March 11, 2011 – As the direct human cost of the huge earthquake and tsunami in Japan is measured and widely reported, massive infrastructure damage is also apparent, and extends to utilities and less critical but important public and private services.

Beyond essential services such as energy and drinking water, there are early reports from dozens of data centers and cloud service providers connected to corporations such as Salesforce, Yahoo! and Amazon.

Nationwide, Japan is home to a large data center industry, and a cloud services industry that Gartner's research pegged at about 10 percent of world cloud revenue in 2010.

According to continual updates from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication (Google translation link) and the Japanese office of news outlet ZDNet (Google translation link), about one dozen major data centers and cloud facilities had reported back with varying degrees of problems, though no loss of life.

Salesforce reportedly re-routed some traffic for its Trans-Pacific Internet carriers to minimize problems. Japanese data center operator NTT Communications noted that its hosting and collocation services were out from connection issues following the quake. A handful of other cloud providers and data centers in the region north of Tokyo hardest hit by the tsunami Friday morning had reported connection issues and use of emergency power or storage.

An Amazon cloud facility that had opened recently had experienced no issues as of 5:30 p.m. ET, according its site. IDC Frontier, which counts Yahoo! as a customer, had reported no problems in its nine data centers in the region, according to the online reports.

The Japan Data Center Council has a standardized approach for members to follow in constructing data centers to deal with earthquakes (Google translation link).  

The U.S. Department of Interior’s Geological Survey continues to monitor the magnitude of the earthquake and tsunami. As of Friday afternoon, the number of lives lost in the dual disasters hovered around 1,000, according to multiple news outlets. For updates on relief efforts, visit the American Red Cross.

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