SO Ironic: Lightning Zaps Amazon, Microsoft Cloud Services In Europe

If only cloud computing wasn’t so vulnerable… to actual clouds.

But in another example of the fallibility of cloud hosting and delivery, a lightning storm rendered a large cluster of Amazon EC2 and Microsoft servers in Europe inoperable late Sunday.  “We understand at this point that a lighting strike hit a transformer from a utility provider to one of our Availability Zones in Dublin, sparking an explosion and fire,” Amazon emailed client companies.

The confirmed downtime from the meltdown (literally) was roughly 3 hours, though some accounts are still being recovered.  “While many volumes will be restored over the next several hours, we anticipate that it will take 24-48 hours until the process is completed,” Amazon told subscribers late Sunday night.

This is Amazon’s major European hub, and a bad place for lightning to strike. The issue is a familiar repeat of a meltdown in the US in April, when services were hobbled for several days, though only a small amount of data was lost.  At this stage, the status of Microsoft servers is unclear.

All of which raises the question: just how safe is your cloud-based music collection, right now and years into the future?  This is different than Amazon’s Cloud Drive, though the remote hosting concept is similar.  And everything is vulnerable – whether we’re talking about Amazon, Apple, or Spotify.