where the writers are
The Systems Disaster
hanging flowers.jpg

The US economy must be picking up.  I received some email from US recruiters.  There must be a demand for infrastructure and disaster recovery experts there.  This is a coincident because I've been following up on a secondary disaster following the earthquake and tsunami.  The Mizuho Bank's systems disaster showed up a few days after 3/11.

Mizuho has reported that deposits into two earthquake-relief funds inundated their systems after March 12th but couldn't handle it.  "It" is the problem.  We don't know exactly what it is.  The systems started limping afterward, but partially operating systems meant not working at all.  The batch window is limited.  It must complete by morning.  I think the bank couldn't balance all the accounts before the start of the following day. 

This was in the middle of the Disaster.  Affected people needed cash.  The bank closed all ATMs for three days to recover, but they announced that the users could go to their branch offices and withdraw up to 100000 yen which is about $1200.  Guess what?  Some users went to their different branch offices and kept withdrawing 100000 yen even though they didn't have money in their account.  Talking of chaos!  The problem didn't come to end until 10 days later. 

To compete in the global financial world, Mizuho was created by merging three large banks, Fuji, Daiich-Kangyo, and Kougyo banks.  Not two but three banks at the same time.  It kept the old accounting systems of former Daiichi-Kangyo Bank, and the up-to-date information systems of the former Fuji Bank.  So, the system could handle transactions from all over the world all day and probably almost all night. So, you can imagine the kind of systems projects they had to go through.  It must have been very tough, so when I heard of their 2002 system outage, I was sympathetic to their systems programmers.  They probably had many sleepless nights.  But, that wasn't the last disaster.  They and probably anyone probably never thought of receiving such large number of deposits concurrently without stop.  Well, it happened.

A friend and former colleague of mine is the vice president of a bank in Southern California.  I'll let her know the link to this blog although I'm sure the bank has a good disaster recovery plan.

2 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip

Chaos such as this results

Chaos such as this results from not being kept informed. It is like people hoarding rations to last fearing shortages, and then they rot. Luckily, money does not.

The side effects are the way in which the economy is perceived - new forms of expertise required.

I also want to tell you that barely a couple of days after the quake and tsunami, a Japanese group was to donate to some charity, be a part of it. They did not shirk their commitment. And unlike the hype behind the celebrity philanthropists, this got attention only because they came at such a time.

I repeat, you are doing a marvelous job of reporting.


Comment Bubble Tip

Thank you, Farzana. We have

Thank you, Farzana. We have many side effects, and all these are new experiences. Learning never ends.