Are You Comfortable Having Your Data Center In a Flood Zone?

January 22, 2015
Anthony Verda

According to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), flooding during high tides, which used to be rare, “is now common in some places and is projected to grow to the point that sections of coastal cities may flood so often they would become unusable in the near future” (GSN Magazine). In fact, compared to historic levels, the study found that high-tide flood levels in the towns analyzed could triple in the next 15 years, and increase ten-fold in 30 years.

Some of the towns included in the study are Miami, Norfolk, Annapolis, Savannah, Portland, ME, and New York City. Mid-Atlantic communities are expected to see the greatest increase in the number of floods each year.

As climate change continues to influence our daily lives, this report also calls to mind something that businesses colocating their data center space must think about: the potential vulnerability of enterprise data centers on the East and West Coast. While many claim they are “above” the flood plain, a data center is either outside a flood plain, or within a flood plain.

When data centers say they are “above” the flood plain, they’re leaving out one very important fact: how maintenance and fuel transportation will be affected following a flood. It doesn’t matter that a data center is technically “above” the flood plain if maintenance workers, fuel suppliers, and other critical infrastructure are not also accessible following the flood.

This is not something we take lightly here at Telx. Our NJR2 and NJR3 facilities in Clifton, New Jersey, for example, lie fully outside the 500 year flood plain. In selecting a location for our Clifton Campus, we made sure that fuel delivery routes to our data centers would remain available—without risk of flooding—even after a flood. This careful planning ensures maximum continuity before, during, and after a serious storm that affects the area.

With our climate changing and, as this study shows, more flooding than ever on the horizon, businesses that utilize third-party data center space must use careful consideration in selecting a data center provider that can ensure your data’s safety after a storm. Many of Telx’s competitors could be impacted in the future by the high-tide floods detailed in the UCS report. Are you comfortable having your data center within a flood zone?

To learn more about our Clifton Campus or for other questions about Telx’s data centers, please contact us via the contact page of our site, or by Facebook or Twitter.

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