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Amazon blames EC2 outage on lightening

Amazon Web Services ( has blamed Wednesday night's disruption of its service on an outage that occurred when lightning struck one of its data centers.

The company issued a statement on the Amazon Web Services "health dashboard", where it explained the disruption which happened around 6:20 p.m. PDT on Wednesday.

According to Amazon, a "lightening storm caused damage to a single Power Distribution Unit (PDU) in a single Availability Zone," and though "most instances were unaffected, a set of racks does not currently have power, so the instances on those racks are down."

During the seven hour outage, Amazon asked affected customers to "launch replacement instances in any of the U.S. Region Availability Zones or wait until their instance(s) are restored".

Once the company discovered the outage was caused by a problem on one "availability zone", it was able to localize the outage.

Since its launch in August 2006, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud has had its share of a few roadbumps along the way.

The service previously experienced two other disruptions in February and October of 2008, while Amazon's retail site was hit by an outage after running into complications with its own systems.

Another cloud computing service, Media Temple, recently suffered a major outage that knocked many customers offline for nearly two days.

The company cited recurring problems with its storage systems as the cause of the outage, which also caused a 38-hour outage in March.

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