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Lightning Strike KOs Amazon, Microsoft EuroClouds 189

Posted by timothy
from the this-basket-of-eggs-is-highly-conductive dept.
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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Lightning Strike KOs Amazon, Microsoft EuroClouds

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  • Re:My Sympathies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kent_eh (543303) on Monday August 08, 2011 @12:07AM (#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
  • Power Co-Generation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anubi (640541) on Monday August 08, 2011 @12:12AM (#37019150) Journal
    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:Cloud fail (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jimicus (737525) on Monday August 08, 2011 @04:31AM (#37019962)

    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 agree with you entirely, it's an absolutely beautiful piece of legal comeback. But every service contract I've ever seen is so full of ifs, buts and other assorted get-outs that it's very rare to actually be able to hold someone to it.

    The one time I have seen an SLA that was actually quite good, the company in question didn't refuse to honour it. Oh no. They went one better - they hadn't even told their staff that it existed, so if you asked about it you'd get a response along the lines of "What's an SLA, then?" The only way you'll get an SLA honoured in those circumstances is to take your provider to court, and you can bet that if you do they'll drop you like a hot potato. So you probably wouldn't bother in any but the most egregious of circumstances.

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