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Google, Oracle cloud servers wilt in UK heatwave, take down websites

Clouds burst as nation hits 40C

Cloud services and servers hosted by Google and Oracle in the UK have dropped offline due to cooling issues as the nation experiences a record-breaking heatwave.

When the mercury hit 40.3C (104.5F) in eastern England, the highest ever registered by a country not used to these conditions, datacenters couldn't take the heat. Selected machines were powered off to avoid long-term damage, causing some resources, services, and virtual machines to become unavailable, taking down unlucky websites and the like.

Multiple Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources are offline, including networking, storage, and compute provided by its servers in the south of UK. Cooling systems were blamed, and techies switched off equipment in a bid to prevent hardware burning out, according to a status update from Team Oracle.

"As a result of unseasonal temperatures in the region, a subset of cooling infrastructure within the UK South (London) Data Centre has experienced an issue," Oracle said on Tuesday at 1638 UTC. "As a result some customers may be unable to access or use Oracle Cloud Infrastructure resources hosted in the region.

"The relevant service teams have been engaged and are working to restore the affected infrastructure back to a healthy state however, as a precautionary measure, we are in the process of identifying service infrastructure that can be safely powered down to prevent additional hardware failures. This step is being taken with the intention of limiting the potential for any long term impact to our customers."

We're told at least part of Oracle's cooling infrastructure broke down around lunchtime, UK time.


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Oracle isn't the only IT giant reporting temperature-related outages. Google Cloud said a number of its products are "experiencing elevated error rates, latencies or service unavailability" when served from systems located in europe-west2-a, which is one of its London facilities.

These issues are affecting various services relating to storage and compute, including BigQuery, SQL, and Kubernetes. Google acknowledged the downtime at 1615 UTC. This outage has, for one thing, brought down WordPress websites hosted by WP Engine in the UK, which were powered by Google Cloud.

"There has been a cooling-related failure in one of our buildings that hosts zone europe-west2-a for region europe-west2," according to a separate Google advisory.

"This caused a partial failure of capacity in that zone, leading to VM terminations and a loss of machines for a small set of our customers. We're working hard to get the cooling back on-line and create capacity in that zone. We do not anticipate further impact in zone europe-west2-a and currently running VMs should not be impacted.

"In order to prevent damage to machines and an extended outage, we have powered down part of the zone and are limiting GCE preemptible launches. We are seeing regional impact for a small proportion of newly launched Persistent Disk volumes and are working to restore redundancy for the impacted replicated Persistent Disk devices."

The Register has asked Oracle and Google for further comment. 

Extreme temperatures have also set off fires across parts of England, affecting motorway traffic, rail services, and power, with Luton Airport being temporarily closed as well due to a melting runway. We'll let you know if there other internet services affected, too. ®

Updated to add

We've published a followup here, in which we assess the aftermath of the cooling-related outages.

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