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Equinix closes data centres to customers, contractors in France, Germany, Italy, Spain amid coronavirus pandemic

Goes appointment-only elsewhere, pledges to have enough staff on-site to keep running

Equinix has all but closed its data centres in France, Germany, Italy and Spain as of Monday, March 23, at 0800 Central European Time.

The COVID-19 coronavirus protection measure means "visitors, customers, customer contractors and non-critical Equinix vendors will not be permitted to enter the IBX facilities" in the four aforementioned nations.

Elsewhere in the world – other than in Asia-Pacific locations – entry will be by appointment only as of 0800 local time from March 25. Customers have been asked to "limit appointment requests during this unprecedented situation for only the most urgent and critical work".

Equinix's "Smart Hands" service involves its own people installing customer equipment. For business-critical requests that a client can't afford, Equinix "will evaluate fee waivers for our Smart Hands service on a case-by-case basis".

A male hand scrubs a floor

Data centres are warm and designed to move air very efficiently. Are they safe to visit during the pandemic?


Warehouses will be closed, and customers won't be allowed to pick up incoming kit. Instead, Equinix staff will do the job and move equipment to either a holding bay or customers' racks.

"Secure cabinet customers will also be able to continue to receive shipments at the IBX," the company said, which is good news because renters of secure areas in data centres include hyperscale clouds. And AWS is a known Equinix customer in places where it doesn't think its own bit barns are justifiable.

The decision to restrict data centre access "was made in accordance with our business continuity plans to minimize the risk of impact within our data centers while maximizing our ability to operate and maintain our services on behalf of our customers".

And it ain't over: the company's notice and FAQ stated: "Given the fluid nature of the current situation, the list of IBX locations with restricted access could change."

The FAQ added: "If we are no longer able to support our on-site services in a particular IBX, we will notify you via an IBX Advisory as soon as possible," pledging that "in the event a complete lockdown is required, Equinix is prepared to maintain the necessary on-site staffing levels required to support continuous operations."

In the event a complete lockdown is required, Equinix is prepared to maintain the necessary on-site staffing levels required to support continuous operations

The measures also mean that Equinix's conference rooms are off-limits, while visitors are asked to use break rooms very sparingly. No more than five people per party are welcome. And everything visitors touch – especially door handles and the like – are frequently swabbed with virus-destroying liquids.

Equinix has implemented a host of other small controls, but you get the gist of it – the company wants to make sure its facilities don't become seething Petri dishes of infected techies. And if that means you can't get in as easily as during non-pandemic eras, suck it up in the name of flattening the curve, and making sure there are enough healthy people around to ensure uptime. ®

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