Lessons Learned from Amazon Cloud Downtime
Amazon’s European cloud services went down after lightning struck its data center. The company said that some of its customers will experience downtime of up to two days. It said that both its primary and secondary power supplies were knocked out when an electric storm went over the city of Dublin last Sunday.
The lightning strike caused a transformer to explode which resulted in Amazon’s electric supply to catch on fire. It also brought down the company’s backup generators. According to experts, an electric deviation traveled through the power feed wires that brought down the control system that could have triggered the backup generators.
Amazon has precautionary measures against lightning strikes. But when the lightning hits the power transformer, it could bring down the entire power supply including the backup generators. This is exactly what happened at Amazon’s Dublin data center.
These types of companies usually have disaster recovery plans where they store copies of their data on separate virtual machines at different data centers. These backups would be used in case of failures at the main site. It would take several minutes to point the systems at the backup sites. But that also means that several minutes of data will be lost. Luckily, it’s better than loosing several days worth of data without backups.