don't you mean 'you shouldn't trust anything "business critical" to Microsoft'?

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019122)

Or Cloud v McCloud, depending on if there was a Quickening going down.

Re:So Cloud v Cloud.... (0)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019716)

At least spell it right... "MacLleod" not McCloud.

Lightning in the Cloud....go figure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019468)

I can see where that possibility went over their heads.

All I can say is...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37018888)

Shocking

BPOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37018892)

Did anyone vet that abbreviation before they launched it?

Just imitiating Verizon. (5, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018894)

I see how it is. Verizon workers go on strike, MSFT and Amazon gotta call in for something strike-related that's bigger and flashier. Show-offs.

My Sympathies (3, Insightful)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018896)

Considering that my radio stations have been getting hammered for weeks now by this horrible weather in the Southern United States, my sympathies are with them.

I don't care how much protection you put on your system (and when you have giant lightning rods that are hundreds of feet tall, like we do, you DO try to protect things), an occasional strike is going to slip through. When it does it can get ... messy. :)

Re:My Sympathies (2)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019084)

"When it does it can get ... messy. :)"

I'm often amazed at all the weird failures even when lightning doesn't hit directly and just induces currents.

Used to see long RS232 runs that woudn't fail instantly, but would act flakey soon after a near strike, and then take a day or two to fail completely.

Re:My Sympathies (5, Interesting)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019126)

I've been in the same spot. (10KW, 3 tower array). It's amazing how far the parts of a capacitor on a P&M panel can spread when propelled by a lightning strike.
Even with ball gaps, chokes, and all the other effort, ultimately the transmitter has to be connected to the tower. 50 ohms is not that much different than "the shortest path to ground" when you put a few thousand KV against it.

It took several years after my career change to enjoy the spectacle of a lightning storm

Re:My Sympathies (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019288)

And those 50 ohms aren't resistive ohms either, so the lightning just ignores them.

A lightning can be very powerful - a 2" steel tube can get disintegrated completely by it.

two words : Surge Protector (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37018902)

How do you set up a data center and NOT plan for something like this? lol

at that level the safety's tipped foreing a manual (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018994)

at that level the safety's tipped foreing a manual cut over to backup. Also Surge Protectors can't really take a direct lighting strike.

But any ways for the cloud to work you will need data centers all over the place for good lag and for back up. Now Dublin is good for not needing lot's of cooling but still you don't want to put all the severs in one area so other stuff like over seas data line cuts can't take down systems far away. If on side severs at least you can get some work done with no or a slow back up link to the out side.

Re:at that level the safety's tipped foreing a man (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019398)

Also Surge Protectors can't really take a direct lighting strike.

But lightning arrestors can. [iceradioproducts.com] A serious lightning arrestor is a spark gap (sometimes open air, sometimes in an inert gas) to ground, with a very heavy cable or busbar to multiple ground rods, and no sharp turns in the path to ground. This is followed up by an inductor which is a few turns of busbar. This gear is usually placed where power lines or antenna feeds enter a building. MOV-type protection is further downstream.

Antenna towers are struck by lightning frequently, and the associated radio gear routinely continues to operate. This isn't rocket science. It's big hunks of copper.

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, in their publication "The Locomotive" (they've been at this since 1867) has a good article on lightning protection. [google.com] Hartford Steam Boiler insures not only against boiler explosions, but things like downtime due to lightning strikes. But only after their inspectors (they have 1200) have visited the plant and are satisfied with the equipment.

A question to ask your "cloud" provider - who handles your business interruption insurance, and do they inspect your faclities?

Re:two words : Surge Protector (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019010)

Have you ever seen a surge protector after a direct strike? The MOVs don't help much once they vaporize.

A surge protector is mostly useful against the more common near misses.

Re:two words : Surge Protector (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019166)

Have you ever seen a surge protector after a direct strike? The MOVs don't help much once they vaporize.

It's amazing how many people who call themselves engineers don't get that surge suppressors are non-resettable.

"what do you mean the power supplies got destroyed. We've had surge suppressors in there for years..."

Re:two words : Surge Protector (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019224)

When you buy a surge protector, what you're really buying is that little insurance policy that you're supposed to fill out. That's it.

Re:two words : Surge Protector (1)

tpstigers (1075021) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019046)

Read the article. Please?

Ouch... (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018904)

I don't know a lot about EC2, but I believe they lose all data when they're powered down, unless special provisions are taken, don't they?

This could result in another series of fuckups like this [ycombinator.com] , where a bitcoin exchange lost its wallet.dat due to a misconfigured EC2 instance.

Re:Ouch... (1)

__Paul__ (1570) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018916)

(Clarification, by "they", I mean "EC2 instances")

Re:Ouch... (2)

lgarner (694957) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019320)

Yes. When an EC2 instance is "turned off" it's destroyed, along with any data- unless you're using an EBS volume (the special provision) which is persistent, or S3. Not to say that there couldn't be issues with the data on those either, in the face of an extremely sudden, unexpected shutdown. Shutting off an EC2 instance is equivalent to deleting a VMware VM. You then have to start a new one from a template (AMI).

The Cloud (3, Funny)

keithpreston (865880) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018914)

Sounds about like
http://xkcd.com/908/ [xkcd.com]

Re:The Cloud (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019116)

i dont get it, not really like that at all

Don't say I didn't warn you! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018918)

In my capacity as a Certified Solution Architect(tm), I often warned that The Cloud was suitable only for dynamic workloads. But did you listen? Oh, no, you just went and let your static workloads build up in the Cloud, increasing TCO and, now, bringing down Disaster on your heads!

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you! (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019054)

Dude, if you follow proper procedures then your EC2 instance is mirrored in another availability zone and is using multizone S3 replication. It's not cheap but it's available. If you were really a solutions architect you'd know this =)

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you! (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019140)

True enough. I was just trying to eke out a static + clouds = lighting joke.

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you! (1)

dwreid (966865) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019298)

Of course the reason for using cloud based platforms is that they are cheap. Now you tell me that if I want them to be reliable they're not cheap. Soooo.... why use the cloud again? Oh that's right... it's the new buzz word.

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you! (2)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019364)

Depends on your needs, if you need capacity only occasionally or have a workload where the peak is an order of magnitude or more from the base then it can make perfect sense to use a cloud provider, it's not like multisite replication and large amounts of bandwidth are cheap when you do them yourself.

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019706)

Weren't those the same zones that turned out to be hosted in the same facility? Or am I misremembering that.

Re:Don't say I didn't warn you! (1)

plover (150551) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019158)

In my capacity as a Certified Solution Architect(tm), I often warned that The Cloud was suitable only for dynamic workloads. But did you listen? Oh, no, you just went and let your static workloads build up in the Cloud, increasing TCO and, now, bringing down Disaster on your heads!

Let me see if I understand you. Static buildup in the clouds caused a sudden discharge redistributing the static to a different cloud with its own static buildup, which then failed to discharge its duties after being charged by the other cloud's discharge.

Bpos huh ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37018942)

for Bpos users - the change is probably not noticeable anyway.

YOU !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37018946)

Am I first ??

Cloud fail (5, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018948)

My understanding of the point of cloud computing was that it would be distributed. I.e. the failure of any one data or computing center would mean the data was still available. Hence, the term "cloud": nebulous, non-localized. Apparently, someone forgot to tell Microsoft and Amazon what the buzzwords they were using actually mean. I more or less expected that of M$, but the fact that Amazon failed too, well, thats pretty a little surprising. I guess it's kinda the norm for all large corporations.

Glancing at the article, it looks like this outage effected only a certain area, but still, cloud should mean other data centers would take over. I particularly love the quote "Dublin has become a key cloud computing gateway." If one city serves as a "gateway", its not a cloud system. I understand using it as one data center, but others should take over automatically for that area in case of a failure. If you don't have a failover system, you don't have a real cloud computing platform. You have a wannabe cloud computing platform. Or maybe they are just taking a buzzword and redefining it to suit their purposes. That's... exactly what we should expect, I suppose.

Or am I completely misunderstanding the meaning of this latest buzzword? It's quite possible, I never quite got down what "Web 2.0" was supposed to mean either. Beyond lots and lots of Flash.

Re:Cloud fail (4, Informative)

HTMLSpinnr (531389) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018982)

For EC2, it's only distributed if you pay to have your "service" running in more than one availability zone.

Re:Cloud fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019490)

But even that failed not long ago didn't it?

Re:Cloud fail (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019004)

As near as I could tell, Web 2.0 boiled down to one thing: The HTTP request object in javascript.

Where I work, people who are normally major control freaks are seemingly eager to let their processing and data storage go to The Cloud. It will be interesting to see how long The Cloud is down from this lightning strike. The control freaks don't like it when a company web app isn't accessible for even a few minutes, let alone an hour.

Re:Cloud fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019216)

Compared to under "the control" of a lot of very confused systems people, it's actually far superior to local administration. I've seen far too many confused systems people who've never actually worked with virtualization or providing systems monitoring who insist on inventing their own environments from scratch, and cause far too much chaos doing so.

In these cases, the ill trained local administrator who's busy clearing away the viruses on the boss's son's computer, or flushing the porn caches that people have been storing on the in-house storage because "disk is cheap", can work on the smaller local tasks and point the finger at someone outside the company for insisting on security policy, proper backup, or actually setting a realistic Service Level Agreeement.

Re:Cloud fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019020)

Distributed locations are only useful when one makes use of them. I assure you that Amazon has more than one datacenter in Dublin, and others in Europe. But if you're an EC2 client, you need to be willing to pay to make use of them.

Re:Cloud fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019028)

No, what you're completely misunderstanding is the event. Yes, Amazon EU-WEST-1 went down. Whether people's applications were affected depends on whether people followed those very same cloud architecture principles you mentioned. If they did, the EU-WEST-1 failure shouldn't affect them. Amazon has dozens of availability zones all over the world that AWS users can deploy their code to.

The failover mechanisms you talk about are for AWS' users to follow, not Amazon itself.

Re:Cloud fail (2)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019096)

Or am I completely misunderstanding the meaning of this latest buzzword?

The main feature of cloud computing is the ability to almost instantly increase your capabilites and capacities.

At its most basic level, you're talking about a pool of computing resources that can be doled out without regards to the underlying hardware.
There's no promise that this cloud (the aforementioned pool of hardware) is geographically distributed.
Like any other hosting, you have to pay extra if you want your data replicated at another hosting center.

Re:Cloud fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019110)

My understanding of the point of cloud computing was that it would be distributed. I.e. the failure of any one data or computing center would mean the data was still available. Hence, the term "cloud": nebulous, non-localized. .

Sorry - you must be thinking of our n+1 release of cloud computing. You are still on n right?

Re:Cloud fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019130)

EC2 lets you lease servers by the hour. Your server has to live somewhere. If that somewhere loses electricity, your server is gone. There's no way around that.

Re:Cloud fail (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019506)

Gravity-powered fluidics?

Re:Cloud fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019186)

Next you're going to be saying that 4G implies some sort of minimum data speed and set of features as defined by some industry organization.

You're never going to get very far in marketing, you know.

Re:Cloud fail (4, Insightful)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019212)

Ah, yes. There is that.

At the moment, my company is aggressively encouraging our customers to avoid the Cloud at all costs. Let me explain why.

Whilst the technology exists for the cloud to deliver fault tolerant distributed storage, when you choose to put data in the cloud, you are choosing to relinquish control of the data. You are placing it in the hands of someone else. Quite probably an organisation that you do not know intimately. Quite probably an organisation that is based in a different legislative region - probably another country.

You have little to no capacity to audit their system. You have little to no capacity to test their fault tolerance. And here's the sucker punch - you have little to no legal comeback for the consequences if something bad happens.

If your data contains any personal information about another person, you are placing the privacy of that person in the hands of an organisation you do not control, and upon whom you cannot enforce any legislative restrictions.

So, unless you are seriously geared up to investigate and audit your prospective cloud provider - and they are willing for you to do so, the only data you can safely put in the cloud is data that would be basically irrelevant to your core business anyway. Until the fundamental issues of privacy, security and accountability are resolved - or dramatically improved - placing core business data in the Cloud is a massive corporate risk.

They should not have called it the 'Cloud'. They should have called it the 'Arse' - because if your management are planning to stick their heads in one, they may as well stick their heads up the other. I don't imagine that 'Arse Computing' would be as popular though.

Re:Cloud fail (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019496)

I quit paying attention to your explanation/rant after one particular choice of words:

avoid the Cloud at all costs.

I immediately envision a scenario where the cost of setting up management, infrastructure, and equipment is significantly larger than the cost of losing a portion (or perhaps even all) of a company's data or processing capacity. Rejecting cloud services as a viable option regardless of the actual cost is just as asinine as rejecting the option for turning on hot water in the bathroom sink, because it just might be too warm for somebody.

When I risk my sanity long enough to pick out a few more words, I find you dismissing the cloud as being only suitable for "irrelevant" data. Apparently, all data is either "core business data" or "irrelevant", and there's no such thing as "nice to have around", "those old backups", or simply "not worth handling on our own". Of course, the existence of special-purpose clouds is ignored, along with private and internal clouds.

As for auditing, uptime, and legal consequences, you've apparently never dealt with a service contract. If the contract mandates five nines of uptime, and includes a clause making them liable for all damages and loss, that's a pretty hefty legal comeback.

I do sincerely hope I'm never a customer of your company.

Re:Cloud fail (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019322)

Using EC2 or Azure there is nothing stopping you from having redundancy across multiple data centers in totally different countries if required. If people don't bother, their bad.

distributed != replicated (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019358)

Distribution means your virtual machine can be on a number of machines inside a cloud. There's nothing in the definition of a cloud that says it has to be in different locations, or running mirrored copies of your instance. Sure, it's possible, just like it's possible with single machines. When will people stop assuming that "cloud" means "indestructible"? This is exactly what happened before with EC2 and lots were hurt then by the same assumption.

Re:Cloud fail (2)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019444)

Perhaps it would be a good idea to start by defining what exactly "cloud computing" means?

Because looking at the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] I see only a brief mention of reliability through redundancy: Reliability is improved if multiple redundant sites are used, which makes well-designed cloud computing suitable for business continuity and disaster recovery.

As CTO of a data hosting "cloud services" provider myself, I'm proud of our track record for reliability and redundancy. All our systems are backed up offsite to multiple locations every 24 hours. At all times we provide off-site hosting facilities at about 50% of the capacity of our primary production cluster for disaster recovery scenarios. All our systems are redundant on site; the loss of any single system can be healed within an hour or so. Our system uptime averages approaches 4 nines over years in an industry where 2 nines is considered exceptional.

Having systems replicate in near-real-time to multiple locations and autonomically route around large network outages on extremely short notice is an extremely tough and expensive thing to do. It sounds simple enough, but the devil is in the details. The number of things that can go wrong is simply staggering, and trying to account for every possible thing that can go wrong is simply infeasible to proactively account for.

What do you do when the problem is due to a router outage offsite? What if 70% of routes work, and 30% don't due to a BGP burp? What if latency is 50ms? 100ms? 200ms? At what point is it "down" ? What if network conditions are excellent but there's a problem with DNS? What if a power surge generated by your UPS (yes, it happens!) takes out 20% of your production cluster? Do you heal or switch to hot backup? What if it takes out 30% of your production cluster? 40% 60%?

People think of "online" is a boolean yes/no question, but it's not. We calculate our uptimes based on expected end-user experience, but rarely is our production cluster actually working at 100%. Nearly always, some system or other is in need of attention and it doesn't constitute an emergency because there's still additional redundancy in the system.

Re:Cloud fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019760)

VMs are being bogus-ly advertised by companies as Cloud. If you dig deep down, its just a hosted VM labelled as Cloud.

Customers should be looking for alternatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37018962)

Such as Virtustream [virtustream.com]

clouds and lightning go together (1)

karuna (187401) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018970)

Well, when there are clouds it often rains and occasionally they produce thunder and lightning. I guess Amazon though that they can have clouds without worrying about their byproducts.

More 9's falling from the sky? (1)

kolbe (320366) | more than 3 years ago | (#37018992)

We have all read about the difficulty and expense of providing reliability in the cloud (the so-called five nines) as well as the fact that as more popular web services rely on cloud platforms, the more people rely on those services. As such, I cannot help but wonder what kind of fallout will happen after this latest event, but I do get the feeling that this "Lightening strike" may erode the vCloud marketing of 5x9's uptime just a wee bit more.

Re:More 9's falling from the sky? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019026)

I do get the feeling that this "Lightening strike" may erode the vCloud marketing of 5x9's uptime just a wee bit more.

If that's the problem, then I think they just need to get a "lightening breaker [youtube.com] "

Re:More 9's falling from the sky? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019062)

It's 5x9 IF you pay for more than one instance. You DID pay for instances in multiple geographic locations, right?

Re:More 9's falling from the sky? (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019328)

Oh, you wanted the remote control that that? Well, that's another $45.99. Yea, you DIDNT say you wanted a remote control before, yea, glad to get that out of the way...

Can I tell you about our maintenance program?

The selling point... (1)

Genda (560240) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019006)

... And if we aren't 1000%, absolutely, positively reliable may God Strike Us... BLAM!!!!!!

Re:The selling point... (1)

Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019030)

... And if we aren't 1000%, absolutely, positively reliable may God Strike Us... BLAM!!!!!!

Sorry sir. The thousands place is the sign bit in our percent calculations.

Re:The selling point... (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019346)

"I swear to God baby, I aint cheated on you. If I cheated may God strike this data center dead...

Whoooooop.

"Uhhhha... funny that...."

Microsoft renamed its product (5, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019018)

Office 364

Re:Microsoft renamed its product (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019314)

No, the code name inside Microsoft for it was Office 180.

Sunny (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019040)

So you're saying there wasn't a cloud in the sky, huh?

Serves them right (2, Informative)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019094)

Those massive data centers only existed because Microsoft and Amazon channeled profits through Irish subsidiaries to avoid US taxes. They serve some legitimate functions for customers in the UK as a matter of convenience (why build two data centers?), but they're primarily money laundering centers.

I'd call a few lightning strikes the least of the punishments those data centers - and the entire infrastructures to which they're attached - really deserve.

Re:Serves them right (2)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019176)

The AWS services out of dublin aren't through an Irish subsidiary. It's just regular AWS.

If you know differently, please document it.

Re:Serves them right (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019768)

The AWS services out of dublin aren't through an Irish subsidiary. It's just regular AWS.

I don't think that's what the GP was getting at.
Due to their complex tax [strike]avoidance[/strike] management plans, American based multi-nationals end up with billions of dollars overseas.
They can't bring those billions back to the USA without being taxed, which would completely negate the point of booking them offshore to begin with.
The end result is that they invest it overseas instead of domestically, because it looks better for their bottom line.

Just because AWS LLC isn't an Irish subsidiary doesn't mean that the money used to create their infrastructure didn't come from that route.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019340)

You're an idiot. Why should money both made and kept out of the US be subject to US taxes? This is why they're called "multinational corporations" - they don't exist just in one place.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019408)

They serve some legitimate functions for customers in the UK as a matter of convenience (why build two data centers?), but they're primarily money laundering centers.

FTA:

"Dublin has become a key cloud computing gateway to Europe and beyond for U.S. companies due to several factors, including the city’s location, connectivity, climate and ready supply of IT workers. Dublin’s temperature is ideal for data center cooling, allowing companies to use fresh air to cool servers instead of using huge, power-hungry chillers to refrigerate cooling water."

Also, please not, that if the UK had more a progressive, enterprise friendly tax system...... oh, sorry you're a MONARCHY

Re:Serves them right (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019498)

Ironically, if you or I bought a PO Box to avoid state taxes we would be thrown in jail. Why do businesses not worry about this?

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019696)

That's not entirely true - there are also laws that require certain data to be kept inside the EU. Without an EU data center, companies could not use the cloud for this.

Irony... (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019128)

This is what is known as "cloud to cloud lightning"

Power Co-Generation (4, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019150)

While working at Chevron Oil Pascagoula Mississippi refinery, I noted Chevron had the same problem. Loss of electrical power to the refinery would be catastrophic. No one wants to be around tons of petrochemical products undergoing serious chemical reactions when one loses control.

To mitigate this threat, Chevron worked with Mississippi Power to operate a power generation facility at the refinery.

I would think that anywhere there is a substantial "data processing farm" with critical power requirements, business arrangements should be made with the power generation utilities to run a natgas power plant in the immediate area.

The utilities often run these plants as "topping" plants, as they needed anyway to even out short-time load variances on the line.

But, in the event of a serious loss of grid power, it can be awful handy to have a few megawatts of power coming from down the street.

Re:Power Co-Generation (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019334)

RTFA! They do have generators! The lightning strike was apparently so powerful that is affected the backup generators synchronization equipment.

"Normally, upon dropping the utility power provided by the transformer, electrical load would be seamlessly picked up by backup generators,â Amazon said in an update on its status dashboard. âoeThe transient electric deviation caused by the explosion was large enough that it propagated to a portion of the phase control system that synchronizes the backup generator plant, disabling some of them.â

Re:Power Co-Generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019442)

RTFA! They do have generators! The lightning strike was apparently so powerful that is affected the backup generators synchronization equipment. .....which means there wasn't anyone there to manually start them up?

Re:Power Co-Generation (1)

anubi (640541) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019448)

IIRC, the generators at Chevron were not "backup" generators, per se. They were fullbore online generators, run by the utility.

These were not backup generators. Even though that was their alternate function. These were online and ran 24/7.

The problem with backup generators is they sit idle too much and you are likely not to discover a problem until you fire them up.

The continuously running generators, operated and maintained by the utility, had a very low probability of failure, and were sized to easily accommodate the refinery load, so that if a divorce from the grid was inevitable, we could continue.

There are economies of scale from running a continuous generation facility locally that justify the costs of more robust equipment than can be justified by something that sits idly by waiting until you need it.

Proper generator operation is verified 24 hours a day by the circumstance of it being online. I would consider the possibility of a rogue lightning bolt doing it in, along with the whole grid, but having the skill and resources of the utility to bring it back up would help a lot.

Never underestimate the skills of a determined utility crew.

Re:Power Co-Generation (2)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019494)

When I was an undergrad I worked a crappy job at a Florida amusement park. Lightning capital of the world is in Pasco County Florida which was about 30 minutes away.

They generated their own power and the power lines and even the roller coasters were designed to be struck by lightning. Let me tell you they were struck every 3 or 4 days during the raining season in summer from the monsoons from the Carribean and Gulf. During a bad storm the power lines and rides could be struck 2 to 3 times each in a 30 minute period. They always kept running as soon as the storm would pass.

If a shitty amusement park can handle it I would think a datacenter would have much more expensive and critical components. Disney World in Orlando even generates its own power and powers part of Orlando.

what a senseless act (1)

DSS11Q13 (1853164) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019226)

Cloud on cloud violence like this cannot be tolerated!

Lesson (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019228)

I just love how Mother Nature gives Mankind a spanking now and again, just to remind us who is boss.

Come to the cloud... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019248)

...where life is grand and all your apps are immune to...BzzzzzZZZZZT!

BPOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019268)

Blue Pane of Sin?

Re:BPOS (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019660)

Ballmer's POS?

How shocking! (4, Informative)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019270)

Re:How shocking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019462)

Here's the only Irish media coverage of it I've found so far.

http://searchtopics.independent.ie/article/0g8m5GIcvz8Lr?q=Dublin%2C+Ireland

Cloud fails again (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019274)

How shocking

2 things tto remember (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019432)

Murphy was an Irishman

Every Silver Cloud has a leather lining.

THAT's NOT a CLOUD (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019474)

Despite ALl the market-hype and brew-haha going on, the simple fact remains:

If ALL your computing power is in ONE SINGLE DATACENTRE then what you have is a DAMP SPOT not a CLOUD.

How ironic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#37019624)

Cloud killed the "Cloud"....

dress (-1, Offtopic)

dsadwdwfwfwfw (2432156) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019682)

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Good! Now maybe people will know! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#37019744)

All of the cloud computing hype has business everywhere, once again, buying what they don't understand just as they did during the dotCOM bubble. That particular bandwagon caused all sorts of damage to the industry including a flood of people unsuited to the line of work and suppression of wages that don't seem to have ever returned. Now business continues to crave cheap, Walmart-ized IT services and are seeking to get it any way they can; outsourcing to 3rd world nations and most recently entrusting cloud computing where they put not just all of their eggs, but the eggs of hundreds if not thousands of other businesses in one basket waiting for moments like this.

And it's not like these lessons were never made available in smaller doses. There has been more than one Blackberry service outage to highlight the fact that all Blackberry traffic passes through Blackberry servers and will halt when Blackberry fails. How much worse when you entrust whole parts of critical business functionality to "the cloud"?

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