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This advisory report has been produced by Uptime Institute, with the assistance of clients and members, to help operators of critical infrastructure facilities prepare for, and respond to, the impact of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The steps discussed in this report will also help operators develop strategies and procedures for future pandemics.
During a pandemic, operators of mission-critical digital infrastructure facilities face particular challenges due to the high risk of unavailability of key staff through illness or quarantine, along with other events and measures (e.g., lockdowns, facility contamination) that might affect the ability of the operator to maintain continuous availability of IT services.
Fortunately, preparedness is in the industry’s DNA; while many operators did not plan specifically for a global health emergency, thanks to their focus on performance, efficiency and reliability — tested through prior experience with power blackouts, wildfire, adverse weather and other potentially disruptive events — most data centers owner/operators have contingency plans in place that can be adapted to the challenges of a pandemic.
The main priorities for those plans are the health and safety of staff, partners and customers; business continuity; and compliance with the guidelines and regulations issued by public health and government agencies.
This report reviews the data center industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and sets out recommendations, many of which will apply to future pandemics. These recommendations are based on established best practices; advice from expert bodies; roundtable discussions; and feedback and comments from Uptime Institute Network members and clients globally to the Uptime Institute Intelligence team and Uptime Institute consultants on five continents.