Lightning did not kill Microsoft and Amazon Clouds

A spectacular outage of the Microsoft and Amazon clouds is showing up the weaknesses of the new technology.

Both outfits’ clouds went dark after Dublin, whether the servers were based, had a spot of bad weather and the pair were quick to blame a lightning strike as the cause of the outage. While clouds should have had backup, and bad weather is normal weather in Dublin, it seems a little unfair for users to expect continuous service if Zeus hurls a thunderbolt at your system. “Act of Gods” is not a fair test of any network.

But it turns out that Zeus did not have it in for Microsoft and Amazon at all, Thor and Jehovah all have alibis and Perk┼źnas said it was already on fire when he got there.

According to the local Dublin Press, it turns out that for five hours Amazon and Microsoft’s clouds were out because a transformer in its Citywest substation packed in.

ESB Networks said it is trying to work out why the transformer went tits up but lightning was not responsible.

Amazon was interrupted for “less than a second before an automatic supply restoration kicked in” and it was one of about 100 customers affected by the ongoing service interruption.

A second Amazon data centre in south Dublin experienced a “voltage dip which lasted for less than one second”, the ESB said yesterday. However, this data centre was not directly affected by the power cut.

Microsoft’s service was also knocked out but, according to a Twitter update, was back “within hours” so clearly it did not have the same backup ability as the Amazon cloud.