Dublin lightning strike zaps Amazon, Microsoft data centres

8 Aug 2011

A lightning strike in Dublin caused outages at Amazon and Microsoft’s data centres, affecting Amazon’s EC2 platform and Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).

Data Center Knowledge reports that the lightning hit a transformer near Amazon’s centre, which caused an explosion and fire, knocking out the utility service.

It was unable to start its generators, causing a power outage.

“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,” said Amazon in its status dashboard.

“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,” said the company.

Amazon is now installing extra capacity to support this process. They predict that while many volumes will be restored over the next “several hours,” it could take 24-48 hours for the process to complete.

“EC2 instances or EBS servers lost power before writes to their volumes were completely consistent. Because of this, in some cases we will provide customers with a recovery snapshot instead of restoring their volume so they can validate the health of their volumes before returning them to service. We will contact those customers with information about their recovery snapshot,” said Amazon.

Microsoft’s Dublin data centre experienced a power issue, which affected access to its BPOS services in Europe. Its Twitter account reports it has since come back online.

BT’s data centre, located in Citywest Dublin, also experience a mains outage due to lightning, however, they said that their protection layers remained engaged, meaning that their services were not affected.