As countries enter lockdowns and Singapore begins a circuit breaker to stop the spread of COVID-19, the pressure on data centers is rising.
Many employees have been forced to work remotely. To keep the world online, data center operators are categorised as essential staff in Singapore, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Canada, many states in the USA and more.
Jon Curry, VP Operations for APAC at Digital Realty, confirmed that as of 17 April 2020, both of their operational facilities in Singapore are approved by the Ministry of Trade and Industry to continue to operate as essential services during the country’s enforced ‘circuit breaker’.
In a statement from A. William Stein, the CEO of data center provider Digital Realty, he said: “With the rapid spread of COVID-19—and our increased reliance on technology and the infrastructure it runs on, in an era of social distancing—Digital Realty’s responsibility is more critical than ever.”
Data centers deal with demand
Data centers across the world are experiencing more demand generated by higher internet traffic and use of cloud services to continue business and communication. Services using cloud-based technology like the video-conferencing software Zoom and video game distributor Steam both witnessed unprecedented usage during the outbreak.
Global connectivity provider Epsilon experienced much higher demand for interconnection, direct connection to the cloud and for peering at internet exchanges.
Epsilon’s Product Director Chin Woon Lee said: “Data centres are crucial for all organisations as it’s seen as a key parameter for Business Continuity Plans.”
Many companies have invested in cloud and hybrid technology over the past few years to keep up with the speed of digital transformation. These advancements are made possible by the efficient running of data centers.
Ms Chin added: “Data centre staff will play an even more crucial role to ensure that all services are at the highest standards and all Service Level Agreement offered to customers are met.”
To prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide uninterrupted services, many data center providers like Epsilon, Digital Realty and Keppel Data Centres are sanitising facilities, screening customers, rotating engineers and enabling remote working where possible.
Ms Chin said: “Data centre operators have to be even closer to their customers, assuring these customers are at ease and focus fully on delivering services to their end users.”
With increasing demand, data centers run by Equinix and Netflix are quickly seeking to complete upgrades.
Ms Chin believed there should be exceptions made if construction work is required to support greater capacity and ensure infrastructures are not disrupted for those that rely on their services.
Ms Chin added governments can help by establishing more specific guidelines on operations with feedback from industry players to ensure the continuity of services while keeping their workers safe.
Despite the increasing spread of COVID-19, data centers in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines are currently expected to continue operations, as strict lockdown measures and guidance on essential services have not been put in place as of yet.
What will the post-coronavirus future look like for data centers?
Has our outlook on the industry changed after we have been forced to work from home?
Could the outbreak speed up digital transformation?
Once the pandemic situation calms, will spending on data centers and cloud services increase now that it is seen as more essential than ever before?
Join us online at our free Inside Asia – Technology & Markets Next Moves webinar to explore these pressing issues and more on 30th April.
Do you have questions of your own? Register now to have yours answered by industry experts from Keppel Data Centres, Princeton Digital Group, Cloudmatika, DC1st, Fortinet, DBS Bank and SC-Nex.