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August 20, 2015

Lightning Strikes to Power Grid Cause Data Loss at Google Data Center

Image courtesy of (Supertrooper)/

A bad lightning storm in Belgium has wreaked havoc at one of Google’s data centers causing data loss for a small number of customers.

Four lightning successive strikes to the in Ghislain utilities grid, which powers Google’s data centers there, caused a brief loss of power to the storage systems that host disk capacity, damaging and in some case permanently wiping a small number of disks.

Some customers have permanently lost access to the files on the affected disks but some of the damaged disks were still accessible. Overall, 0.000001 percent of disk space was permanently affected, Google said.

“Google takes availability very seriously, and the durability of storage is our highest priority,” the company said in a post. “We apologize to all our customers who were affected by this exceptional incident.

“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 it would upgrade all of its storage hardware to a type that is “less susceptible to the power failure mode” that triggered the data loss. Most of its storage is already running on this hardware.

Since the lightning strike incident, Google engineers have conducted an extensive review across the entire center to both prevent future problems and improve response procedures for any future incidents.

(Via the BBC)


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.