Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

Summary: Japan was reeling after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that slammed into Tokyo at midday local time. Here's a look at the data center and cloud computing impact via ZDNet Japan.

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Japan was reeling after an 8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit the Northeast coast and also impacted Tokyo. As a result, much of the Pacific Ocean is under a tsunami warning. The disaster comes as many tech giants were setting up data centers in Tokyo to meet demand for cloud computing services.

It's unclear how data centers are holding up. TV reports indicate that mobile services are up in Tokyo, but spotty.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake hit:

  • 130 km (80 miles) E of Sendai, Honshu, Japan
  • 178 km (110 miles) E of Yamagata, Honshu, Japan
  • 178 km (110 miles) ENE of Fukushima, Honshu, Japan
  • 373 km (231 miles) NE of Tokyo, Japan

ZDNet Japan has been posting the data center availability (Google Translation version). So far, NTT Communications appears to be the hardest hit. The company has lost its IP-VPN connection and was evaluating the building holding the data center. Correction: NTT said even if there is a long-term power outage, NTT's data centers have emergency power generation systems that allows them to operate for an extended period of time.

NTT said in a statement:

March 11, 2011 (Friday) due to earthquakes in the Tohoku region around 46 minutes at 14, NTT Communications (abbreviation: NTT Com) has failed in some of our services. The current situation is as follows at 17. To our customers, we have to put you to trouble and inconvenience, I apologize.

Amazon Web Services indicated that services are continuing. Amazon just launched its data center in Tokyo.

Salesforce.com is also indicating that its Japan and Asia Pacific instances are up. Salesforce expects to complete its Tokyo data center this year.

ZDNet Japan has rounded up various disaster recovery issues resulting from the earthquake (translation). CNET Japan also has links to resources (translation).

This recap is just the IT side of the equation. The far larger issue is securing a nuclear reactor at the moment. We'll update as needed from ZDNet Japan, CNN, BBC and CBS News.

In addition tsunami warnings have been issued for the Pacific coast. The first waves are expected to reach San Francisco about 8 a.m. local time.

Update: Reports out of ZDNet Japan indicate that the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs said KDDI's undersea cables are broken and the telecom is working to fix telephone and mobile services.

Other updates include (translation):

  • NTT Plala's data center is running, but video streaming isn't available to preserve multi-channel broadcasting stations.
  • IDC Frontiers is running all nine of its data centers.

The death toll is steadily rising in the disaster could top 1,000, according to CBS News.

Related:

ZDNet AU: Cloud gets post-quake boost (New Zealand)

CNET News: Massive quakes hit Japan, tsunami warnings issued for U.S.

YouTube's CitizenTube

Topics: Data Centers, Hardware, Storage

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Talkback

27 comments
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  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    People are in danger in japan and all you guys worry about the data center wow!
    coolnerd16
    • People complain....

      @coolnerd16

      when the bloggers stick with IT tech only and people complain when they stray from IT tech.

      What is your solution?
      Economister
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @coolnerd16

      There are plenty of articles and coverage already about the actual quake itself. ZDNET can't really add anything new to that except link to other existing stories.

      So it makes sense to throw in what little corner of interest that they CAN add to the discussion. That does not diminish from the horrific aspects of the quake that are being covered elsewhere.
      SlithyTove
    • I appreciate the expert focus on IT issues

      @coolnerd16

      My thanks to the authors for this information, because it and the after-analysis will give us all better insight into how well DR plans are being executed and how we can all learn from this terrible event.
      terry flores
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @coolnerd16 I'm worried about far more than the data centers in Japan, but we do cover IT and a lot of technology and other companies have been building there. I have perspective, but doing my job.
      Larry Dignan
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @coolnerd16 If you would get your nose away from the glass mebbe you could multi-task
      dixonrf
    • This is a TECH site and ...

      @coolnerd16 this disater DOES obviously affect technology. Other news sites report about the human side of things.
      BlazingEagle
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @coolnerd16 - I don't think they are NOT concerned about the people. They are a technology news website - that's their focus. If you want news on the condition of the people that live in that area, check out your traditional news outlet like Fox News
      harringtonce
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    For most people who obeyed the sirens, they headed up the mountains for cover. You have to remember Japan's terrain, there's more hills and mountains then there is flat terrain. The result is more people able to reach the high ground before the tsunami hit.
    Maarek
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    It's interesting to see folks whining about why zdnet is making news of the effect of the quake in Japan on data center & cloud services. These very same people do not seem to understand that we live in an extremely wired world and the impact of disruptions in one geogaphical region can effect people and countires all over the globe.
    Don Urs
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    Events like this are exactly why I will never fully depend upon cloud services or storage.
    mowerman@...
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    This article is really bad reporting. From reading the headline, or even the first paragraph, one would think that the epicenter was near Tokyo. It was not.

    The difference is very significant, since an 8.9 quake near Tokyo would have been devastating, with billions of dollars lost, millions of lives, and significant impact on the world economy for decades as Japan rebuilds.

    But none of this happened, because huge though it was, the quake was also far away from Tokyo. Even at Sendai, casualties were low.
    mejohnsn
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @mejohnsn
      I agree with Mejohnsn, "Tokyo earthquake" is surprisingly inaccurate for ZD Net. It would like reporting: "Manhattan struck by earthquake and tsunami" if the epicenter were closer to Portland, Maine.
      cr4shk1ng_tokyo@...
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    Solution? Keep all data local, be responsible and do backups, several times a day. Never trust or count on cloud services.
    Charles_B
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @cboquin

      It seems that the lesson from the earthquake is that we should use cloud services to backup our data remotely. :)
      mlwan
    • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

      @cboquin . . . or do both, use a hybrid solution.

      Technology is probably the least of most people's worries after a natural disaster, though.
      CobraA1
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    The elephant everybody is missing is how vulnerable the cloud is if major catastrophe strikes. Image a scenario of a hospital and the all record are on the cloud, how they will have accesses critical information without power or networks to access the remote server. I swear many tech evangelist are fatally near sighted.
    Scatcatpdx
  • Good thinking.

    With all that Tokyo has going for it, it sure has alot going against it. When Katrina hit, a baby was born 250 northwest of N.O.. 2 months later, that baby still didn't have a birth certificate and the parents had to get their embassy in Houston to ask the state department for permission to take the baby home.

    2 words. Topeka, Kansas. Just make sure you have a tornado proof building to put your data store in.
    dbisse@...
  • RE: Tokyo earthquake, tsunami puts data centers, cloud services at risk

    Japan knew they were in an earthquake prone zone, it was known that it was a "When" not an "IF" it was going to happen, therefore the idea of a DR plan is to look at what to do if ANYTHING happens, this is included in that anything. Many of these data centres are site replicated to other datacentres in other countries. Yes the internet might be down but the data isnt lost for good (which it might have been if the datacentre was destroyed by the tsunami or the quake). so all of you who are saying that you shouldnt trust cloud backups, i feel sorry for you when something like this happens and your computer (and backup) is destroyed because its all stored in the one location.
    There are definatly merrits to doing a hybrid backup, online and local.
    remember, your data is only as safe as your last recoverable backup
    broughman@...
  • Really Sad event :(

    Wishing you the best of luck Japan.<br><br><i>The Judgement day is coming, the day when all this will fade off the surface of the earth</i> <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/plain.gif" alt="plain">
    MrElectrifyer