Posts Tagged ‘Japan’
It was January 2012, not quite a year ago, when The Economist published an article entitled, “The rising cost of catastrophes.” The article contained an important bit of guidance:
For their part companies need to operate on the assumption that a disaster will strike at some point.
In 32 states and the District of Columbia, “some point” happened this year. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the number of “Major Disaster Declarations” reached 46 in 2012. And while that is far fewer than the 99 that occurred in 2011, the decline provides no relief for those that were impacted by the disasters that did occur, especially the ten states that declared disasters due to Hurricane Sandy.
The author of the article also wrote:
Disasters are inevitable; their consequences need not be.
For the most part, we agree with the premise. In a pursuit of efficiency, some organizations have over-optimized their infrastructure at the expense of resilience. One data center, for example, can be operated more efficiently than two. But having two data centers provides more resilience, especially if they are geographically separated.
When it is not possible to operate outside of a high-risk area, the infrastructure, itself, can be made more resilient. In Japan, for example, in both buildings and data center racks, the use of shock absorbers is common place. This enables organizations in Tokyo to survive the frequent, moderately-severe earthquakes that occur.
Certainly, we can’t eliminate the risk of every event. Few could survive a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, like the one that occurred near the east coast of Honshu in 2011. But the risk can, just as certainly, be reduced. There are two flawed assumptions that occur all too frequently in organizations. They are:
- A major disaster will never happen to us.
- If a major disaster happens, there’s nothing we can do about it.
As we approach the New Year, if we are going assume anything, it should be that we need to assume more personal responsibility.
We wish you all a Happy New Year; one in which you are well prepared for whatever comes your way.
This year, 2011, has been a year of tremendous natural disasters. It began with heavy rainfall in January in Queensland, Australia, and Rio de Janeiro Brazil, causing flooding, landslides, and crop losses. An earthquake in New Zealand followed in February, causing building collapses and an estimated $12 Billion in damages. Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March resulted in the loss of an estimated 20,000 lives, massive destruction of buildings, loss of power and disruptions to transportation systems, a hurricane in the Eastern United States left 7 million people without power for days and many without power for weeks. Floods in Thailand that began in the summer and continued into December, flooded the capital, killed more than 500 residents and disrupted the lives of millions. In August, an earthquake rocked Virginia and shook buildings as far away as Massachusetts. And a rare October snow storm hit the North Eastern United States, leaving millions without power for days.
In all of this tragedy, there are some important observations:
- Disasters will strike where they are expected, such as the earthquake in Japan, and where they are not, such as the earthquake in Virginia.
- Disasters will strike when they are expected, such as hurricanes in the late summer, and when they are not, such as massive snow storms in the fall.
- Localized disasters, such as the floods in Thailand, can have far-reaching effects, such as the global disruption of the supply chain for disk drives.
The science that enables the prediction of the location, the size and the effect of natural disasters is improving, but it is far from perfect. The local impact of natural disasters is increasing, because people and businesses are migrating into a massive urban areas. The global impact of natural disasters is increasing, because the supply chain is highly specialized into centers of expertise, but at the same time is globally interconnected and interdependent. Because of this specialization, a flood in a relatively small country can impact the global availability and price of products for which the country provides a single, but critical component.
Perhaps the most valuable lesson in all of this tragedy is that a highly efficient global operation that concentrates capabilities into unique centers of expertise, leaves itself exposed to massive disruption from localized disasters and their impact on infrastructure and the workforce. One of our customers has reduced this risk by creating dual centers of expertise, separated not by hundreds of miles, but by half the globe. With the help of Axxana, these dual centers will operate not only highly efficiently, but 100% in synch. Perhaps it is time to re-think your strategy as well.
Sumitomo Corporation has a venture arm, Presidio Ventures. Sumitomo helps Presidio’s portfolio companies expand their business in the Japan and Asia regions. And there’s plenty of business in Japan and Asia.
For anyone who has followed the string of natural disasters that have affected the Japan and Asia regions, it should be no surprise that Sumitomo is interested in any technology that can help organizations survive and recover from a disaster. But Sumitomo didn’t invest in just any technology. They invested in ours.
There are plenty of solutions that help corporations restore their applications and data after a disaster. There are existing solutions for tape backup and disk-based backup. There are disk snapshot and remote asynchronous replication solutions. All of these help restore operations, but they also all leave data exposed and many lead to long recovery times.
One of the reasons we are so attractive in the Japan and Asia markets is that we reduce costs and enable extended distances, while protecting all of the data and enabling rapid recovery. Much of the savings that we deliver come from reduced data communications charges, which are particularly high in the Asia region.
We are thrilled to have Sumitomo on board as investors, and know that with the help of Sumitomo, we can ensure that businesses operating in the Japan and Asia regions, protect their data and their business.