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The freak lightning strike blamed for knocking out European cloud operations at both Microsoft and Amazon earlier this week was apparently not guilty. Data Center Knowledge is now reporting Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board as pinning the outage on equipment failure, not weather; “our initial assessment of lightning as the cause has now been ruled out,” according to an EBS statement. This should lead customers to ask far harder questions of both Amazon and Microsoft than they have so far. An outage caused by freak weather is possibly understandable, but for routine failure of equipment at one utility power provider to bring down two flagship cloud data centers is ridiculous. Where were the surge protectors? Why couldn’t the backup generators cope with a fluctuation in voltage? Where was the secondary source of mains power? And days later, a few of Amazon’s customers are still feeling the effects; the AWS Status site reported that, as of 01:10 Pacific, “Less than 2% of the affected volumes are still in the process of having their recovery snapshot created.” Not good. Not good at all.