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Google lost data after lightning hit Belgian data center

August 20, 2015, 9:00 AM UTC
A photo taken early on June 10, 2014 shows a lightning strike during a thunderstorm over Gavere, Belgium. AFP PHOTO / BELGA PHOTO / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK ** Belgium Out ** (Photo credit should read NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Nicolas Maeterlinck — AFP/Getty Images

This article is published in partnership with The original version can be found here.

By Alissa Greenberg @alissaleewrites

Despite the popular saying, lightning does strike twice, or even four times — as it did at a Google data center in Belgium last Thursday, causing problems for the next several days and leading to permanent data loss for a small percentage of unlucky users.

The problem began when the facility lost power briefly during one of the late-summer thunderstorms common in the area. That caused problems with reading or writing data for about five percent of disks in the data center. Most were fixed but data on .000001% of the center’s total disk space was lost. “In these cases, full recovery is not possible,” the company said in a statement.

Google accepts full responsibility for the incident and says it is making upgrades to prevent something like this from happening again.