Google Suffers Compute Engine Cloud Outage


Some Google users hit with four-day Persistent Disk outage as europe-west1-b region gets the hiccups

Google whacked its users with a cloud outage at the end of last week, with the provider’s Compute Engine Infrastructure-as-a-Service platform going down for some users right up until Sunday.

The problem originated from Google’s Persistent Disk (PD) storage systems, the primary storage platform for its customer virtual machine instances.

“We are experiencing an issue with Google Compute Engine Persistent Disks in europe-west1-b beginning at Thursday, 2015-08-13 09:25 US/Pacific,” said Google on its Compute Engine service status page.

“Customers who have machines running in this zone may see read errors.”


Europe-west1-b is one of three Western European Google cloud regions located in St. Ghislain, Belgium. The data centre went operational in September 2010, and now serves Google users across Europe and around the world. Interestingly, it was the first Google data centre worldwide to run entirely without refrigeration, using instead an advanced evaporative cooling system.

google“For everyone who is affected, we apologize for any inconvenience you may be experiencing. We will provide an update by 12:00 US/Pacific with current details,” said Google.

But the following update brought no good news for customers, and neither did the following nine updates as Google struggled with the PD problem.

It was only on August 16 at 09:35am US (5:35pm BST) did Google put the problem to bed, despite 0.5 percent of users still suffering from the outage.

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“At present, less than 0.05% of PD’s are experiencing read failures in europe-west1-b.

“Given the low rate of read failures, this will be the final update for this incident. Instead, the Cloud Support team will be reaching out to affected customers within 3 business days. Please also feel free to proactively contact support for more information.

“We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to prevent or minimize future recurrence. We will provide a more detailed analysis of this incident once we have completed our internal investigation.”

TechWeekEurope has requested comment from Google about the outage, but has yet to receive a reply.

Google’s ‘theme’ of the data centre in St. Ghislain is “Belgian beers,” according to its website. TechWeekEurope readers can draw their own conclusions about possible reasons for the outage following so shortly after the Alphabet announcement.

It was just last week when Amazon Web Services suffered a large cloud outage which affected its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and S3 platforms.

AWS notified customers of “elevated error rates” for these services in the North Virginia region, as well as US-STANDARD region for S3.

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