Google, Oracle data centres knocked offline by London heat

LONDON data centers used by Google and Oracle Corp. buckled on Tuesday after a record-setting heat wave hit Britain, knocking some websites offline.

Both companies cited problems with “cooling systems” for causing the outages. Oracle’s first message appeared on its service page in late morning New York time, noting that “unreasonable temperatures” had affected cloud and networking equipment in its South London facility.

By the afternoon, Alphabet Inc.’s Google reported a similar problem at its London site. On a customer-service website, the company said the disruption had hit a “small set” of its cloud-computing users. Google said it was powering down some parts of its cloud services “to prevent damage to machines and an extended outage.”

Several hours later, Google still listed some of its cloud services as down in the region. The WordPress web-hosting service blamed the Google outage for knocking out its service in Europe.

Temperatures topped 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the UK on Tuesday, when fires broke out across London.

Meanwhile, fires broke out across London and the city’s fire service declared a major incident, in the latest sign of how record-breaking heat is causing chaos across the UK.

Two wildfires started in Shirley Hills in South London and there were grass fires in Leytonstone and Upminster in East London. Firefighters tackled a blaze in a restaurant in Green Lanes in North London, while other incidents were reported in shops and homes.

The Fire Brigade urged people not to have barbecues and to take care to avoid sparks causing fires on tinder-dry ground. It also called for a ban on disposable barbecues.

“The London Fire Brigade has declared a major incident response to a huge increase in fires across the capital today,” Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on Twitter.

Temperatures in Britain surpassed 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first-time ever, with London one of the areas worst hit. The heat wave has snarled train and bus services in the city, forced schools to close early and disrupted businesses.

The heat should start to ease later Tuesday as cooler weather moves in from the west. The biggest relief should come Wednesday evening when temperatures drop to the low 20s Celsius — around average for the season. —  Bloomberg