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How Japan's Data Centers Survived the Earthquake

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the godzillaproofing-comes-in-handy dept.

Japan 37

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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Cue the (-1, Offtopic)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36635736)

Here comes the onslaught of Sony security jokes...

I was going to make a Square Enix joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36635936)

I was going to make a Square Enix joke - because their data centers didn't survive the quake.

Actually, they did. It's just that then the whole "loss of power production capacity" thing happened. And they had to turn off their data centers in order to reduce their power usage.

Which is strange, because the data center they turned off was for Final Fantasy XIV - their failed MMO. Not sure why it was on in the first place. Also included FFXI, which still has players, so it's not like they didn't lose some money from the deal.

It's actually even more hilarious than that, because they recently moved their data center from an area that was completely unaffected by the quake to Tokyo, which was hit by the brown outs. So they basically managed to have horrible luck.

Note that it'd be somewhat tragic if these were actual IT services that people used for actual work, but they're not. They're data centers for really bad online games that by all rights shouldn't still exist in the first place. Which makes it funny.

Nubile Girls with Censored Pussies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36635760)

Has anyone else noticed that Japanese porn almost always consists of a circle jerk with a frightened girl getting jizzed on my 7 guys?

The craziest part is that for some reason her pussy is censored out!

It's like, hey Japan, do you think that if maybe you didn't censor out the vag, gangs of men might not be cuming on your women?

Well... (2)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36635768)

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

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36635788)

because its on slashdot.

Please correct me if I'm wrong... (2)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636192)

...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:Please correct me if I'm wrong... (1, Insightful)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36637362)

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.

Re:Please correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36637368)

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.

Re:Please correct me if I'm wrong... (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 3 years ago | (#36638328)

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 bumfuck nowhere, but they have at least 1 diesel generator and a bunch of battery backup.

Re:Please correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36638420)

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.

Re:Please correct me if I'm wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36639052)

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

And the DSL lines were up right along with the phones (Powered by the same equipment)

And you need power to have computers that can access the internet.

Not the power that comes over the grid you don't, at least for short times such as those in which the grid was down. All mobile devices contain a battery and can run for a time without grid power.

Most devices except perhaps older and heavily used cell phones would last more than just a couple hours.
There are a LOT of mobile devices in Japan.

I failt to see the point of anything you said.

Just because you do not understand, does not mean what parent said didn't make sense and isn't correct.

sigh (1)

errandum (2014454) | more than 3 years ago | (#36644480)

Excuse me...

If DSL was up, then phones were up. DSL travels through your phone lines.

Also, nowadays, TV, phone and internet all share the same "pipes". Saying that "the internet was one of the only things working" is bulls**t.

If the internet worked, then everything else was working. Whatever he or you were trying to prove is irrelevant.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36636390)

It was the buildings in the coastal cities far, far away from the ocean making the news.

It's the power .... (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 3 years ago | (#36638022)

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? (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36635772)

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?

Re:Post-quake Japan? (2)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 3 years ago | (#36635806)

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.

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636076)

and the car dealerships did?

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636264)

and the car dealerships did?

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

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36636272)

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

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 3 years ago | (#36637158)

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

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36637738)

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 ...

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#36635926)

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? (4, Informative)

PerfectionLost (1004287) | more than 3 years ago | (#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.

Re:Post-quake Japan? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36636452)

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

Re:Post-quake Japan? (2)

That Guy From Mrktng (2274712) | more than 3 years ago | (#36637550)

Yes it's dumb to build nuclear reactors in places that can be flooded... oh, wait.

Maybe... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36635996)

What about including a data center in future reactor projects? -- cynicism, for the obtuse

Strange... (2)

RottenJ (2060834) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636026)

Funny, I just got a call from my AT&T datacenter rep, apparently he needs to raise our monthly fees.

Re:Strange... (2)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 3 years ago | (#36636610)

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...

Pacific Plate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36636784)

The United States is a hump in the Earth created by the Pacific plate pushing past and under the North American plate. As a Pacific plater (San Diego), be warned that we don't intent to stop being pushy any time soon. If you've ever driven in LA you know what we're like.

it's a 3rd world country, how cares !!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36637058)

Japan is a 3rd world country as evidenced by Fukushiama: incompetence and corruption. In Japan all this STUPID bowing and Shit. Who cares what these IDIOTS do in JAPAN. They kill wales and they did vivsections in WW II. Fsck them.

Re:it's a 3rd world country, how cares !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36637594)

USA is a 3rd world country as evidenced by the Wall Street pwnage: cluelessness and corruption. In USA all this STUPID dope blowing and shit. Who cares whats there IDIOTS do in USA. They poison the whole world and torture brown people for the lulz. Fsck them.

Re:it's a 3rd world country, how cares !!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36637830)

Behind all of this is the one group that cannot be criticized for their actions no matter how unjust.

Did the Dimona Dozen murder the Fukushima 50? [jimstonefreelance.com]

be safe! put nuke in data center! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36637196)

lame, but had to be said. :}

Good planning except for in the Tsunami zone. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36637532)

If tsunami's are expected in an area plan for a 9.1 quake in the WORST possible place that is POSSIBLE. Even if it isn't likely _possible_, especially when it comes to geology, is almost certainly going to be worse because most don't expect it. Oddly, many in charge forget Murphy has a very bad sense of humor and doesn't care if you aren't expecting the worst case.

Then get advice from experts as to how high a tsunami is likely to be, then add 5-10 feet to that, ESPECIALLY if you're building a freaking nuclear power plant in this area. >_ Roads driving by the coast when a sudden quake hits is almost as bad. Build a freaking earthworks around a a town to blunt the wave at the very least and, heck, make it decorative so it's not an eyesore. A harbor and river makes it tough but less so than watching your house get carried away.

Engineering, not Architecture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36638102)

Architects are in charge of aesthetics. Engineers are in charge of functionality. Last time I checked, designing a structure against [insert-force-of-nature] required substantial engineering work not overzealous use of curves in an attempt to harmonize the data center. Engineers everywhere should be cringing at that statement. The one time we get to take the credit...they give it to the architects. There aren't enough face-palm memes in the universe to make things right again.

Re:Engineering, not Architecture (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 3 years ago | (#36639174)

Architects are in charge of aesthetics. Engineers are in charge of functionality.

The greatest structures are the ones where the architects and engineers were the same people/person.

Good backup (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36639170)

All the hentai is backed up offshore. Everything else is expendable.

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