Data Centres and COVID-19: Bulletin 8
Latest bulletin for data centre operators and stakeholders pulling together activity over the past week.
This Bulletin pulls together developments since Tuesday 21st April. Useful links are included in each point and at the bottom.
- Key points and actions from catch up call with DCMS
- Role of DCMS team looking forward
- PPE and other precautions to limit infection
- Typical Data centre faults
- Dossier of sources
- Regular catch up calls
- Useful links
1. Update from latest call with DCMS
Our latest call with DCMS was on Friday 24th April. There were no major policy changes on construction or on key work classifications, but there had been a development on testing. The self-referral system for testing key workers (those who were symptomatic or living with those that were symptomatic) had been uploaded to the government website. The objective was to provide testing so that frontline staff who were quarantined but not infected could return to work. While testing slots were snapped up quickly, there is plenty of useful guidance on the site, see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#essential-workers
We also discussed issues like typical faults, sector competitiveness, recovery and the future role of the dedicated DCMS team (see separate items below). Actions included leveraging our supplier operator forum to discuss supply chain issues. All these are important topics, so the notes are longer than usual. You can find them here.
2. Role of DCMS Data Infrastructure Resilience Team looking ahead
The Data Infrastructure Resilience Team had been established at short notice when government recognised how dependent we are on data centres. Having achieved the urgent changes needed to the Key Workers list and ensured that information from the sector on issues like critical workers and footfall was included in policy decisions, the team is now thinking longer term. This dedicated group has a 12 month remit to learn about the sector and establish whether current government support structures are right and to identify any measures needed to ensure the future security and resilience of the UK’s data infrastructure. The objective is to reach a point where they understand the sector well enough to make recommendations on:
- whether any transformative changes are needed to government support for the sector, both in terms of residence but also in terms of competitiveness.
- What government should be doing to support not just the economic viability of the sector but also enable the sector to continue to support the UK economy.
3. PPE: What are operators doing?
Last week we promised a summary of operator actions regarding PPE. This took longer than we hoped to compile because operators are doing very different things. Looking at PPE in isolation was unhelpful because PPE is only one of many measures to limit the spread of infection. So observations on PPE deployment in data centres became part of a longer summary of precautions being taken by operators to reduce transmission of COVID-19 both within the data centre and outside it. The objective is to provide an aide-memoire for operators so they can compare notes, and demonstrate the steps being taken within the sector to external observers. You can access the document here: https://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/17405-data-centres-and-covid-19-precautions
Uptime Institute has also published helpful bulletins on resilience measures taken by operators.
4. Typical Faults
We did not get many responses to our call for typical faults so we called on DCIRN and also have been speaking to Uptime: both organisations have useful stats. Stand by for updates.
Government wants to understand the main operational risks in data centres, and how they are addressed. The objective is twofold: 1) to help DCMS understand how the sector achieves resilience and2) to identify whether COVID-19 is affecting its ability to do so.
We are aware that there are documents, circulars, updates, notes, document drafts, position papers and bulletins flying around at ever increasing speed so we have pulled these together into a dossier. The original purpose of this was to provide quick links to relevant information for the DCMS team in a structured form but we are actually finding that this has become a useful library of COVID-19 related material relevant to data centres.
We are working out the best way to make this available on the website in a format that we can update easily, but while we are cogitating, just ask if you need a copy, but be aware the content will be changing as new documents are added and drafts online for review are updated.
6. Regular catch up calls
Our regular catch-up calls are held on Friday mornings, 9.30 – 10.30, kindly hosted by 4D Data Centres. Access details will be in the email circular the day before. Do get in touch if you are not receiving these.
7. Useful links
DCMS Data Infrastructure Resilience Team mailbox: COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org for queries from data centre operators, customers and suppliers. They understand the critical role that data centres play and are ensuring that this is understood across government.
techUK information hub: Don’t forget that we are trying to group as much information as possible into the data centre COVID page here: https://www.techuk.org/covid-19-information-hub/data_centres
This is a section of techUK’s COVID-19 information hub. Which covers broader developments relevant to the tech sector at large.
Digital Realty: https://www.digitalrealty.com/coronavirus-statement
- WHO guidelines: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
- Latest govt advice: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
- Testing: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested#essential-workers
- PHE:decontamination in non-healthcare settings
- Social distancing in the workplace: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sectorguidance
- Uptime bulletins: https://uptimeinstitute.com/covid-19-minimizing-critical-facility-risk
For further information on techUK’s data centres programme see our programme overview: https://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/272-data-centre-programme-overview
Or visit our website https://www.techuk.org/focus/programmes/data-centres
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