Our thanks for Ian Mace, our Data Centre Manager, for sharing his thoughts on the current lockdown situation and why it hasn’t stopped Datum from looking confidently to the future…
These have been challenging times since 23 March 2020 when strict lockdown restrictions were placed on the UK due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have all had to rethink our daily routines and parts of the economy have been hit particularly hard because of an inability to function as before.
The datacentre sector, however, which is part of the UK’s core data infrastructure, is classed as a key sector and must continue to operate as normal, despite lockdown and social distancing restrictions. Whilst we could not have foreseen the coronavirus epidemic, we were in the fortunate position at Datum when lockdown began of having back-up emergency procedures in place that we could implement speedily. Of course, those who can work at home are doing so, but some of our key teams (e.g. engineering and security) continue to be on-site as normal, albeit with adapted site schedules to permit social distancing. Our recent blogs have discussed how we are ensuring business as usual and how our key teams are continuing to operate extremely effectively, despite unprecedented circumstances.
Datum – a safe haven in turbulent times
Despite the UK lockdown and the air of general uncertainty that has been shrouding the country since mid-March, we are thankful that we can continue motoring on as before. Our clients are still able to access their IT platforms on-site, if required. However, due to social distancing measures, many are opting to capitalise on our remote engineering services for routine maintenance activities such as swapping out hardware or replacing broken equipment. In the datacentre world, where complete security and the prevention of service disruption are paramount, we always have a back-up plan in place in case of major issues, despite hoping that these emergency strategies will never actually have to be implemented. But coronavirus has been an eye-opener for us all and it has reminded us that things that are beyond our control can, and do, go wrong.
Lockdown has also been a stark reminder that, in the context of IT infrastructure, hedging your bets is not necessarily the safest option. Many companies that have a distributed IT set-up across various buildings and locations are currently finding things particularly challenging as they struggle to access elements of their physical IT due to building closures. In contrast, those that have their IT real estate located in in our datacentre are experiencing little or no impact on the management of their IT infrastructure.
We have been receiving very positive feedback from our clients about the seamless continuation of our services and have noticed that many companies are thinking, right now, about consolidating their IT in one datacentre location and implementing a hybrid model to prepare themselves in case of a repeat of this current lockdown situation.
Coronavirus is a dark cloud over our economy, yet things can flourish
So, at Datum, it is business as usual in terms of supporting our existing clients and ensuring that there is no reduction in our colocation service levels. Furthermore, we are ploughing on with our ambitious growth plans, which are beginning to come to fruition now.
We are pleased to announce that the planned build-out of the first floor of our existing Farnborough datacentre, which we announced in January, has now begun. This exciting project is completely aligned with our business model of supporting enterprises through their digital transformations and is a classic digital transformation story.
When we were approached, via our partner Keysource, by a broadcast media company, we recognised immediately that this would be the perfect project for Datum.
Like many of our digital transformation clients, the company in question wanted to address the issue of its distributed IT infrastructure, which, over time, had become spread across various different locations and facilities (a common consequence of organic growth and expansion).
Before coming to discuss their requirements with us, they had already reviewed the two main options available to them: building their own facility or outsourcing their IT infrastructure and workloads to a datacentre. Having opted for the outsourcing, and having reviewed various datacentre offerings, they selected us as their datacentre partner.
Looking beyond the constraints of lockdown
The UN predicts that there will be more pandemics after COVID-19. This may sound like a bleak outlook, but even if it turns out not to be the case, experts are predicting that coronavirus is here to stay, so we must be prepared for further periods of social distancing even after this initial coronavirus crisis is over. This pandemic has proved to us that we are more than capable of keeping everything running and we will continue to adapt to requirements, however restrictive, to ensure that our business activities can continue unscathed. And we remain excited about the continued build-out of the first floor and, dependent on future growth and appetite for our colocation services, we will be turning our attention to our next big project; the conversion of our car park space in to a further 750 racks of space aimed at companies that want to custom build for larger requirements. Watch this space!