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Weathering Disaster: How Underground Data Centers Protect Against Mother Nature’s Worst

Read the complete article originally published on Data Center Post: https://datacenterpost.com/weathering-disaster-how-underground-data-centers-protect-against-mother-natures-worst/

Over the past few decades, scientific studies have continued to show that as global climate trends shift, extreme weather events are becoming increasingly probable. Heat waves, large storms, floods, tropical cyclones and tornadoes are all cropping up more frequently as widespread changes in weather patterns occur. Luckily, advancements in the data center market are being implemented to ensure that as these unpredictable factors grow in frequency, the integrity of an infrastructure site can remain uncompromised.

Reports have cited natural disasters and extreme weather as two of the highest-ranking threats to society, and the data center market is no exception. Events like Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which took down data centers for leading brands like Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, are becoming a matter of “when,” not “if.” Record breaking storms, like the recent Hurricane, Florence, which threatened North Carolina data centers for Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google Cloud are becoming a common reality. As such, these events are now a major concern for data center providers, regardless of where their infrastructure lies.

Traditional data center market trends placed important infrastructure in densely populated areas and urban sites. Given that approximately 50 percent of the world’s population now live in an urban environment, this strategy seemed sensible. Now, recent trends in the industry show an increasing number of data centers moving towards the edge, prioritizing proximity to end users for benefits like lowered latency and increased data speeds. While the considerations for both ruralization and urbanity in data center provision deliver their own unique benefits, both also place critical infrastructure systems at risk from natural disasters.

In the case of urban sites, cities have shown to be a particular liability when it comes to calamity. The nature of cities and their huge concentration of human, financial, and physical capital make them particularly vulnerable. Meanwhile, the edge does not seem much safer. Edge networks often reside in areas like coastal zones that are prone to natural disasters like floods and storms, with the possibilities of prolonged blackouts being much greater.