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NaviSite, which also has data centers in San Jose, Calif. and in London, is fortunate in that they are located close to good hotel accommodations, Poole said.
"Critical staff in Andover can walk across the street to the Marriott Courtyard," he said. "In such situations, we don't know how long they'll need to be there for the emergency."
NaviSite's Andover facilities, like all well-designed data centers, are built to survive a loss of power with generators and redundant systems, Poole said. "We test them weekly and make sure our diesel tanks are filled for 48 to 72 hours of operations."
Blue Bell, Penn.-based services provider Unisys has two data centers, one in Harrisburg, Pa. and one in Reston, Va., in the path of Superstorm Sandy. However, like all Unisys' data centers, they have a business continuity plan with steps to address outages, a company spokesperson said.
The two data centers have implemented the company's inclement weather plan under which all non-essential personal have been sent home, computer operations staff are continuing to report to the data centers as scheduled, and technical and managerial functions are being run remotely, the spokesperson said.
The data centers are also monitoring electrical power grid conditions, testing their backup diesel generators and putting a data center incident bridge system in place.
San Diego-based cloud storage service provider Nirvanix on Monday activated its Disaster Avoidance Program for customers currently storing data in its Node 4 data center in New Jersey, giving them the option of moving their data to other locations in the Nirvanix Cloud Storage Network on a temporary or full-time basis free of charge.
A company spokesperson said all data in Nirvanix’s Node 4 data center in New Jersey is secure and all services remain normal and available. However, customers who feel the need to migrate data to other locations can do so at no charge to data centers in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, Frankfurt and Tokyo.
Data Center Knowledge, an online news site focused on data center operations, reported that business and other closures resulting from the storm means that data center operations will often be focused on telecom and network infrastructure to provide both emergency services and social media for users tracking the storm and each other.
While NaviSite is prepared to have infrastructure critical personnel spend off-hours at a hotel across the street during the emergency, for other data centers that may not be enough. Data Center Knowledge reported that some data centers stock food and water supplies inside their facilities to accommodate key personnel who will remain on the job to ensure availability and help deal with customer issues and who may not be able to leave the facilities because of flooding.