Another thing to worry about - summer lightning

Another thing to worry about - summer lightning

Summary: Brief: IT departments face an additional challenge during summer storms - dealing with the risks posed by extreme weather

TOPICS: Storage

Ferocious weather conditions are to blame for a 25 percent increase in damaged and lost data, according to new research.

According to Ontrack Data Recovery, summer lightning strikes often cause power surges that lead to blown circuits and seriously damage the process of writing data to hard drives. Lightning strikes, say Ontrack, can also cause computer malfunctions that leave businesses immobile.

"Lightning strikes cause sensitive electronics to blow on the PCBs (printed circuit boards) of hard disk drives and consequently the headers of hard disk drives shut down," says Adrian Palmer, managing director at Ontrack.

During a power surge, 'black-lining' can occur, and data may be lost during the heads 'park' procedure. The power surge sends large amounts of electricity directly to the header of the hard drive, and the resulting electromagnetic field wipes away the data beneath it.

"All data under the black line is destroyed, and it can sometimes be so severe that the damage can be seen through a powerful microscope," says Palmer.

Ontrack figures showed a 70 percent rise in black-lining cases during the summer months.

Topic: Storage

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  • This story was in a tab on my browser ready to read yesterday evening when a thunderstorm rolled in.

    It looked nasty, big forks of lightning shooting down in the distance. I shut my equipment down and about 30 seconds after my workstation and server went down, the local sub-station was hit and we were without power until the early hours of this morning, not sure what time the power can back on, but they tested the "air raid" siren at around 07:30 this morning!

    For about 4 years now, all of my equipment has been protected by circuit breakers and surge protectors.

    Although I do remember going to a client in the late 80's or early 90's after they had been hit by a lightning strike. They had a corridor filled with hundreds of blown VT100 terminals stacked 5 high and going as far as I could see :-(

    Luckily here, I powered everything back up this morning and we seem fine...