Even as the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown continue to affect lives around the world, data centers are forced to continue operations, albeit with a different approach and with renewed vigor.
Here’s a look at what data centers are doing to cope with the new situation:
Support for increased usage
The impact of the pandemic on web traffic became evident in March with offices going remote and online collaboration tools becoming more frequently used, not to mention the added traffic coming from social media users and online gamers. Although, by and large, the internet is said to be accommodating this spike in traffic fairly well, network outages are on the rise.
To manage the situation and reduce the strain on last-mile ISPs, many are cutting down their video bitrates. As more employees continue to work from home, companies are also looking to strengthen VPNs by over ten times and undertake certain emergency deployments to improve data center capacities. Prevent unprecedented downtime in your data center with these tips.
New staff schedules
Data centers have worked out schedules for “essential” and “non-essential” roles and staff members to determine who needs to remain onsite and who can be sent home. Two-week shifts have been introduced to ensure that one set of employees can work while others quarantine themselves during these intervals.
Certain “standby” staff have also been designated to work in case someone falls sick. Senior-level employees have also been informed that they will need to pitch in for lower-level employees, if such a need may arise.
Remote services and tools
Remote-hands services – including moving/addition of IT equipment, maintenance and troubleshooting of devices like router, firewall, and so on – are being promoted and even offered at discounted rates. This significantly reduces the need for customer technicians to visit colocation facilities.
Speaking of remote management, Hardy Racks has designed a new temperature monitoring system that will alert data center staff if their attention is required, even when they are at home. Watch this short video to know more.
Access restrictions and continuous disinfection
Data center leaders like Equinix have drastically cut down customer and vendor access to their facilities for preventive maintenance and other regular updates, allowing only critical and essential work. This is mainly to honor the norms of social distancing and lockdowns implemented across countries. At the same time, this also minimizes the need to disinfect and clean the premises continuously.
Even though footfall is kept to a minimum, it is highly recommended to clean the premises as often as possible. Data centers are also giving special attention to evacuate and carry out a full building disinfection – within 24 hours – if anyone who has visited the data center has been tested positive for the coronavirus disease. We have a few key pointers on cleaning your data center during the pandemic in our blog post.
While remotely managing the data center without the physical presence of personnel is recommended using DCIM tools, there are challenges in executing such operations. Data center experts have identified that the poorer the redundancy, the greater the risk involved in leaving a facility unmanned. Data centers are, therefore, ensuring that adequate backups are made available before opting for remote functioning.
We recommend this useful resource from Uptime Institute for useful instructions on minimizing critical facility risk at this time.
What steps are you taking to ensure business continuity and customer satisfaction during this season? No matter what you do, don’t forget to prioritize your health and safety during this time!