Amazon Cloud Service Hit By Car Crash

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One of Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing data centres was knocked offline after it failed to cope with a power outage caused by a car crash

Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service has suffered a power outage after one of its data centres failed to cope with a power switch-over following a car crash, which triggered a local blackout.

Car Crash

According to Data Center Knowledge, a car crashed into a utility pole near one of Amazon’s data centres. The data centre apparently went offline after a transfer switch failed to properly manage the move from utility power to the facility’s own generators. It resulted in some Amazon customers in its US East Region losing service for about an hour.

“Tuesday’s event was triggered when a vehicle crashed into a high voltage utility pole on a road near one of our datacenters, creating a large external electrical ground fault and cutting utility power to this data centre,” Amazon said in an update on its Service Health Dashboard.

It seems that Amazon is having some bad luck, as according to the Register, one of its data centres was also struck by lightening back in June 2009.

More recently, Data Center Knowledge said that Amazon experienced three power outages last week. Two power outages occurred on 4 May and an extended power loss early happened on Saturday, 8 May. The two instances on 4 May were caused by the failure of a UPS, while the second outage on that day happened when human error caused a back-up generator to lose power.

The loss of power on 8 May was apparently caused by an electrical ground fault and short circuit in a major power distribution panel that interrupted power.

Power Of The Unknown

Incidents like this show that despite advanced planning and redundancies, sometimes things do not go according to plan. Recently in the UK for example, a large of part of London was left without phones after a flood in the basement of a telephone exchange in Paddington caused havoc with the capital’s phone network.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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