Equinix has made the decision to lock out customers from accessing its data centres in France, Germany, Italy and Spain, as it deals with new social distancing mandates that are being enforced by governments all around the world in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. While other Equinix data centres around the world will remain open, with those outside the Asia-Pacific region switching to appointment-only.
According to an FAQ on the Equinix website ‘visitors, customers, customer contractors and non-critical Equinix vendors will not be permitted to enter the IBX facilities’ in the four countries that have imposed the strongest lockdowns. Those who are still able to access their local Equinix data centre have also been asked to ‘limit appointment requests during this unprecedented situation for only the most urgent and critical work’.
Considering the closure will mean customers won’t be able to manage their own equipment inside the data centres, this is a big decision for Equinix, although it’s one it has made to comply with both local mandates and ensuring it has enough healthy staff to ensure uptime is maintained.
Equinix has already sounded the alarm for what could possibly come next, noting in its FAQ that, "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."
To ensure that customers can still swap equipment when it’s absolutely necessary, however, Equinix is making its ‘Smart Hands’ service available, which means Equinix staff will perform the swap for you.
Typically the ‘Smart Hands’ service carries a service charge, and while that’s not changing, customers who are unable to pay but have to make a business critical equipment swap may be able use the service at no cost on a case-by-case basis.
While only data centres in France, Germany, Italy and Spain are affected by the current change, Equinix has stated that the situation remains fluid and it’s likely that other data centres could be added to list in the future. It’s likely that the UK data centres will fall under the new policy shortly, given UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already announced a partial lockdown.