Ryan Hubbard

Case Study: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of three federally funded research and development centers operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is located in Livermore, California. Livermore is about 40 miles east of the heart of San Francisco. Its primary duty is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the United States nuclear weapons through the application of advanced science, engineering and technology.

Sierra Supercomputer

One of newest projects at LLNL is the installation of the Sierra supercomputer. It was completed in 2018. Sierra is very similar in architecture to the Summit supercomputer built for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. It is operated in conjunction with the United States National Nuclear Security Administration.

Sierra is just one of several supercomputers in operation at LLNL. They are all located in the Livermore Computing Complex. It operates in just under 10,000 square feet of space at the laboratory. The Computing Complex handles both classified and unclassified national security programs. Sierra is currently ranked as the number two supercomputer in the world. It has a sustained maximum performance of 94.6 petaflops per second. A petaflop is a unit of computing speed equal to one thousand million million (1015) floating-point operations per second. However, a more powerful supercomputer is already in development at LLNL. It will be named El Capitan.

Sierra is completely cut off from any other network. This practice is known as Air-Gapping. This was done so that Sierra will operate in a classified manner. Sierra will be trying to answer questions about our current nuclear arsenal. The arsenal cannot be tested because of a nuclear non-proliferation treaty signed by the US in 1970. Sierra will tackle this issue by modeling and running simulations.

Earthquake Risk

One of the challenges LLNL faces is its location. It is located in a high-risk seismic region of Northern California, the San Francisco Bay Area. There are seven major earthquake faults in the San Francisco Bay area: The San Gregorio, San Andreas, Hayward, Calaveras, Rodgers Creek, Concord-Green Valley, and Greenville faults. This means that the Livermore Computing Complex could experience damage from a seismic event occurring on one of these faults, or even one that is not listed. According to the USGS, the San Francisco Bay area has a high probability of experiencing an earthquake of at least 6.7 magnitude sometime in the next 30 years.

Seismic Solution

This has been remedied for Sierra as well as the other supercomputers in the Livermore Computing Complex. Since 2011, LLNL has been installing ISO-Base™ platforms underneath their server racks. ISO-Base™ was developed using proprietary base isolation technology. Its patented Ball-N-Cone™ isolator protects valuable IT equipment by decoupling strong seismic shock and vibrations away from sensitive components.

ISO-Base™ currently protects nearly one half trillion dollars of IT equipment in over 30 countries. For nearly 20 years, ISO-Base™ has been tested and proven in significant real-world events in Japan, Peru, New Zealand, Nepal, and many others without failures.

LLNL chose to protect the security of their entire supercomputing complex with ISO-Base™ platforms. This helps ensure the performance and the operational continuity of Sierra. Shouldn’t you?

SoCal encounters more than just Fireworks over the 4th of July holiday

Los Angeles residents experienced a different kind of excitement over the holiday weekend. The region was hit by two large earthquakes with epicenters about 180 miles from the San Andreas fault and about 150 miles from Downtown Los Angeles in the Searles Valley near Ridgecrest, CA.

The first quake struck Thursday morning at 10:33 AM with a magnitude of 6.4. This turned out to be a foreshock to a bigger 7.1 magnitude quake shook the region on Friday at 8:19 PM, according to the USGS. Both quakes were felt across much of Southern California, parts of Arizona and Nevada, as far north as the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento, and as far south as Baja California, Mexico

Since then, there has been a series of aftershocks, including five measuring 5 to 5.4 on the Richter magnitude scale. At least one magnitude 3 aftershock rattled the area on Monday morning, according to the USGS.

Although the quakes were felt in parts of 4 states, damage was mostly contained to the Ridgecrest region and there were no fatalities. In contrast, the 6.7 magnitude Northridge shaker in 1994 killed more than 50 people and caused in excess of $40 billion in damage. Like Northridge, the two Ridgecrest quakes occurred on a previously unknown faults.

Both substantial earthquakes not only damaged roads and kindled fires, but also left a rupture in the Earth so large it could be seen from space. Before and after photos were taken by a satellite on July 4 and 6. They show a rupture in the Earth’s crust close to the epicenter of Friday’s 7.1 magnitude quake.

July 4th

July 6th

Had these earthquakes occurred on a different unknown fault say within 100 miles of Downtown Los Angeles or the Bay Area, damage might have been catastrophic.

Last year, a simulation was run by Berkley, called the HayWired Scenario. This scenario was run to give a striking, realistic depiction of a large Bay Area quake in today’s world, taking into account the wireless and interconnected Bay Area. The result calculated approximately 8 hundred possible deaths and more than 18 thousand injuries. It also predicted about 450 large fires near the epicenter and eighty-three billion in property and business losses.

The main reason why the scenario was run, was to help the public know what to expect when an event like this happens as well as encourage them to prepare for the inevitable large quake. In light of the recent seismic events, researchers at the USGS (United States Geological Survey) wanted to reiterate the prediction they made after the Haywired simulation. They believe an earthquake of a magnitude of 6.7 or higher will strike the San Francisco Bay area along the San Andreas fault zone before 2030.

If you operate a data center, hospital or laboratory and you aren’t prepared, contact us. WorkSafe Technologies is the global leader in seismic protection for critical systems.

Southern California hit by tiny earthquakes every 3 minutes, study finds

There’s a whole lot of shakin’ going on in Southern California – 10 times more than seismologists had thought. But most of those earthquakes are so tiny that no one feels them.

Using a more accurate way of finding teeny tiny earthquakes, scientists counted 1.8 million of the temblors in Southern California from 2008 to 2017, according to a report in Thursday’s journal Science . The current catalog of quakes for the area has just under 180,000 for that decade.

(Read More)

Three independent models converge on the high earthquake potential of Los Angeles

Metropolitan Los Angeles is being squeezed from south to north at 8-9 mm/yr (⅓ inch per year), about one-fourth the rate your fingernails grow. This squeeze was the ultimate driving force behind the 1971 San Fernando, 1987 Whittier Narrows and 1994 Northridge earthquakes, three days Angelenos need no reminder of. These tremors were “thrust” earthquakes, in which the top side of the fault is thrust up and over the bottom side – the optimal way to accommodate a tectonic squeeze. The tolls of these earthquakes prompt a natural question.

Damage at the San Fernando Veterans Administration hospital in Sylmar killed 49 people. The VA hospital wasn’t the only hospital damaged. New, supposedly earthquake-resistant buildings at Olive View hospital, also in Sylmar, were destroyed.

The quake also damaged freeways and left older buildings in surrounding cities like Burbank, Glendale and Beverly Hills destroyed beyond repair.

(Read More)

Edge Computing Becomes a Reality

The Edge Data Center market is predicted to top more than $13 billion by 2024; according to a report by Global Market Insights, Inc. The overwhelming demand for edge and cloud computing technology is pushing the market to unforeseen heights. 2019 promises to be an exciting year for WorkSafe Technologies. We believe that the IT industry will be dominated by edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI). As a concept, edge data center development has been deliberated and evaluated for years. We are now at the point where edge computing is becoming a reality as production and implementation of these systems is happening now. Edge infrastructure investments are increasing at a record pace and we should see significant investment in edge data centers over the next 5 years. Where there is a need for more streaming, networking, and storage close to the end user, moving to the edge is the natural answer.
What’s driving the demand for edge computing? The speed of today’s business environment requires fast and smooth access to critical data. Streaming video is expected to account for about 70 percent of all internet traffic and as the video streaming market continues to grow over the next several years, live-streaming video will up that percentage.
Too many important business and consumer decisions are dependent on a real-time flow of information. This means that there is even a lesser tolerance of latency. People want to be constantly connected and then while they are connected to experience instant gratification. Google said that when a website doesn’t load quickly, more than half of visitors will leave the site.
Ultimately when relocating or building an edge data center back to serve the population base, Edge DC’s will need to be built in high to moderate seismic zones. WorkSafe Technologies is here to protect your investment by seismically isolating your critical equipment with ISO-Base™ platforms, or with our new ISO-Dynamic™ heavy-duty isolated raised-access flooring.
Contact us today for more information.

The Northridge Quake Struck Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Twenty-five years ago, just before dawn on Jan. 17, 1994, the Northridge earthquake struck. Those of us who lived it, remember distinctly the chaos of that morning. The quake caused $25 billion in damages and killed dozens.

Northridge was an event that disrupted the lives of people in the Greater San Fernando Valley extensively. The damage was widespread and affected freeways, buildings, and other infrastructure.

Every time an earthquake such as Northridge strikes, we are forced to realize just how unprepared we are.

We know that another quake will strike sometime in the next 30 years. The “Big One” or San Andreas earthquake will unsettle the lives of everyone in Southern California and it might take us years or even decades to fully recover. Think about how different your lives are today from then. Most of us didn’t have cell phones, and the internet was still in its infancy. How dependent are you on the internet? Is your company equipped and ready to operate without it?

That said, to survive a major earthquake, it’s important that you prepare your life and your company to weather the quake. Stock up on water, food, medicine and make sure you have somewhere to go, in-case you cannot stay in your home. It is imperative for all citizens of Los Angeles work out some sort of emergency plan. Then your need to prepare your facility when the “Big One” strikes.

Tips to Protect Your Data Center from an Earthquake

The simple physical nature of data centers puts your organization at risk. Damage from disasters caused by Mother Nature can be particularly destructive to server racks. This is particularly true for earthquakes, so make sure that you follow these tips if you are managing a data center in a seismic region.


Determine risk

The first step in protection from seismic damage is determining risk. If your facility operates in California or near a fault line, risk will be higher than other data centers. If you are in California, the California Geological Survey has an online tool that will allow you to see whether or not your facility is on a fault line or at risk of liquefaction. It uses USGS seismic data to evaluate your risk.

Consider which floor your data centers are placed on

The location of your data center within your facility can also impact your risk. Data centers on higher floors generally have an increased risk of tipping over, so keep this front of mind.

Install seismic server racks

Installing specialty server racks is a solution to helping mitigate the risk of an earthquake. These cabinets feature augmented bases to keep the rack in place. This method can be costly, so look at alternative methods such as base isolation. WorkSafe Technologies has a variety of products which use base isolation to secure your data center such as ISO-Base™ and the ISO-Dynamic™ flooring system.

Be prepared for all risks from an earthquake

Preparing your data center is vital to seismic risk management. Isolating your server racks is only the first step. Be sure to account for a variety of seismic risks to your data center. Remember to organize your cabling to better prepare for an earthquake. Reducing the risk as much as possible allows you to recover from natural disaster easier.

Inspect your data center and your racks regularly

Stay prepared for the unexpected nature of earthquakes by ensuring your data center is in tip-top shape. Select someone internally to check your entire data center and point out any areas of concern. Adopt solutions to these issues as soon as possible to keep your data center protected.

Preparing your facility for earthquakes is a vital part of running a data center in an area of seismic risk. Data centers are increasing at an impressive rate so make sure to be equipped for the future of your data center.

Traditional Bolting of Server Cabinets Doesn’t Work for Earthquake Protection

While there have been major advancements in earthquake early warning systems, they only give you a few seconds to get ready for the coming quake. Buildings and homes will still be destroyed, and the early warning systems provide enough time for people to get to safety. These systems are still not common in the U.S. and Data center managers have to protect themselves and their facilities in case one strikes.

Seismic-rated cabinets and bracing can be very expensive. This has led many companies to move their data centers to areas that are less likely to have an earthquake. However, current latency issues have made the need for edge data centers much more prominent. So, when it is necessary to have a facility located in an earthquake zone, what can data center managers do to mitigate the damage caused by a seismic event?

When an earthquake strikes, server rack equipment has increased vulnerability to physical damage and data corruption. Most racks are designed to keep equipment safe while stationary, but what if the ground isn’t stationary?

A common solution to this problem has been to bolt this equipment to the floor. While this will provide the bare minimum level of protection for life safety of your employees, it is not ideal. Bolting the equipment transfers the shaking from the ground through the cabinet causing your mission critical equipment contained in your rack to sustain major damage. This rapid movement and vibration can permanently damage sensitive electronics and affect the data they contain.

Your employees may survive the shaking, but they won’t be happy when your facility isn’t fully operational for days, weeks, or even months after a major quake. If Southern California were to be hit by the Big One, southland data centers would suffer from serious supply chain issues. Will your company survive having a nonoperational data center?

ISO-Base™ platforms from WorkSafe Technologies offer a much more reliable solution than bolting. Using patented ball and cone technology, ISO-Base™ platforms are built to isolate your racks from the violent shaking caused by an earthquake. The company has been building these platforms for over 20 years and has passed many shake-table tests including Belcore Nebs GRC 63, and has had successful real-world tests in earthquakes such as Tohoku, Japan 2011 and in Christchurch, New Zealand 2016.

To learn more about ISO-Base™ please click here or visit www.worksafetech.com

12 Major Cities Where Your Company’s Data Center is at Risk of an Earthquake – Some may Surprise you

It seems you can’t turn on the television these days without seeing coverage of natural disaster happening somewhere on Earth. Whether it’s a hurricane sweeping through the southern United States, or earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis causing mass casualties in a nation along the Pacific Rim of Fire. Although you may live in an area you thought was safe from these kind of natural disasters, you may be surprised at how much actual risk there is. For millions of Americans and thousands of American data centers, the biggest threat may be from the ground shaking below.

Using data from the US Geological Survey, WorkSafe has compiled a list of 12 major American cities which are in serious trouble and have a large probability of experiencing monumental damage from an earthquake. Some of the cities here may not be a surprise to you however plenty here may shock you. The USGS data shows us that some of these cities are at natural risk but some of the risk has been exasperated by mankind’s action. This means that parts of the country which were relatively risk-free are now at an increased risk of a damaging seismic event.

Is your Data Center located in one of the cities listed here? Contact us today to discuss WorkSafe’s variety of solutions to help you through an inevitable seismic event.


The USGS says the city is at risk of a serious earthquake.

Most of us generally think a devastating earthquake would be most likely to hit the US in parts of California or Washington, but the threat is very tangible even in the middle America. Take Memphis for example. You might be surprised to learn that Memphis is actually at a significant risk of a seismic event. The USGS believe there is a 25-40% chance of experiencing an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 or greater in the next 30 years.



San Francisco

Scientists predict the Bay Area is at an elevated risk of a disastrous earthquake occurring soon.

While we’ve seen earthquakes hit this area before, and we are certain to see it again, the bay area has grown exponentially since Loma Preita. Silicon Valley is now home to some of the largest tech companies on earth like Apple, Google, and Facebook, and it is only a matter of time until an earthquake strikes there again. Think about it, when Loma Prieta struck most of us didn’t carry cell phones and social media wasn’t even thought of. What will be the impact to your data center when an earthquake strikes Silicon Valley? And the USGS reports that there is a 63% chance of a large-scale earthquake striking the Bay Area in the near future. The event could even strike on one of the two large faults located in the Bay, the San Andreas and Hayward faults.



Los Angeles

Residents of Los Angeles have been anxiously anticipating the “big one” to strike for decades. 

LA also sits near the San Andreas fault and for decades, we’ve been hearing about an earthquake striking on this fault. It could even become the source of the “Big One.” The perceived threat even spawned a Hollywood film starring The Rock, where the quake sent Southern California into the sea. While that was a work of fiction, Scientists agree that it is not a matter of “if” but “when.” Experts say a big quake is a near certainty by 2037, and it’ll be a 6.7 or larger. Technology and Media companies with a large presence in Los Angeles include: SpaceX, Netflix, and NBC Universal.


The Emerald City is home to some major tech companies as well. Amazon, Microsoft and Nintendo headline the list. Researchers list Seattle as the city that they worry about the most. San Francisco and Los Angeles may have to worry about the well-known San Andreas fault. However, Seattle has to deal with the Cascadia subduction zone and its propensity to unleash a much larger earthquake than the San Andreas is thought to be capable of. It is a nearly 700-mile seismic zone that causes regular earthquakes, and sooner than later Seattle area’s 4 million plus residents will have to deal with a major earthquake.

Oklahoma City

As long as we can remember the idea of an earthquake striking Oklahoma was far-fetched. However, the chances of a large-scale seismic event hitting Oklahoma, including its capital Oklahoma City have dramatically increased. Oklahoma isn’t located near any large fault lines or other typical natural phenomenon that can cause seismic events. Fracking could be at fault as the state has 3 minor quakes hitting on any given day. The “Silicon Prairie” as it is now known is home to a growing technology ecosystem.





Anchorage joins other at-risk cities on this list, including Seattle,  Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

It seems that earthquakes strike Alaska quite often. When they happen, Alaska’s low population density allows for a low number of fatalities, if any. However, if an earthquake were to hit Alaska’s biggest city directly, it could cause some major damage. The city could also be at major risk of a tsunami.





While we have discussed the threat to Oklahoma, we must also mention its second largest city, Tulsa. We would be misleading if we didn’t include it on this list. Residents of Tulsa have become rich as a result of the hydraulic fracturing industry. In turn this influx of money has fueled the Tulsa economy. The growth of the fracking industry has resulted in the USGS planning to issue a new seismic map every year instead of issuing one every six years.





Portland, Oregon


Portland is also at risk from devastating earthquakes from the Cascadia subduction zone but there’s more.https://blog.worksafetech.com/hs-fs/hubfs/Salt_Lake_City%2C_August_2012_(7707261420).jpg?width=810&name=Salt_Lake_City%2C_August_2012_(7707261420).jpg

The threat isn’t as serious as its Cascadian counterpart, Seattle, but Portland is still at risk. Scientists believe that there is a 20 % chance that Portland and most of northwest Oregon will be hit by an 8.0 quake at some point in the next half-century. They estimate 13 thousand people will lose their lives either in the quake or the resulting tsunami. With tech companies such as Intel, Xerox, and Hewlett-Packard having a major presence there, what will the damage be to the Rose City’s tech sector?







Salt Lake City


Salt Lake City actually sits directly on top of the 240-mile-long Wasatch fault.

Utah’s capital of Salt Lake City is actually sitting in peak position for an earthquake. While we don’t know when it will strike, scientists claim that a seismic event with a magnitude as high as a 7.0 on the Richter scale, could occur sometime soon. A big quake hasn’t occurred for some time. The last major instance was in the mid-1850s.



New York City


The sheer amount of damage that an earthquake could do to New York City is unthinkable, but it is a possibility

The Big Apple sits on shaky ground. While the city is not at risk of a massive earthquake like Los Angeles or San Francisco, New York is located in an area laden with fault lines. Modest quakes around 5.0 on the Richter scale have hit the area for hundreds of years, the last one of consequence being in 1884. Can you imagine the impact a major quake would have on Wall Street and the resulting effects on the global economy? It is truly frightening to think about.


Washington, D.C. (& Northern Virginia)


In 2011, a smaller 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia caused damage to the Washington Monument. So, yes, the threat is very real.

The D.C. and surrounding areas should likely become familiar with the Virginia seismic zone because scientists predict it may be the origin of a significant earthquake to come. With the estimation of over 10 million square feet of data centers being built here, and the seismic risk that exists, you had better consider earthquake proofing your facility. As recently as 2011, many buildings in DC and Virginia were damaged by a small earthquake in Virginia. Although this may be minor balanced against the risk in California and the Pacific Northwest, D.C. is still threatened. In fact, there’s higher risk to D.C. than previously thought as geologists have begun to learn more about the encompassing area and buildings there are not being designed to withstand earthquakes.



You may be the most surprised by the inclusion of Charleston on this list. Charleston is part of the South Carolina coast, and it is better known for its risk of hurricanes coming ashore rather than earthquakes. However, there is an elevated risk for seismic activity. The last quake of note was in 1886 when an earthquake with an estimated magnitude greater than 7.0 struck near Charleston. There was approximately 6 million dollars in quake damage from this quake. When adjusted for inflation, that is north of $150 million in today’s dollars. The data from the USGS show the Savannah risk to be distinct and they anticipate more activity going forward. The USGS predicts the next quake could be greater than a 6.0.