Executive Co-CEO of South Korean internet company Kakao Namkoong Whon He has made a decision to resign following a massive service outage caused by a fire at the SK Group’s SK C&C Data Center campus near Seoul. The problems that have arisen have caused dissatisfaction both on the part of numerous users and on the part of business and government representatives.
A fire has begun October 15, 2022 with a fire in the battery room in one of the buildings of the data center. As a result, the work of the KakaoTalk messenger, whose audience is 43-47 million users in South Korea (with a population of almost 52 million people throughout the country), was disrupted. In addition, there were failures in the operation of the KakaoPay payment system, postal service, taxi and other services of the company. Only the Kakao Bank service, which was hosted in another data center, was not affected. As of October 17, most of KakaoTalk’s functionality has been restored, but the availability of a number of services still remained limited.
The president of the country became personally interested in the incident, while the value of Kakao shares collapsed by 9.5%, to the lowest level since May 2020. The disruption to KakaoTalk has affected hundreds of small businesses using the named messenger. Kakao has already announced its intention to pay compensation and find out the reasons for the slow restoration of its services. In addition, Kakao intends to invest $325 million to open its own data center in 2023, and a second data center will be launched in 2024.
Curiously, the same campus was also home to the data center of Naver, another South Korean IT giant, whose work was much less affected by the incident. The main complaint against Kakao is that the company has not developed emergency plans. In particular, the company was not prepared for the fact that the data center would be quickly de-energized after the start of the fire. At the same time, this is probably the largest incident in the data center in the world, since we are talking about stopping 32 thousand servers at once.
It should be noted that in recent years, fires have engulfed several large data centers at once. In particular, in March last year, a fire destroyed data center of the French company OVHcloud in Strasbourg. As a result of this state of emergency, a total of 3.6 million websites were inaccessible, including the resources of a number of government organizations, banks, online stores, etc. A fire, happened in the data center of the Iranian Telecommunication Infrastructure Company (TIC), practically left the entire country without Internet access.
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