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A Disaster Can Teach Us What’s Possible

Posted by hitz in Dave's Blog on Apr 10, 2012 5:10:38 AM

Sometimes a disaster can inspire things that people wouldn’t even consider in normal times. After the earthquake and tsunami last year in Japan, that’s what happened at Softbank, a large telco/Internet provider.


Like everyone in Japan, Softbank asked what they could do to help. Companies were shut down, and Softbank realized that virtual desktops could help people get back to work. Japan is not a work-at-home culture, but at this point, public transportation was severely disrupted, and there was no choice. Softbank was one year into a two year project to provide Desktop as a Service (DaaS), and they were far enough along to move fast. Focusing especially on non-profit organizations and the government, they began offering cloud desktops just three days after March 11, when the crisis began.


Softbank’s external offering was modeled on an internal DaaS project, and they accelerated that as well. Only one of three business units had converted, but the team reduced the time to create a thousand virtual desktops from a week to a day, and in short order they added 14,000 more. The government had asked all companies to reduce power consumption by 25%, because so many nuclear power plants were shut down, but Softbank managed to cut power at their headquarters by 39%.


I freely admit that cloud computing isn’t usually about helping a country get back on its feet after a nationwide disaster, but it is inspiring when it can be used that way, which is why we are highlighting Softbank and their work.


Here is a video about Softbank and what they’ve done. Here is a Q&A about Softbank with myself and Ty McConney, who runs our Japanese business. And here is a technical case study.


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