When you think of the Internet, what probably comes to mind is an enormous mass of digital data kind of floating around "over there." However, the Internet has a very physical form: the data center.
A data center is a huge building filled with hundreds or thousands of computers backed with enough redundancies, fail-safes and security to withstand any disaster short of a direct missile strike. At least, that's the plan. As Google just learned, however, it's still hard to weather, well, the weather.
Earlier this week, Google's europe-west1-b data center in Belgium was ground zero for not one, not two, but FOUR lightning strikes in a row. Who says lightning never strikes the same place twice?
The data center is actually set up to handle lightning, but four strikes in a row pushed some of its systems over the limit. Errors started popping up on about 5% of its disks (which is a lot in a data center filled with thousands of them).
These disks were running Google Compute Engines, or virtual computers Google licenses to business. So it wasn't something the average Internet user would notice, but there were plenty of businesses that had a scary day.
It's a testament to the modern data center that at the end of the day only 0.000001% of the data was actually lost. Google was able to recover the rest.
Google also says that the affected systems were using a less stable configuration than the rest of the data center. The Internet giant was already in the process of upgrading those systems, and if the upgrade had been complete, it's possible no data would have been lost.
Your move, Mother Nature.
This is just another reason why it's important to know the difference between cloud storage and cloud backup. One keeps your data safe in a disaster and the other doesn't. Click here to learn which one you want to be using.