How well does data in the cloud mix with solar storms?
When I look up how to protect my electronics before a solar storm, the internet says:
* Disconnect it from power
* Put it in a faraday cage (cardboard box wrapped with aluminium foil)
Do cloud providers have an offine backup in a faraday cage? Once you restore power to your data center, will there be anything left _to_ recover?
Somebody please tell me people have thought about this.
A follow-up: it looks like you don't actually need a faraday cage for solar storms. For anything without long wires, just disconnecting it should suffice.
https://briantomasik.com/backing-data-geomagnetic-storms-emps has some decent information while expressing appropriate humility about not having confident answers.
It also links to Internet Archive's Solar storm plan: https://www.quora.com/Is-Internet-Archive-backed-up-against-geomagnetic-storms
@akkartik AFAIK datacenters are usually natural faraday cages, at least to the point that mobile internet barely works in them.
@akkartik It varies. Ironically, the best protected will probably be the mid-sized businesses seeking co-location agreements with data centers. Large providers like Facebook or Google will probably collapse in the event of a solar storm of sufficient strength.
The reason for this is that co-location agreements often involve placing servers inside a metal cage. That cage is intended for physical security only. However, it might function well enough as a Faraday cage to prevent solar storm activity from disrupting data on magnetic media. So while power might be disrupted, and perhaps motherboards might get fried as a result of power fluctuations, it is entirely feasible to think that some magnetic and or solid state media will have their contents preserved nonetheless.
Larger businesses, such as Facebook or Google, often own the data centers themselves and therefore don't need metal cages around their server equipment. Therefore, their infrastructure is significantly more exposed.
When I was in the internet service provider industry, small businesses would often seek co-location agreements where space is measured in individual rack units. These racks are frequently metal themselves.
So, I would say the smaller the business, the more likely it would survive a solar flare incident.
@akkartik some data centers can’t even survive terrestrial storms. during the texas freeze last winter, a lot of data centers were damaged or lost power, despite claiming to be resistant to weather and isolated from the grid.
@Spaceface16518 My definition of "survive" is a little different here. I'm not concerned about availability. I'm thinking about whether a data center can _ever_ come back online in anything like its state before a solar storm. Because solar storms can damage persistent storage like hard disks and SSDs.
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