11 Data center preparations for severe weather
The winter of 2014-2015 has seen record-setting snowfall across much of the U.S. As described in a New York Times article published in mid-February, “Boston’s Winter from Hell,” Boston has been especially hard hit. Since the Times article was published, Boston received even more snow, and as of March 4 the city was just four inches shy of its all-time snowfall record.
Boston’s mass transit system, the T, has been largely or completely out of service for significant periods. Businesses “have been hammered,” according to the Times, and many employees have faced significant challenges just getting to work.
Digital Realty has sites in several areas that received unusually heavy snowfall this winter, including Boston, New York, and Chicago.
Since our data centers are at the center of many of our clients’ IT strategies (and hence their strategies for growth), data center downtime due to weather events is simply not an option. We understand the risks that severe weather poses to utility infrastructure and mission-critical operations, and we implement proactive emergency preparedness procedures and staffing levels to minimize these risks.
I recently sat down with Jim Palmieri, our Vice President of Technical Operations, and Danny Lane, our Vice President of Property Operations, to learn more. (Danny’s operations team, which includes our data center staff, is the largest team in the Digital Realty organization; Technical Operations is the team of engineers that supports Danny’s operations team, and provides technical support if any issues arise with the power or cooling in the data center.)
Preparations to ensure uptime
Jim and Danny noted that their teams keep a constant eye on the weather forecast, and if they see extreme weather coming, the teams swing into action to implement a well-defined set of preparations to minimize the possibility of downtime:
Site & Equipment
Jim and Danny added that the above severe weather preparedness procedures are supported by ongoing procedures such as conducting regular emergency drills and proactive cross-training of personnel so they can work at alternate locations.
In the second part of this series, we’ll look at emergency preparedness from a different angle – the specific ways in which our clients benefit from working with a provider with a large data center footprint.
Rebecca Bergman, Director of Corporate Communications (Rebecca_DLR)