Lightning Responsible for Google’s Data Loss

Many businesses consider a wholesale switch to the cloud for their business data storage needs and assume their data will be safe and sound. This is only somewhat true. While the cloud may offer an effective way to store your data, it is still susceptible to freak accidents. Take, for example, the time when Google was struck by lightning in August… four times.

Yes, that’s right. Norse mythology’s god of thunder and lightning, Thor, rained down his mighty judgment upon one of Google’s Belgium-based data centers. It is yet to be determined whether or not he was tricked by his brother Loki, god of mischief! It is safe to say that the Google’s Cloud Platform data center sustained heavy damage; exactly what you might expect from four consecutive lightning strikes.

As a result, Google reports about 5% of the disks in the center could no longer read or write data. This translates to roughly a 0.000001% loss of the center’s data, on which Google further reports that “in these cases, full recovery is not possible.”

Seemingly such a small percentage, much less than 0.5% in fact, appears to be a negligible amount of data that is hardly worth mentioning – unless it was your data that was lost. Depending on how much information you have amassed from your time as a business, losing even a fraction of your data can be a complete and total disaster. Lost files, especially important ones, could have far-reaching effects on your operations infrastructure. So, naturally, it’s imperative that your organization has some type of backup and disaster recovery plan put into place.

As you might expect, the technology giant Google did have measures in place to protect against freak accidents like a singular lightning strike. However, it’s unlikely that any data loss prevention measure can protect from the immense amount of natural energy produced by four lightning strikes.

So, the lesson we all can learn from this situation is that your business always needs to be prepared for disasters that can’t be predicted. From a statistical perspective, the chances are that this situation would not happen again, none the less, Google assures users that they’re taking steps to make sure that such a catastrophic loss of data is avoided in the future. Of course, one thing is certain; mankind only has limited ways to combat the awesome power of nature.

Natural forces like floods, hurricanes, and even lightning strikes should make you ask tough questions about your backup and disaster recovery planning. Important as this planning is, it’s only one aspect in which your company should be considering in the larger picture of managing technology.