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Kobe Steel to strengthen disaster recovery measures for computer systems: Plans to implement real-time backup system
June 30, 2005

TOKYO, June 30, 2005 - Kobe Steel, Ltd. will implement a disaster recovery plan that includes a real-time backup system for its computer systems. The plan will enable operations to continue with minimal disruption in the event of a disaster.

The Japanese steelmaker will spend 200 million yen on hardware and budget an extra 30 million yen a year to operate the new backup system. This is believed to be the first real-time backup system to be used in the Japanese steel industry.

Computers are essential in business. When disasters or problems occur, computers may have to be shut down, disrupting operations. Earthquakes have occurred more frequently in recent years, and the need for stronger disaster recovery measures has grown sharply.

Kobe Steel's businesses cover a broad range of industries including steel, aluminum, copper, machinery and engineering. Supported by strong demand, its manufacturing facilities are in full production and customers expect stable deliveries. To provide business continuity in the computer systems, it is essential for Kobe Steel to strengthen the disaster recovery measures for the systems.

The company's main data centers are located in three locations. The Nadahama Data Center in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, covers the head office, machinery, engineering and welding operations. The Kakogawa Data Center, also in Hyogo Prefecture, looks after steel operations. The Moka Data Center in Tochigi Prefecture oversees the aluminum business.

At present, Kobe Steel makes backup tapes of its data each night. In the event of a major quake, Kobe Steel believes it would take its data centers as long as one month to completely recover. To minimize data loss and speed up recovery time, Kobe Steel decided to implement a recovery plan centered on a real-time backup system.

Under a three-point recovery plan, Kobe Steel believes it will lose only 4% of its data if it is hit by an earthquake of 7 on the Japanese scale of 7, the same intensity as the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995. Without the improved plan, nearly 100% of its information would be damaged or lost.

The disaster recovery plan consists of the following:

  1. Base Isolation Systems
    Kobe Steel plans to place its data storage systems on base isolation systems installed in the floor. A base isolation system consists of ball bearings sandwiched between two steel plates. In an earthquake, the base isolation system dampens the ground motion, protecting the storage units from damage up to an estimated level 6 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7. From July, Kobe Steel will begin installing the systems at its main data centers in Nadahama, Kakogawa and Moka. Work is expected to be completed by March 2006. Base isolation systems will also be installed at other manufacturing locations.

  2. Backing up the data centers
    Information in data storage systems at the data centers will be backed up twice. A data storage system consists of a number of disk units. Each disk unit contains several disks. Plans call for the data in each unit to be backed up within the unit. In addition, the data in the entire storage system will be backed up. The backup systems at the three centers are expected to be completed by September 2005.

  3. Remote backup between Nadahama and Kakogawa data centers
    Nearly 90% of Kobe Steel's data processing is undertaken by the Nadahama and Kakogawa data centers, located approximately 40 kilometers apart. Information at Nadahama will be backed up on a real-time basis at Kakogawa and vice versa. Plans call for the remote backup system to be completed by December 2005.

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