Amazon, Microsoft clouds suffer European outages after lightning strike

Dublin power cut over weekend knocks tech services offline...
Written by Tim Ferguson, Contributor

Dublin power cut over weekend knocks tech services offline...


Amazon and Microsoft's cloud services suffered outages after a major power cut in DublinPhoto: Shutterstock

Two widely used cloud services suffered outages over the weekend after Amazon and Microsoft's Dublin datacentres were affected by a power cut in the city.

European customers using Microsoft's Business Productivity Office Suite - recently superseded by Office 365 - had no service from 10:50 until 17:45 BST on Sunday.

Microsoft said "a widespread power outage in Dublin caused connectivity issues". Customers were regularly updated about the situation via email throughout the incident, it added.

A Microsoft spokesman told silicon.com that the issue was related to an outage at a local electricity substation.

Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Relational Database Service (RDS) are continuing to suffer from connectivity issues after problems were first reported on Sunday.

The issue with the EC2 service was first announced on Amazon Web Service's (AWS) health dashboard at 11:13am on Sunday with RDS problems first coming to light at 11:26am BST. Amazon attributed the outage to a "power failure" on its service status web page.

Some customers using the single availability zone for the services are still suffering from "performance issues" although those with multiple availability zones are back online as their data is duplicated elsewhere, Amazon said.

"We understand at this point that a lighting strike hit a transformer from a utility provider to one of our Availability Zones in Dublin, sparking an explosion and fire.

"Normally, upon dropping the utility power provided by the transformer, electrical load would be seamlessly picked up by back-up generators. The transient electric deviation caused by the explosion was large enough that it propagated to a portion of the phase control system that synchronises the back-up generator plant, disabling some of them," Amazon wrote on the AWS health dashboard.

According to the company, the scale of the outage means many of the servers need manual work before they can be restarted.

Amazon predicts it will take between 24 and 48 hours before service is fully restored.

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