Google’s servers went dark on Monday

Twitter’s data center knocked out by extreme heat in California

When the server room at Google’s massive Mountain View, California data center went dark on Monday, Google workers didn’t know what to make of their predicament—until Monday night.

They woke up Wednesday morning to find their computers, and thousands of servers that were critical to the firm’s world-beating search engine, email service and other functions had gone dark. More than three hours of backup power was nowhere to be found.

“It was pretty scary,” a Google spokesman said.

It was a freak occurrence, but not a rare one. Google Inc., a computer industry giant, doesn’t use much in the way of backup power in its facilities—one of many reasons why it’s so hard for organizations big and small to secure their IT systems.

To put it more succinctly, it may be impossible to have a truly secure computer, but if you really want to have a scary moment, just let your server room go cold.

The Google spokesman said the company’s servers were connected to the power grid, but the utility couldn’t provide any extra backup power. A computer repair company was brought in, and the company was able to restore service within hours.

With the power of the Internet under their belts, the Google workers were able to re-establish service.

It was a scary moment for Google, which lost 2,566 servers—1,000 of them in the West, according to figures from Symantec, a longtime security firm. But it was far less scary for the company than it would have been if the power had gone out for days.

It would have been the kind of situation that wouldn’t have been good for Google’s image—or, in the case of the outage, the company’s reputation.

The outage comes at a time when Internet security is being shaken up by two more significant and high-profile hacks: the theft of customer data from more than 20 million Facebook accounts, and the theft of data from more than

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