Fri, Jan 10, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Hitachi promotes its data backup systems

By Bill Heaney  /  STAFF REPORTER

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and fires could do more than just physical damage to local companies if they haven't backed up their data at a second site, an official at Hitachi Data Systems Ltd said yesterday.

"There has been an increase in concentration on disaster [data] recovery, not just after the [Sept. 11, 2001] terror attacks in the US, but also after the large [Sept. 21, 1999] earthquake in Taiwan," said Greg Cornfield, executive vice president and general manager of Hitachi Data in the Asia-Pacific region.

Hitachi Data was involved in recovering data for many of the companies that had offices in the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York.

Some companies had backed up their data at only one site in the tower, and could not recover their data after the attack. Since those events, more companies are backing up their data in different geographical centers, sometimes even offshore, Cornfield said.

In militarily sensitive areas of the world, this has been the practice for many years. Relations on the Korean peninsula are currently strained as the North Koreans re-start their nuclear power plants. Seoul, the capital of South Korea, is only 32km from the North Korean border.

"Seoul backs up its data in the middle and south of the country," Cornfield said.

In Taiwan, the world's largest manufacturer of made-to-order computer chips, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), is also one of Hitachi's customers.

"We do spend a lot of effort on data protection," said Tzeng Jinnhaw (曾晉皓), a spokesperson at TSMC. "Earthquakes are a frequent occurrence in Taiwan and they are part of the threat to us, as well as power outages or fire."

An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale rocked Taiwan in September 1999, killing more than 2,100 people and knocking out power lines. TSMC's production was disrupted for 10 days after the quake.

Businesses continue to demand more storage, and with greater dependence on storage come greater risks from lost data.

Online banking, for example, requires vast amounts of data storage. News Web sites archive huge amounts of text and images. Medical researchers need to perform millions of calculations on molecular particles, the results of which need to be stored.

Media streaming, where live video is broadcast on the Web, also requires massive storage banks. One of Hitachi's largest customers in this area is China's state-run television station, China Central Television. In 2008, the station plans to provide live footage of the Olympic Games to viewers on the Web.

News provider CNBC is also a customer of Hitachi and the network uses their services to provide fast access to archived material on its Web site. This material used to be stored on tape, Cornfield said, and every few years the formats changed and had to be copied over to new formats. With digital storage, this is no longer necessary.

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