COVID-19 Casting a Light on Datacenters
May 13, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact consumers and businesses all over the globe, incredible strain is being placed on networks as humanity clamors for more data and content, delivered seamlessly. Indeed, we’ve seen reports from Cloudflare, a network infrastructure developer and partner, that internet usage swelled by over 25% in most major cities around the world as consumers worked, learned and entertained from home like never before, tapping video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams to transform the working from home experience.
For datacenters, the COVID-19 pandemic acted as a watershed moment, where consumers of the internet have started to better understand the importance of data storage and latency. While there were some adjustments along the way – in the early weeks of the crisis, companies such as Netflix and YouTube reduced video quality to reduce strain on networks – the industry gets a solid A overall, proving that connectivity is mission critical and that datacenters are part of the front lines of emergency response.
While no one saw COVID-19 coming, I wasn’t surprised by our industry’s ability to meet this challenge head on. Datacenters throughout Europe are truly delivering, firing on all cylinders as clients seamlessly tap the Cloud to push data when, where and how they needed it, all over the world. Much of this success flows outward from capital investment – technology companies have been investing in the internet for generations. Companies like Comcast, YouTube, Dropbox and Netflix have built a vast array of new connections in recent years, while shoring up old ones and stitching together tapestries of servers, capable of tapping the Cloud in real time and delivering all the power and promise of the digital revolution to end points all over the world.
Behind this mission critical technology are the heroes of our datacenter industry, the men and women on the front lines of data delivery. The operational excellence of those working in datacenters has always been exemplary. So many of these professional’s hail from military or deep engineering backgrounds, they were, and are, calm in the face of a storm, assessing threats
and challenges with precision before mapping out a tactical response. COVID-19 is an extraordinary challenge, and a global tragedy, but it did not dint the progress being made in datacenters everywhere.
While the industry will continue to invest in connectivity, it’s absolutely critical that we build datacenters that are compatible with a sustainable future. As the volume of data and content proliferates exponentially and power needs amplify, we are thinking about environmental sustainability and working with our suppliers and customers to deploy more power-saving technologies. As for the power utilities themselves, policies are starting to come out of EU, and we are working with industry bodies including but not limited to the EUDCA and techUK to ensure a more uniform and accountable approach to power consumption in datacenters in the years ahead.
I am proud to work at a company that sits on the front lines of one of the greatest challenges of our lifetime and also uses its resources to invest in community, contributing where we can. In the UK, Germany and the Netherlands we have been working with the Trussell Trust, Tafel and The Amsterdam Food Bank respectively. These are all incredible organizations delivering emergency food as well as practical and compassionate support to people in poverty. They need support through donations now more than ever, as demand increases and access to their volunteer network diminishes dramatically. In Ireland we have been working with our partners at Host In Ireland to supply tablet kits to nursing homes in order to reconnect residents with loved ones through the #Comfort4Covid initiative.
As I reflect upon the events of recent months, and look to the future, I recall and take comfort from the inspirational words of Winston Churchill, “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time”.
EVP, Managing Director Europe, CyrusOne