What does it take to win a data center industry award?
That’s a question that we worked hard to answer in our submission for the ‘Data Center Operations Team of the Year’ category of the 2020 DCD>Global Awards. The award honors the efforts and innovations of leaders in the data center sector to adapt to the environment and needs of the people they serve. With hundreds of competitive entries, this was something we went into cautiously optimistic.
Leadership, Tenacity and Adaptability Are Critical
As it turns out, going above and beyond day-to-day operations would be even more critical than ever in winning this award. Here’s how we did it.
In the first quarter of 2020, just as early indications of the pandemic (COVID-19) were starting to appear, our operations team jumped into action. Leveraging their distinct ability to anticipate the challenges that would be presented by the pandemic, we began aggressive internal education and client collaboration efforts to ensure effective operations in an environment with rapidly changing safety protocols and restrictions.
The Challenge – Back in Q1 2020, Cloudflare was in the process of expanding the existing capacity of their edge sites. However, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated end-user demands for greater capacity. As a result, Cloudflare’s expansion plans became even more critical. However, their existing set of service providers could not accommodate the varying restrictions that local and national governments began implementing as a result of the pandemic. This posed a clear risk to Cloudflare’s timeline.
The Solution – On a Monday, Cloudflare approached us with the need for immediate support at one of their sites in Chicago. By Wednesday, the initial plans were in place and Salute’s Global Command Center had dispatched technicians on site. Our role quickly evolved into helping Cloudflare complete the expansion of both their global dark fiber ring as well as the capacity at their edge sites. In just six months, Salute technicians deployed to 130 sites and installed into full operating order thousands of components per Cloudflare’s specification.
Our team demonstrated extraordinary leadership and adaptability during a global pandemic – all while providing continued support and world-class services to the most innovative companies in the world. As a result of partnering with Salute, customers experience reduced costs and increased operational resilience. They also benefit from personal supply chains that have proven long-term competitive advantage.
Pivotal Moments Leading to Success
Thanks to the foresight and expertise that Salute possesses, all of the aforementioned was done even before borders started closing and health safety guidance started being shared from country, state and local entities. The scenario was familiar because many of our personnel are combat veterans. They know, from experience, that even after a plan is built, it is important to reassess it constantly once the team starts executing.
Country wide curfews, specific document requirements and travel restrictions prevented many companies from executing deliverables. However, Salute’s global presence and command center served as the cornerstone to the contingency operations. This allowed rapid identification and response to each requirement that had to be met for the specific country to get techs on-site as fast as possible to ensure application services were not disrupted and additional capacity was deployed in advance of ever increasing demand.
What could have been a disaster proved to be another opportunity to innovate and grow. Our teams adapted global operations in a pandemic environment so that our clients could focus on their core business. We knew they needed the assurance that their data centers were being run in the most effective manner possible and that their technology was being deployed in response to capacity demand. Seeing the team execute without incident during this truly unique period of time was satisfying in so many ways. The individual satisfaction of overcoming all barriers as a team and exceeding all expectations build bonds and lessons learned that will propel even greater feats in the future.