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How Japan's Data Centers Survived the Earthquake 37

Posted by Soulskill
from the godzillaproofing-comes-in-handy dept.
jfruhlinger writes "A lot of Japan's infrastructure was knocked offline by this year's massive earthquake and tsunami, but its data centers by and large stayed running. How'd they pull it off? Good architecture and good planning, for the most part. But the data centers still face challenges in post-quake Japan, not least a new law mandating reductions in power use."
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How Japan's Data Centers Survived the Earthquake

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  • by errandum (2014454) on Friday July 01, 2011 @01:43PM (#36635768)

    Almost every single building that wasn't in a coastal city or near the ocean survived. Why is this news?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      because its on slashdot.

    • ...but I seem to recall a lot of reports from the aftermath of the 'quake commenting on the fact that the Internet was often the only utility still working for people.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by errandum (2014454)

        Almost 100% of japan's buildings built in the last decades are built to withstand earthquakes.

        The fact that the datacenters were secure only means that they weren't built next to the ocean (the tsunami did the real damage in most cases).

        This is a normal thing to happen. Interesting, but not news.

      • by errandum (2014454)

        oh, and by the way, if the internet was working, then electricity had to be working, and so did the phones. I highly doubt that you heard that anywhere.

        • Sorry, but phones run on 50v and can run for up to a week from battery & generators. The power grid can go down and you won't notice it. I remember this after the Newcastle, NSW, Australia earthquake. We lost power and water, but the phones ran for the 2 days we had no power/water.

          Plus, I worked for Telstra and did some stuff in the exchanges in Newcastle. ALL of them have at least 100 batteries and dual generators. The ONLY exchanges that don't have dual generators are little comms huts they have in bu

          • by errandum (2014454)

            I meant phones, as in, DSL and the like. It has nothing to do with power.

            And you need power to have computers that can access the internet. I failt to see the point of anything you said.

    • Because it wasn't the building that were damaged; they had rolling brownouts due to the nuke plants destruction.

      So data centers without backup power were in trouble, and --- wait, why is this news?

  • Post-quake Japan? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Friday July 01, 2011 @01:44PM (#36635772) Journal

    Japan is a hump in the Earth created by subduction of the Pacific plate under the North American plate (yes, Japan is tectonically a part of North America).

    Japan will only be post-quake when the Pacific plate stops digging under it.

    They survived this quake because they're being rattled persistently. They survived it the way everyone else survives persistent exposure to dihydrogen monoxide, a known corrosive agent, or high-frequency near-visible photons, a known carcinogen. They are adapted to live in it because it is a continually reoccurring part of their environment.

    Tsunamis, however, are a bugbear they are not really prepared for... did any data centers in the wet zone survive?

    • by bluemonq (812827)

      Tsunamis, however, are a bugbear they are not really prepared for... did any data centers in the wet zone survive?

      There are no data centers in that region... precisely because they didn't want to have to deal with tsunamis.

      • by blair1q (305137)

        and the car dealerships did?

        • by ArcherB (796902)

          and the car dealerships did?

          Data centers may be located anywhere. Car dealerships need to be close their customers.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Car dealerships pretty much have to be placed where people are. Data centers can easily be dozens or hundreds of miles away.

          • It is a funny thing that people choose to live there, but the area is too dangerous for datacenters.

            • Maybe the people operating the data centers should also have been responsible for the nuclear power plants.

              Well, except Sony. Because then we would not speak about a nuclear power plant failure due to a tsunami, but a nuclear power plant failure due to insufficient security ...

    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Tsunamis, however, are a bugbear they are not really prepared for... did any data centers in the wet zone survive?

      Data centers and such can be built on a mountainside to put it out of the reach of most tsunamis.

    • Re:Post-quake Japan? (Score:4, Informative)

      by PerfectionLost (1004287) <ben@@@perfectresolution...com> on Friday July 01, 2011 @02:38PM (#36636290)

      Did any data centers in the wet zone survive?

      From the Article:

      Another mitigating factor was that 70 percent of Japan's data centers are in the Tokyo region, which escaped relatively lightly. There are no data centers in the northeast where the tsunami hit, in part because that's precisely where tsunamis are expected.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Same reason they didn't build any nuclear reactors in that area...oh, right.

  • Funny, I just got a call from my AT&T datacenter rep, apparently he needs to raise our monthly fees.
    • My employer just changed providers away form AT&T, precisely for that reason. Our new vendor is more then twice as fast, at half the price. I feel sorry for those in areas where AT&T is the only provider...
  • All the hentai is backed up offshore. Everything else is expendable.

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