Cows can cause network outages, confirms Google Fellow Urs Hölzle

Urs Hölzle, the senior vice president of technical infrastructure and Google Fellow, has revealed that cows can cause network outages and even Google CEO Sundar Pichai has admitted it.

Urs Hölzle, who is a Swiss software engineer and technology executive, has explained the mystery in a series of tweets. He started, “Ok here’s a new one: did you know that cows can cause network outages?  Don’t laugh, it happened to us. The beginning of the story: recently, we noticed frequent short outages (“flaps”) on a multi-terabit fiber path through Oregon.”

The Google Fellow tweeted, “This link is an aerial fiber link (fiber is strung along the path of a high-voltage power line). Such links have lower reliability because storms, trees, ice, and the occasional hunter can damage them. But this time we found something new: the fiber line had fallen to the ground yet continued to work just fine. But recently a farmer had started grazing a herd of cows nearby. And whenever they stepped on the fiber link, they bent it enough to cause a blip.”

Urs Hölzle shared a picture to prove that cows can cause network outages and wrote, “Don’t believe me?  Here’s a picture capturing the situation: the power line, the fiber on the ground, and a cow in the background. You heard it here first.”

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