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Why data centres can’t stop running through a worldwide pandemic

Adam Chaumeton our consultant managing the role
Published on 6 April 2020

When you think of the cloud, do you think that it is somewhere in the sky where your personal data is stored? When in fact it is a physical place, with computers holding that data. These physical places are called data centres. Data centres are centralised locations where computing and networking equipment is placed to collect, store, process, distribute and allow access to large amounts of data.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen many countries shut down the majority of their shops, restaurants and offices. Leaving only those classed as key workers to keep everything moving as normal as possible. But what does the government define as a key worker? Of course, the usual frontline staff and supermarket workers go to the front of your mind but there are so many more, including those who keep data centres running smoothly.

Why are data centre workers classed as key workers?

Imagine being told to work from home and then two days later losing access to all of your work files, or all of the documents you store online becoming unavailable. These are just two examples of how you could be affected if a data centre had any sort of downtime.

Data centres are becoming a fundamental part of everyone’s life, whether you store your train tickets there or you just want to play a video game in your spare time. This is what makes their workers so important and the key to keeping the world moving, especially through a pandemic where internet traffic has become much higher.

Here at Quanta our ICT team have been helping to support some of the most fundamental data centres in the UK. Including those storing data for the Metropolitan Police, the NHS, BT and many more. Being able to access information at this time is more important than ever, especially within these sectors in which we are hugely dependent on. This is why data centre workers have been cleared as key workers.

How is COVID-19 affecting the data centres?

As you can only imagine people being urged to work from home has caused a surge in internet traffic. This surge is most likely a result of the various quarantine measures of national governments in their effort to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus. People required to stay at home and, as a result, make extra use of digital services. In February, the daily amount of traffic exchanged on the platform was between 48 to 50 Petabyte. Which increased by around 17% in March when the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a pandemic. These increases in traffic require more workers and in turn, servers to cope. 

How can you help keep our data centres running smoothly?

A lot of data centres are needing to adapt and amend their current systems to manage with any surges in activity. This means soon there may be the need for more skilled manpower within these data centres to keep them running efficiently and smoothly. If you think you might be of assistance or are carrying the viable skills to work within a data centre be sure to look at our most recent jobs here.