As visitors and some citizens seek to depart Japan, will data follow? Although no data centers in Tokyo have had their operations affected by Friday's earthquake and tsunami, one service provider is offering customers the option of shifting their data out of its Tokyo data centers.
Cloud storage provider Nirvanix emphasized that its data center in Tokyo is secure and is approximately 200 miles away from the areas hardest hit by the disaster, and that all services remain normal and available at this time. But the company said that existing customers seeking "extra peace of mind" now have the option of moving their data from Tokyo to other locations in the Nirvanix Cloud Storage Network, either on a temporary or full-time basis, free of charge. The company has data centers in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Frankfurt, Germany.
"Our hearts and minds are with those impacted in Japan and we are standing by ready to assist our customers during this tragic time," said Scott Genereux, President & CEO of Nirvanix. "One of the business benefits our customers have by leveraging Nirvanix cloud solutions is the ability to move data whenever they need to, across continents. Should our customers have the desire to move their data out of region, we will make sure that it is transitioned smoothly and in a timely manner, with absolutely no disruption to their business operations."
Cloud Offers Data Portability
The ability to easily shift data between locations is a key benefit of cloud computing. But is moving data out of Tokyo an overreaction? Nirvanix apparently isn't the only one who has pondered the possibility.
"There are some people who are working to move their bits off servers in Japan," blogger Dave Ohara wrote on Monday. "With fiber and power access a risk, let alone another earthquake or Japan’s infrastructure being reprioritized, there are some who are making plans for a Japan data center going offline. The ones who can do this are the ones with geo-redundancy and spare capacity in other countries."
David Vellante, President of IT think tank Wikibon.org, thinks the Nirvanix offer makes sense. "In times like these we want to send money, aid, resources or prayers," said Vellante. "This gesture by Nirvanix is business helping other businesses in a time of need, taking advantage of the global footprint of the Web and the resilient power of the cloud. It makes us begin to re-think business continuity in the 21st century."
Colocation provider Equinix is taking a different approach to the disaster, offering free services to help companies route around connectivity problems caused by earthquake damage to undersea telecom cables.
"While there has been no impact to the Equinix Tokyo TY1 and TY2 facilities and services, we understand the subsea communications infrastructure has been impaired and would like to offer our assistance in the restoration effort," the company said. "Equinix can create private VLANs over our exchange fabric to allow service providers with available capacity to quickly set up bilateral VLAN connections with other providers in need of capacity. This service will be performed free of charge for restoration purpose." See the Equinix web site for details.