Google data lightning
Google loses data as lightning strikes four times at same spotPascal Rossignol/Reuters

Tech giant Google has admitted it has lost data after lightning struck four times at the same spot at a local utility grid in Belgium.

Besides causing some disruptions to the cloud storage systems, the series of lightning strikes has also resulted in permanent data loss. Google, in its incident report, said approximately 0.000001% of its western Europe disk space has been permanently damaged.

The statement read: "Google takes availability very seriously, and the durability of storage is our highest priority. We apologise to all our customers who were affected by this exceptional incident. We have conducted a thorough analysis of the issue, in which we identified several contributory factors across the full range of our hardware and software technology stack, and we are working to improve these to maximise the reliability of GCE's [Google Compute Engine] whole storage layer."

"Google Compute Engine instances and Persistent Disks within a zone exist in a single Google data centre and are therefore unavoidably vulnerable to data centre-scale disasters." No data related to consumer-facing services such as Gmail, YouTube, and Google Drive are thought to have been affected by the incident.

Earlier it was thought that the electrical storm had struck the mighty Google data centre but it was later clarified that it was the local grid facility that had been affected. The earlier version said the lightning managed to knock the electrical systems of its data centre in St Ghislain, located about 80km from Brussels.

Aaron Trubic, managing partner of technology communications at Proper Villains, told CNN Money, "As small as an overall issue it may be worldwide - it highlights the need to distribute data across multiple data centers as a silo of one can be vulnerable. Google knows this and I think this particular zone may be just last in line for that 'upgrade' in procedure."