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

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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.


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

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

YouTube's CitizenTube

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