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Leveraging Your Data Center Footprint for Resiliency

March 31, 2015

Preparations for winter weather: why scale matters

In a recent blog, I wrote about how our site and operations teams prepare for severe weather conditions, and described a list of preparatory procedures related to personnel, vendors, and equipment.

Digital Realty has data centers in areas that were hard hit by this winter’s unusually harsh weather, including New York and Boston.

In mid-February, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Boston’s Winter from Hell”; since that article was published, Boston has received even more snow, and as of March 23 reached an all-time record snowfall of 110.3”. (For perspective, the average winter snowfall for Boston is 43.5”.)

In fact, Digital Realty has multiple sites in areas that were affected by this winter’s unusually heavy snowfall, including seven in Boston and seven in New York.

Does working with a provider with a large data center footprint give a greater assurance of uptime in the event of severe weather?

We think it does. Here’s why:

  1. Better access to staff resources. The affected – as well as neighboring – site teams are put on alert in the event that severe weather is in the forecast. If one site is short-staffed, we have ready access to staff from a nearby location, either in the same city or from a nearby region.
  2. Better access to physical resources. If a spare part is needed for a piece of equipment, and it’s not on hand, very often the part can be sent from another Digital Realty data center.
  3. High-level communications channels. Due to our size and scale, we have access to executive-level contacts at several major equipment manufacturers, fuel suppliers, and utilities. For example, in Silicon Valley, Digital Realty’s 22 data centers collectively are the second-largest consumer of power after the San Jose airport.
  4. Priority fuel arrangements. Since backup generators are powered by diesel, access to diesel fuel in the event of a power outage is essential. Our diesel fuel delivery agreements, which are on par with those held by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, allow for power to be maintained or swiftly restored to data centers in the event of a power outage. During and after Hurricane Sandy, Digital Realty experienced no downtime due in large part to our priority fuel contracts. (Access to a deep bench of local and regional staff, as described above, was also very helpful.)

Visit our website for a map and further details on the Digital Realty global footprint: 130 properties in 11 countries on four continents.

Rebecca Bergman, Director of Corporate Communications (Rebecca_DLR)

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