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Data Centers and Floods: Keeping Operations Afloat

Historically, data centers around the country have fallen victim to intense downtime and structural issues caused by storm damage. Floods are no different. Flooding poses a great threat to connectivity for data centers, and has left facilities offline for significant amounts of time. Flood damage can be costly to data centers. Water damage to IT equipment from rising water inside a facility could halt operations for several days, and can be extremely expensive to repair. Flooding also can cause destruction to the center’s physical building structure.

Most recently, Hurricane Harvey presented a major concern for continued operations of facilities in the Houston area. However most data centers reportedly were able to stay open with minimal to no downtime during the storm and subsequent flooding. It is crucial for data centers to recognize the potential costly damage from flooding, and know what preventative steps to take to ensure uptime.

Site Selection

Site selection is the best way data centers can prepare against flooding. Early in the planning stages of construction, the best way to proactively protect equipment and the information stored inside is to note if the site is located in a flood zone, or an area historically known to experience high water. Building data centers with this in mind will reduce the amount of standing water the building could be subject to, and proactively defend itself from any loss of power.

Emergency Planning

Careful planning may ensure that a data center remains operational during and after a serious storm. While a data center may be located outside an area at risk of flooding, high water may still affect how employees and important supplies reach the facility. Data centers should investigate supply routes regularly taken to identify any areas that could potentially cause an issue in getting critical supplies, like fuel, to a center.

Management should also be familiar with routes employees regularly take to work, identifying who would most likely be able to reach the facility safely to maintain operations. Keeping water and nonperishable food is another preventative measure to plan for any employees at the data center and unable to make it to their homes.

For more information on how data centers operate during flooding, please contact our team today.