With the possibility of blackouts this winter now plausible, providers need to strengthen their energy resilience. Data centres are a cornerstone of the country's digital operations, but will likely (and understandably) not be prioritised ahead of hospitals, schools and other public services in the case of energy rationing.
Customers should be seeking out providers that have locked into long-term contracts, have secured energy at reasonable rates, and who store of fuel on-site. In the event of generators being used, densely populated data centre locations, such as the Docklands in London, risk being caught short if there's a sudden rush for fuel.
Data centre businesses with access to enormous economies of scale have many macro-options available to them, such as building wind farms that solely power their data centres. But, for more specialist providers like us, there are many other options we can look at.
In addition to securing energy supply lines, those operating on a smaller scale can take simple practical steps such as trialling and testing supply chain routes. This an effective method for building resilience. Dry fuel runs need to be conducted so providers can have confidence they'll be able to adequately respond to sudden blackouts and shortages.
As generators are less reliable than the national grid, the more time dependent on them the greater the risk to uptime. To help offset this jeopardy, the internal workings of data centres need to be as secure as possible.
Indeed, Google and Oracle's shutdowns of their London data centres, as well as Google's data centre fire, serve as a timely reminder that when mismanaged, the internal workings of a data centre can be just as large a threat to uptime as external factors.
Several best practices can be implemented to improve data centre resilience, but the most important of which is reducing human error. Mistakes made by individuals still account for most data centre outages.
It is important to work with a data centre that hires competent, team-orientated people, instilling within them a mission-critical mentality. They also enable their staff to do their best jobs through a thorough analysis of the facility maintenance scope. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the hours required for operations, the correct electrical and mechanical expertise can always be onsite to respond to incidents before they snowball, something imperative given the excepted increased reliance on generators.
Why should I change?
Data centres and colocation facilities have been through turbulent times before. From competing with cloud to defending against state-backed cyber-attacks, providers are no strangers to large challenges. Yet the coming period of energy shortages, blackouts, and increased threats to resilience looks like a challenge that even the most experienced operators will find daunting. Prudence and preparation will be of the utmost importance to ride out the storm, with ServerChoice being the right provider to help you through these turbulent times.