Google has suffered permanent data loss after one of its data centres in Belgium, which was struck by lightning four times. The electricity surges from the lightning strikes wiped portions of data from the Google Compute Engine storage systems; some disks affected by the strike were later recoverable.
“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,” Google said in an online statement.
Google’s GCE service provides users with cloud storage and virtual machine operations. It’s not yet clear how many customers could have been affected, but Google claims that only 0.000001% of its data was permanently wiped.
So, what caused the data centre to be struck by lightning an unbelievable four times? According to Justin Gale, the sheer surface area of such a building, with its plethora of power and telecommunications cables, is more susceptible than regular buildings. “The cabling alone can be struck anything up to a kilometre away, bring [the shock] back to the data centre and fuse everything that’s in it,” he said.
“Everything in the data centre is connected one way or another,” James Wilman, Engineering Sales Director for Future-Tech, added. “If you get four large strikes it wouldn’t surprise me that it has affected the facility.”
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