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Bangladesh Considers Building World's 5th-largest Data Center In Earthquake Zone 65

An anonymous reader writes with news about a government plan to build a Tier IV data center in an earthquake prone district of Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Ministry of Information is considering the establishment of a Tier 4 data centre in Kaliakair, in the Gazipur region, an ambitious build which would constitute the fifth largest data centre in the world, if completed. And if it survives – the site planned for the project is prone to earthquakes. Earthquake activity in the environs is discouraging, with one nearby earthquake seven months ago in Ranir Bazar (3.8), and no less than ten within the same tectonic zone over the last three years, the largest of which measured 4.5 on the Richter scale.
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Bangladesh Considers Building World's 5th-largest Data Center In Earthquake Zone

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  • by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @12:40AM (#48044285) Homepage

    And what is the probability of serious earthquakes in the area?

    In Bangladesh I would be more worried about flooding and power reliability.

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      Everyone said I was daft to build a datacenter on an earthquake-prone swamp, but I built in all the same, just to show them. It sank into the swamp. So I built a second one. That sank into the swamp. So I built a third. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. And that's what you're going to get, Lad, the strongest datacenter in all of Bangladesh.
  • by nadaou ( 535365 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @12:43AM (#48044295) Homepage

    Good thing there are no tech companies along the San Andreas!

    And before anyone goes on to say that M3s and M4s are an order of magnitude or two smaller than a M5, the energy is more like 32 times more intense for each magnitude level, it's not log10.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Can you even feel a 4.5? Its not like its gonna red shift all my data below the noise threshold.

      I've got bigger news: people live in Japan. Not just considering living there, but live there now. People harder to protect from earthquakes than servers, and their earthquakes are way bigger. Building a datacenter from scratch to resist earthquakes sounds trivial compared to bullet trains and skyscrapers.

  • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @12:49AM (#48044327)

    The tabloid journalism is strong in this one. A 4.5 magnitude quake is utterly insignificant when it comes to structural design. If this project is as large as promised it will be designed by serious engineers to withstand significant quakes and not even notice something in the 4s.

    From wikipedia

    4.0–4.9 Light IV to VI
    Noticeable shaking of indoor objects and rattling noises. Felt by most people in the affected area. Slightly felt outside. Generally causes none to minimal damage. Moderate to significant damage very unlikely. Some objects may fall off shelves or be knocked over.

    Frequency of occurrance - 10,000 to 15,000 per year

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EvanED ( 569694 )

      Let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations. Based on [] (linked from TFA), I count five quakes in the last 3 years that are moderately close. (I'm counting the red, blue, and pink markers to the left, and orange and brown a little to the east; the latter are a bit questionable.) All of them are in the 4s in magnitude.

      As a rough estimation (admittedly one that will probably diverge exponentially in any error), if you increase the magnitude 1 level, you decrease the frequen

      • In addition to this the article (I know I know who reads articles!) says there has been an exodus of Japanese data centres post the major earth quakes they had. A quick bit of research found that is a load of crap and they only place that claims that is a press release from a company that sells data centre space.

        What I actually found was talk about how the Japanese DCs stayed live during the quake and that their systems handled it perfectly.

      • Great link by the way!

        I loved this

        There have been: (M1.5 or greater)
        97 earthquakes today
        909 earthquakes in the past 7 days
        3,131 earthquakes in the past month
        37,752 earthquakes in the past year

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @01:50AM (#48044517)

      A 4.5 magnitude quake is utterly insignificant when it comes to structural design.

      Indeed. I live in the SF Bay Area. A 4.5 is enough to wake you up if you are a light sleeper, but will not cause damage to anything.

      • Not only that, but an area that's getting regular 3.5 quakes (although Richter went out of style a long time ago -- what kind of quakes are these?) is probably an area that's got nicely slipping plates and is unlikely to have "the big one". Unlike places like say, Seattle, which will eventually be devastated by a major quake. Regular quakes also mean that their infrastructure is likely set up to deal with quakes, which is also a plus. As long as they aren't putting the thing on oceanfront property or dir

    • It's a data centre, with spinning platter hard drives. I'd be more worried about the hard drives than the building with a sub-5 magnitude quake. In some circumstances, just yelling at an array of drives is enough to push the vibrations over the edge, causing massive performance degradation.
      • You will get more shock from someone slamming a door near them, or accidentally driving a trolley cart into their cabinet.

        • Trolley cart - sure. Slamming a door? I'm not so sure. I've experienced quite a few 4-5 magnitude quakes and I definitely feel them more than someone slamming a door nearby.
      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @04:38AM (#48044955) Homepage

        It's a 'major' data centre, I would be worried about getting data in and getting data out. It really makes no sense to build one huge data centre and have it reliant on localised, power, staff, weather, tectonic stability and all those communications cables coming in and going out. Having to shift huge amounts of data very long distances. As the amount of data rises, so the idea of building data centres to service each and every capital city around the world makes a whole lot more sense. This enables full mirroring of international data services, distributed back up of any data centre across other data centres and full content distribution services and even the contracted provision of game servers. Building many distributed data centres enables you to do many more things and of course localise those data centres in terms of government regulations and avoid a range of judicially or law enforcement inspired issues. How small a population should be served with a data centre, that really depends on how much you get into those other data handling services, like mirroring, game serving and content distribution, localising that traffic saves a huge amount of money and, local sales staff always benefits sales and allows you to tweak services for that locale.

        • by tomhath ( 637240 )
          I'm pretty sure that is exactly why this data center is being built. Hype that it's going to be the "World's 5-Largest data center" doesn't mean much. Data centers are getting bigger all the time so of course it's bigger than older ones.
          • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

            With modern storage and compact device, data centres serving capital cities are shrinking, only adding in additional services keeps the of appreciable size. Companies are not building the cloud, they are building hurricanes, concentrated locations of inevitable failure (systems always end up catastrophically failing for one reason or another). Have smaller distributed system means one fails and the others pick up the load, one big system means one failure results in massive loss of business. Engineers alwa

      • This is why we can't have nice things like spinning drives in portable computers and stuff.

    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      That is true. But the technical know-how how to reduce even stronger earthquake strength inside a building is well know - the extreme example is of course those structures made to tolerate human-created earthquakes: "ground zero" type nuclear bunkers. Less extreme but still relevant is buildings for micro-fabrication (integrated circuits).
      Protecting HDDs from earthquakes is simple in comparison.

  • construct a Nuclear power plant next to it, it can't be that bad.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      No problems, they plan to construct it 500 yards downstream from the dam in order to avoid power loss during transmission. []

    • Indonesia is preparing to build a nuclear power plant. Those of us who live with its antiquated electricity supply network, third-world standard railway infrastructure, a national airline that was banned from landing at European airports until quite recently, more shipping disasters than possibly any other country, plus world-ranking corruption, look on in bemused wonderment.

  • No worries (Score:4, Funny)

    by cstec ( 521534 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @12:54AM (#48044345)
    I was totally good with storing private customer data in Bangladesh before.
    • I was totally good with storing private customer data in Bangladesh before.

      How good are you about your own private data being stored in Bangladesh?

      • I was totally good with storing private customer data in Bangladesh before.

        How good are you about your own private data being stored in Bangladesh?


        Anyway with a username like "sociocapitalist", shouldn't you be advocating storing information wherever it's cheapest?

  • Japan’s recent history of catastrophic earthquakes has driven a great deal of its former data centre infrastructure to outsourcing to more stable locations

    Hmmph. According to news reports, some Tokyo data centers established backup locations in Osaka, near the epicenter of Great Hanshin earthquake []. Hardly a "more stable location".

    • The international sub-atomic physics community is discussing where to build the next really big project. One leading candidate is Japan, because they seem to be interested in picking up a sizable chunk of the bill. (There are other politically inspired reasons, like the lack of this kind of facility anywhere in the eastern hemisphere.)

      So how much ground displacement was there in 2011 during the Great East Japan Earthquake []?

      By analyzing over 500 GPS stations, the GFZ scientists Rongjiang Wang and Thomas Walt

      • Not a great comparison Big physics requires precise alignment, computer equipment not so much.

      • by Harlequin80 ( 1671040 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @03:21AM (#48044761)

        You seem to have forgotten that all risks have a probability factor as well. That quake was huge, and very rare. Yeah they happen, but what is the life expectancy of the facility? 50 years? There will be a probability associated with earthquake risk during that period, does the risk out weigh the other benefits? Whether that probability is accurate is an entirely different question but it still exists.

        Otherwise every seismic sensitive structure would be built in the centre of Australia.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I am being so sorry mister American Looking For A Cheap IT Fix!
    Our entire data center was at the epicenter of last weeks earthquake and has disappeared into a sinkhole!
    Backup facility? What American bullshit you are speaking to me! Were you not paying bottom dollar?
    Oh yes. And we are being sued by the families of all of the underpaid technician workers who we had leg-shacked to their desks, which were bolted into the floors. They too went down with the building!
    What? Responding to your emails? No no n

  • As long as the risk is identified, mitigated with good engineering, and costs from extra engineering are acceptable, there's no issue here.
  • Seriously ... ?!

  • How many datacenters are there up and down the west coast of the united states? We have 4.x quakes several times a year. What's the big deal? Hell, there was a 7.0ish here in Tacoma about 10 years ago.

    • How many datacenters are there up and down the west coast of the united states? We have 4.x quakes several times a year. What's the big deal? Hell, there was a 7.0ish here in Tacoma about 10 years ago.

      This is Bangladesh. Remember how buildings in Bangladesh are? In a country noted for corruption?

      • by Megol ( 3135005 )

        Most of us don't remember because we have never known. And your cute try to link corruption to building quality have to be substantiated by some kind of facts.
        There are a lot of countries with high levels of corruption that also have generally good building standards.

  • by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @02:41AM (#48044633)

    Thanks folks, I'll be here all week.

  • "Simple" solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dutchmaan ( 442553 ) on Thursday October 02, 2014 @02:57AM (#48044689) Homepage
    Create an artificial lake and build the structure floating on it. Use the water for cooling and for shock protection from earthquakes.
  • The largest is probably in an earthquate zone - San Francisco or Tokyo.
    Also, in a way that initially seems counter-intuitive, tall buildings cope better in earthquakes than shorter ones. They flex. Of course that doesn't save you from a street full of rubble and all the cables severed.
    • I think largest would be The SuperNAP in Vegas in terms of power-- I think they are close to 80MW of UPS. No one facility in California compares to that. I would doubt Tokyo would have anything at that scale; it would be well outside the city.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    503 Service Unavailable.

    Did slashdot migrate so soon?

  • they won't need a separate cover story for a plane hitting next door when they decide to take it down.
  • Build something ($$$) => destroy by earthquake => Build it again with insurance ($$$) => destroy by earthquake => Build it again with more insurance ($$$) => ...

    It's like an infinite loop of money-making scheme. Now before you say anything bad about it, it can actually produce a lot of jobs and raise GDP drastically: constructors, engineers, rescuers, doctors, insurers, teachers for new engineers to replace the dead, and priests and carpenters too for coffins.

  • Half the population lives below even THEIR poverty line? Every year about a million of them die from drowing, malaria etc. And of course PsychoIslam Headchopping is making significant inroads. I really can't think of a more pointless idea than this.

Mediocrity finds safety in standardization. -- Frederick Crane