Live / Covid-19 Coronavirus news: How the data centre world is dealing with the pandemic



Coronavirus

There are now 549,304 cases of people infected with Covid-19 and 24,871 dead, as of March 27, 11:43 (GMT).

With the world going into lockdown, Data Economy will be bringing you the latest on the events that impact the data centre sector, the market moves and how operators are answering to the crisis.


March 27, 16:12 – Intel holds off on stock buybacks amid global COVID-19 outbreak

Intel Corp. (NASDAQ: INTC) announced that it is suspending stock repurchases due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The company added that the suspension, “while conservative, is prudent given uncertainty regarding the length and severity of the pandemic”, reported Bloomberg.

This comes as the Santa Clara, California-based company revealed earlier on in the week that it will source and donate more than one million items of personal protective equipment – masks, gloves and other gear – to healthcare workers.

According to reports, the suspension of stock repurchases will not impact dividend payments, and Intel can reinstate repurchases as circumstances warrant, according to a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Abigail Opiah reports more here.


March 27, 09:16 – Kaspersky supports healthcare institutions amid COVID-19 pandemic with free full-featured product licenses for six months

Kaspersky has announced free availability of its core endpoint security products for medical organisations, in order to help them stay protected from cyberthreats during the pandemic.

The full list of B2B products available for free for six months includes Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud Plus, Kaspersky Security for Microsoft Office 365, Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Advanced and Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security.

Evgeniya Naumova, Vice President of the Global Sales Network at Kaspersky, said: “In this critical situation, healthcare institutions are under immense pressure and carry huge responsibility while saving people’s lives and fighting against the infection. Doctors, nurses and all medical staff take on most of the load and therefore need any support possible. We feel that it is our duty to support the medical community.

“In order to help these organisations focus on what matters most, we now offer healthcare institutions free licenses for key Kaspersky corporate products for a six month period.”


March 26, 13:49 – QTS Reports Increase in Customer Usage of Service Delivery Platform Driven by the Expanding Remote Workplace

QTS Realty Trust (NYSE: QTS) has announced an increase in usage of QTS’ Service Delivery Platform (SDP) engineered to manage and optimise data centre deployments.

The company attributes the increases in demand to services and capability that align with the requirements of a dramatically expanded remote workplace in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Jon Greaves, Chief Technology Officer, QTS, said: “Working remotely is a new challenge and opportunity that many in Corporate America are currently facing. The Internet and online workplace are now mission-critical in our daily lives.

“QTS customers are benefiting from greater control over their IT environments and in the current environment, decreasing risk at the same time through a digitized orchestration capability that largely has not existed in the data centre industry previously.”


March 24, 16:53 – Tech companies charge ahead with hiring as demand increases due to COVID-19

Technology companies are still hiring staff despite global reports of businesses laying off staff because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The FT reported that in California, tech companies were looking to fill 15,852 jobs in the second week of March — down only slightly from the week before and nearly three times the level from a year ago, according to data from ZipRecruiter.

Data Economy reached out to ZipRecruiter for further comment regarding how tech companies were in need for more staff as the world becomes more digital, to which the company is yet to respond.

One company that can testify to the need for more employees during the Coronavirus pandemic is mobile games company Kwalee.

Abigail Opiah reports here.


March 24, 15:01 – NordVPN reports 165% surge in users as remote working increases globally

VPN provider NordVPN has reported recording 165% growth in users due to more and more people working from home amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

As remote working is fast becoming the new normal in the midst of the outbreak, setting up at home and accessing company systems through external connections may present its own security problems.

According to Google Trends, the search term “VPN” has surged since last week. In the US, it grew by 25%, the UK 20%, Germany 30%, Spain 40%, and Italy, which has suffered the largest coronavirus outbreak in Europe, 55%. These numbers are also reflected in VPN sales.

Abigail Opiah has more here.


March 23, 17:11 – Equinix shuts down data centres to the public in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to tackle COVID-19

Equinix (NASDAQ: EQIX) has closed its data centres to the public in France, Germany, Italy and Spain as a protective measure amid COVID-19 outbreak.

In the company’s FAQ section, it was revealed that Equinix’s remaining IBX data centres, except those in Asia-Pacific, will be moving to an appointment-only protocol from March 25, until further notice.

For all IBXs in EMEA and the Americas, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain, Equinix is set to implement policies to maintain its facilities and further protect the health and safety of its customers and employees.

Abigail Opiah has more here.


March 23, 16:47 – SAP has announced a new digital learning offering

SAP SE (NYSE: SAP) has announced a new digital learning initiative based on interactive educational content to support students, professionals and anyone wishing to continue to learn during this challenging time.

This initiative is based on three educational pillars – open online courses, learning journeys for universities and the SAP Young Thinkers program – as part of SAP’s comprehensive learning and enablement program.

SAP said it will respond and adjust to participant feedback and requirements to improve and adapt the courses continuously.

Christian Klein, Co-CEO and Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, said: “The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are impacting everyone around the world. We want to make sure education does not take a back seat during this time. Students and subject-matter experts need access to safe and healthy learning environments to continue their education virtually.

“SAP is expanding its commitment to support the next generation of professionals and users by broadening access to some of our best digital learning offerings to facilitate the continuity of innovation and enablement.”


March 23, 14:30 – Industry steps up to support global Covid-19 response

As with other sectors, the telecoms, data and tech industries have faced huge disruptions over recent weeks, from Nokia’s cancelled AGM to the postponement of France’s 5G network auction and Samsung’s Foundry Forum.

However, it’s still business as usual and stakeholders from across the industry have been quick to react to the unfolding crisis with a series of customer relief packages, as well as charitable donations and support for government services.

In Canada, telcos Rogers, Bell, Telus, Videotron, Freedom Mobile, Eastlink and SaskTel, will send subscribers who are currently abroad text messages containing consular support information and key contact information.

Melanie Mingas reports.


March 23, 11:33 – Microsoft sees 12 million new users on Teams as remote workers increase during COVID-19 pandemic

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has announced that its group-collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams, has grown from 32 million daily active users to 44 million, mainly driven by the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The company said that its Microsoft Teams platform has seen a spike in its usage across the globe as millions of employees are being advised to practise social distancing and work from home.

The company recorded a 12 million increase in users in the last seven days according to its figures, adding that those users generated over 900 million meetings and calling minutes on Teams each day last week.

Abigail Opiah reports more here.


Bergamo
A statue of an angel outside the Bergamo Church Santa Maria in the Italian region of Lombardy.

March 23, 06:00 – Special Report: How this data centre in Italy’s Covid-19 Coronavirus epicentre keeps powering businesses, services and the local community

Outbreaks outside of China in South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy, became the more regionalised epicentres of the disease that spread to almost all countries and territories on the planet.

In Europe, Italy has been severely impacted, and a large part of the cases across the continent and other regions has been traced back to Italy, especially the northern part of the country, in the Lombardy region.

If we look at the epicentre, right in the middle is the city of Bergamo with a population of approximately 122,000 which has been hit by the virus as almost nowhere else as.

And it is precisely in Bergamo that one of Italy’s – and Europe’s as well – largest data centre campuses operates.

Sitting on more than two million square feet of land, Aruba S.p.A.’s hyperscale data centre operations in Bergamo power hundreds of businesses across Italy and Central Europe.

With the pandemic taking never seen proportions in the Lombardy region, Data Economy spoke to Gabriele Sposato, CMO of Aruba S.P.A. on how the business is handling this crisis whilst keeping services running without interruption.

João Marques Lima has this special report.


March 20, 16:57 – Keppel pledges a $4.2m package to support Singapore during COVID-19 pandemic

Keppel Corporation Limited has announced a package worth more than $4.2 million to help the Singapore community weather COVID-19.

This comes on the back of the company’s earlier donation of over S$900,000 to support Singapore and international efforts to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The package will be funded by voluntary contributions from the Keppel Group’s directors, senior management and staff, with dollar-for-dollar matching contributions from Keppel Corporation.

Abigail Opiah has more details here.


March 20, 14:44 – Data centre competitors swap notes to battle COVID-19 pressures collectively

According to techUK, the spread of COVID-19 means that the demand for digital communications, and therefore for the data centre services that underpin them, is rising sharply.

The “social distancing” measures governments and companies have been taking in their attempts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus have increased the amount of traffic on networks around the world.

As COVID-19 continues to put pressure on data centres to operate, techUK has been running weekly calls to share best practice and identify challenges the sector is facing.

Operators have been comparing notes on how they are identifying and managing COVID-19 risks and on the precautions they are putting in place.

Abigail Opiah reports more here.


March 19, 16:09 – The EU’s Thierry Breton, pressures streaming services to lower bandwidth during COVID-19 virus

The European Union’s Internal Market and Services Commissioner Thierry Breton, has asked streaming services to take steps to prevent an internet gridlock in the wake of the Coronavirus.

Speaking directly to content providers such as Netflix and YouTube, Breton expressed his concern that such streaming service would have on communications networks given the increase in people working from home due to the virus.

“Streaming platforms, telecom operators and users, we all have a joint responsibility to take steps to ensure the smooth functioning of the internet during the battle against the virus propagation,” said earlier this week.

Natalie Bannerman has more here.


March 19, 14:56 – Alibaba Cloud offers AI and cloud services to help battle COVID-19 worldwide

Alibaba Cloud said today it has offered medical personnel around the world advanced cloud-based technology applications in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The artificial intelligence-enhanced innovations are based on learnings and insights gathered during the initial outbreak of the virus.

The series of cloud-native anti-coronavirus solutions stem from joint efforts of Alibaba Cloud’s solution experts, scientists and researchers from Alibaba DAMO Academy and the technical team at DingTalk, one of the platforms UNESCO has tabbed as facilitating distance learning during the coronavirus outbreak.

Abigail Opiah has more here.


March 19, 10:58 – Data centre construction projects under threat from Covid-19 Coronavirus

Globally, the construction of new centres had been growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.61% since 2017, and was predicted to reach values of US$73.87bn by 2021. However, that trajectory is now unlikely to continue.

The pipeline of new data centres is under threat as the supply of labour and parts is halted by the international response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Europe, Asia and now the US, the complex web of specialist suppliers and subcontractors – who themselves are reliant on labour and parts – are now checking their contracts for force majeure clauses. 

Melanie Mingas reports more here.


March 18, 16:47 – UK data centre industry working with the government to secure “special passes” in case the country goes into lockdown

The UK data centre industry is in contact with the UK government to “try and secure special passes” for data centre workers, should the country go into locked, sources have told Data Economy.

“Operators have asked how critical facilities staff will get access to sites in the event of a full lockdown scenario, bearing in mind that most data centres are not designated CNI,” one of the sources said.

The move comes as internet exchanges, telecommunication providers and data centre operators face an unprecedented volume of traffic as millions of people shift to working from home.

If granted, the passes would be the clearest sign and recognition to date by Downing Street of the critical important digital infrastructure plays in the modern economy.


March 18, 12:49 – Uptime Institute launches advisory report for critical infrastructure operators

One of the world’s largest data centre organisations, the Uptime Institute, has launched an advisory report for data centre operators to help them prepare, safeguard and mitigate business risks to their infrastructure and services.

Developing a specific pandemic preparedness plan, maintaining communication with staff, customers and partners, and allowing no cross-contact of teams, even outside the work environment are just some of the moves companies can take.

You can access the document here.


March 18, 12:05 – After cancelling its in-person show, Google has now postponed the online version of Cloud Next

Google has postponed its digital version of Cloud Next after the company was forced by the Coronavirus to cancel the real-life event due to have taken place from the 6th of April to the 8th.

The company said in a statement that Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect has been postponed until further notice due to the “concern for the health and safety of our customers, partners, employees and local communities, and based on recent decisions made by the federal and local governments regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Alison Wagonfeld, Google Cloud’s chief marketing officer, wrote: “Right now, the most important thing we can do is focus our attention on supporting our customers, partners, and each other.

“Please know that we are fully committed to bringing Google Cloud Next ’20: Digital Connect to life, but will hold the event when the timing is right. We will share the new date when we have a better sense of the evolving situation.”


March 18, 9:12 – HP CEO: “Please stay safe”

In an open letter sent to employees, HP president and CEO Enrique Lores has advised the workforce to stay safe during the Coronavirus outbreak.

“Times like these remind us all what’s most important in our lives, and HP is here to support you in any way we can. Like you, we are closely following guidance from public health authorities to mitigate risk,” Lores writes.

The company, through the HP Foundation, has also donated US$1 million to support communities. HP has also given out equipment such as computers and printers to hospitals operating in areas dealing with he outbreak.


March 17, 21:42 – Data centre businesses rally on markets fightback after governments around the world pour more than $1.5tr into economies

Here’s how the markets reacted to today’s news through the eyes of public traded data centre companies:

  • Equinix (EQIX): 575.18 USD +32.75 (+6.04%)
  • Digital Realty (DLR): 138.24 USD +9.93 (+7.74%)
  • QTS Realty Trust (QTS): 54.18 USD +4.11 (+8.21%)
  • CyrusOne (CONE): 53.25 USD +4.75 (+9.79%)
  • Switch (SWCH): 11.64 USD −0.12 (-1.02%)
  • CoreSite (COR): 108.12 USD +7.84 (+7.82%)
  • NTT (9432): 2,309 JPY +38 (+1.65%)
  • GDS Holdings (GDS): 52.10 USD +3.88 (+8.05%)
  • NextDC (NXT): 7.15 AUD +0.57 (+8.66%)
  • Schneider Electric (SU): 73.40 EUR +2.98 (+4.23%)
  • Vertiv (VRT): 7.25 USD −0.48 (-6.21%)

March 17, 20:58 – Facebook Live could be used to stream funerals in latest social distancing measure

Facebook could step up its contribution in helping with the crisis by partnering with funeral homes and broadcast funerals through Facebook Live.

The ideas being looked at by British funeral directors, however, it is not new. Several funeral homes already broadcast funerals live to people living abroad.


March 17, 18:18 – Uber and Lyft suspend shared rides

Two of the world’s largest share riding businesses, Uber Technologies and Lyft have suspended shared ride services in London and Paris, with the US and Canada set to follow as well as other geographies.

The apps normal taxi services as el as Uber Eats continue to operate as normal, however, Uber said it is in constant contact with local authorities and services could change according to the advice they might receive.


March 17, 16:02 – World’s largest tech companies combine forces in the fight against Covid-19 outbreak

Google and Youtube, as well as its parent company Alphabet, Microsoft and LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook have come together to “help millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation”.

The group of tech giants has invited other companies to join the group in an unprecedented move for the tech industry.


March 17, 14:37 – UK mobile networks go into meltdown as Coronavirus forces home working

The UK’s major mobile networks have been experiencing outages this morning as millions of people have been forced to work from home due to the Coronavirus.

According to real-time outage monitor, Down Detector, issues were being reported as early as 9:14am GMT, with networks including Vodafone, O2, 3, Virgin, Vodafone, Tesco, GiffGaff and EE, all being affected.

Natalie Bannerman has more here for Capacity Media.


Coronavirus
With the peak of the pandemic expected to hit many countries only between May and July, the Covid-19 pandemic is prone to affect all businesses in one way or another.

March 16, 13:47 Here’s 7 things data centre businesses should do during the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic

With the world rapidly coming to halt and no end in sight, Data Economy shares some ideas on how data centre operators can weather the storm.

From João Marques Lima here.


March 13, 12:40 – BT’s CEO self-isolates amid coronavirus diagnosis

Philip Jansen, CEO of BT Group has tested positive for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and following health protocols is having to self-isolate.

In a statement on the BT Group website, the company confirmed that it is working closely with Public Health England to carry out “a full deep clean” of parts of its Group headquarters and will support any employees who have had contact with Philip ensuring they are “appropriately advised”.

Natalie Bannerman writes for Capacity Media here.


March 12, 15:00 – Datacloud Global Congress in Monaco announces rescheduled dates for 7-8-9 December 2020

After discussions with industry partners, BroadGroup the producers of Datacloud Global Congress and Awards, has taken the decision to reschedule the annual June dates for the event in Monaco to 7-9 December 2020.

Because of the unfolding impact of Covid-19 and its impact on global travel and business, the company believes it is of importance to give clarity to its customers at a time of great uncertainty.

Read the official announcement by the organisers here.


March 12, 13:57 – DE-CIX sees record-level network traffic caused by COVID-19 virus pandemic

DE-CIX (the Deutsche Commercial Internet Exchange) in Frankfurt set a new world record for data throughput on Tuesday evening this week, driven by increased internet usage related to the Coronavirus outbreak.

It was in December 2019 that DE-CIX in Frankfurt hit the 8 Terabits-per-second mark, and it has now increased its data throughput by more than 12% in just a couple of months.

Abigail Opiah reports more here.


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March 10, 15:02 Coronavirus outbreak to wipe off $70m to $90m from Vertiv’s Q1

Vertiv Holdings Co (NYSE: VRT) reported its full-year 2019 financial results with net sales of $4.4 billion, 3.4% higher than 2018, and 5.6% higher on an organic basis when adjusted for changes in foreign currency exchange rates.

The company reported a full-year 2019 net loss of $141 million declined 55% and adjusted EBITDA of $542 million increased 7.8% from 2018 driven by the higher sales and a 50 basis point improvement in adjusted EBITDA margin to 12.2%.

Abigail Opiah writes more here.


March 6, 19:24 – Iron Mountain sends customer service advisory letters to clients and partners

Answering to the global crisis, Mark Kidd, EVP & General Manager at Iron Mountain Data Centers, has sent a letter to clients and partners on how the company is dealing with the crisis and what the next steps will be for the business.

Read the full letter here.


March 5, 09:55 – Coronavirus cancellations near $1 billion

The event economy is likely to suffer losses of US$1 billion as a direct result of tech industry event cancellations due to coronavirus.

The figure – calculated by PredictHQ and currently standing at $900 million  –  is based on the median fundamental costs incurred by delegates while attending specific major events, which were scheduled for the coming months. Naturally, as more events are cancelled the figure will increase, however, the actual losses to event organisers and hosts are unlikely to be calculated due to the sensitivity of the data.

Melanie Mingas writes for Capacity Media here.


March 4, 12:38 Tech losses mount as Google and Microsoft cancel events over COVID-19

Google is the latest to cancel its flagship 2020 event, as new data estimates total losses could reach $900 million.

The Google I/O conference, scheduled to take place at Shoreline Amphitheatre, in Mountain View, CA, from 12th May, has been cancelled following health guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, Google Cloud Next 20 will still take place as a series of virtual sessions and live-streamed keynotes.

Melanie Mingas reports here.


February 24, 11:46 Alibaba to give out free cloud to help businesses affected by Coronavirus

Alibaba Cloud is offering $1,000 of credits to purchase cloud services to organisations that have been impacted by the Coronavirus outbreak, to ensure business stability.

In the company’s December quarter 2019 results, Daniel Zhang, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group said that the company mobilised Alibaba ecosystem’s forces of commerce and technology to fully support the fight against the outbreak.

Abigail Opiah reports here.


Schneider Electric chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire takes to the stage at the company’s Innovation Summit 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. Photo: Schneider Electric

February 20, 14:41 Schneider Electric expects to recover from €300m revenue blow caused by Coronavirus

Schneider Electric has announced its fourth-quarter revenues and full-year results for the period ending December 31, 2019.

The France-based company reported €27.2bn revenues for the full year of 2019, a growth of +6%, and an organic growth of +4.2% with growth across businesses and all regions.

The company said that it is assessing the impact of the Coronavirus to the business, and stated that there will be an impact in Q1 2020 due to factory closures in January and February.

Abigail Opiah has the story here.


February 13, 14:08 – Alibaba Cloud sees big growth, aims for public cloud expansion

Alibaba Cloud maintained high growth for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2019, with revenue growing 62% year-over-year to RMB10.721bn (US$1.540bn). The growth was reported as part of parent Alibaba Group’s (NYSE: BABA and HKEX: 9988) posted quarterly results.

The leading Chinese cloud service provider said sales were driven from both its public cloud and hybrid cloud businesses. Ahead of its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival during the quarter, Alibaba Cloud said it enabled the migration of the Alibaba Group’s core ecommerce businesses onto its public cloud.

Antony Savvas reports.


February 13, 14:08 – Tencent pledges another $143m in response to the outbreak

As China’s death toll passes 1,300 following the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus, Chinese tech company Tencent has rallied funds to aid in the fight against the mass spread.

Tencent announced the establishment of the “Comprehensive Security Fund for the Battle against Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia”, following the launch of the $42.9m (RMB300m) Outbreak Response Fund and the $28.6m (RMB200m) Developer Support Alliance Fund.

The Chinese internet-based platform company set up the Anti-Epidemic Fund by committing another $143m (RMB1bn) to support the battle against the Coronavirus.

Abigail Opiah has more on the story here.

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