Bulletins

Google and Oracle data centers are melting in the UK heat wave

Both Google and Oracle are experiencing cooling-related issues.

Google datacenter

Data centers are struggling to operate amid record high temperatures.

Image: Google

Google and Oracle data centers in the U.K. were struggling to operate Tuesday as record high temperatures continue to heat up Europe.


According to Google Cloud's service health page, one of its London buildings hosting cloud services for one of its Western Europe regions experienced a "cooling related failure" starting Tuesday morning. The company powered down services in part of that region to fix the issue.

Meanwhile, Oracle is having similar issues. Its service health page said it's working to repair the cooling system in its London data center and has powered down some of its services to "to prevent uncontrolled hardware failures." Oracle said it expects service to be restored today.

"As the operating temperatures approach workable levels, some services may start to see recovery," Oracle's service page said.

Though major data centers often have thousands of gallons of water at their disposal for cooling, they're not immune to heat waves. Prior to Tuesday's outages, an AWS data center in London went out July 10 in what the company called a "thermal event." Some data center operators are even resorting to hosing down their roof-mounted AC units with water to keep working.

Data centers are facing issues, but so, too, are everyday people. The heat wave currently roasting the EU and U.K. is being made worse by climate change, and the effects have been relentless. Hundreds died in Spain and Portugal over the weekend amid the intense heat that topped out at 116.6 degrees Fahrenheit (47 degrees Celsius) and wildfires burning across the countryside. Nuclear power plants were also forced to operate at reduced capacity in France due to overheating river water normally used for cooling.

The epicenter of heat has since moved to the U.K. to start the week, where the nation saw its first-ever 40-degree-Celsius (104-degree-Fahrenheit) temperature reading and has seen fires rage near London. Just 5% of homes in the U.K. have air conditioning installed. There are a number of high- and low-tech solutions that could help beat the heat, a task that will only become more important as climate change increases the intensity and frequency of freakishly hot weather.

This post has been updated with additional context.

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