Amazon cloud knocked offline by lightning


Amazon is experiencing connectivity issues after some of its cloud-powering servers were knocked offline after being hit by lightning at the weekend.

While the company is actively working on a resolution, some may have to wait up to two days until the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service is back to normal.

Due to the scale of the power disruption, a large number of Elastic Block Storage (EBS) servers lost power and require manual operations before volumes can be restored.

Many customers are annoyed that the restoration process seems to be taking so long, but Amazon has sought to explain via its service update pages. The sheer volume of data, coupled with power loss, means manual intervention is required, according to the tech giant.

"We know many of you are anxiously waiting for your instances and volumes to become available and we want to give you more detail on why the recovery of the remaining instances and volumes is taking so long," Amazon said.

"Due to the scale of the power disruption, a large number of EBS servers lost power and require manual operations before volumes can be restored. Restoring these volumes requires that we make an extra copy of all data, which has consumed most spare capacity and slowed our recovery process. We've been able to restore EC2 instances without attached EBS volumes, as well as some EC2 instances with attached EBS volumes. We are in the process of installing additional capacity in order to support this process both by adding available capacity currently onsite and by moving capacity from other availability zones to the affected zone."

Amazon also took to its status update tool to reassure worried cloud users that this issue was nothing more than a freak accident.

"Normally, upon dropping the utility power provided by the transformer, electrical load would be seamlessly picked up by backup 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 backup generator plant, disabling some of them," it stated.

Just last week, Amazon extolled the virtues of this technology model by extending the availability of its new virtual private cloud.

In the same announcement, the company also unveiled a way of allowing businesses to bypass the web and connect directly to the cloud via a private network connection and Amazon Web Services.

"As enterprises make the move to the cloud, many have leveraged Amazon VPC for workloads that they've wanted to manage using their existing management and security policies. With today's launch of Amazon VPC worldwide, AWS Direct Connect and the new IAM federated identity capabilities, enterprises have even more flexibility and control over deploying their workloads to the cloud," said Adam Selipsky, vice president, Amazon Web Services.

"These capabilities provide even more privacy, and along with AWS's existing cloud services allow enterprises to choose the environment that is best suited to each of their workloads."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.