How Equinix Data Centers Defied Superstorm Sandy

Phil Schwarzmann

Last week this time Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on data centers across America’s northeast coast. You may have seen your favorite sites and web services go down for hours at a time, yet, Equinix data centers remained strong with little or no downtime to customers. Why did Equinix fare differently than others?

“People, process, infrastructure and preparation. This is what separates us from the competition”, says Raouf Abdel, the Americas Regional Operating Chief at Equinix.


“We have processes in place to handle just about
every event you can think of.”


Abdel knows this well. He and his team have been working 24/7 since the possibility of the “perfect storm” surfaced two weeks ago.

“We had employees who had personal devastation in their own communities, but yet, they made Equinix facilities and customers a priority.”

“I absolutely had folks working 30-40 hours straight for three days in a row. Many had flooding in their own homes. They were leaving behind family. Many were evacuated out of their homes. They showed tremendous dedication.”


Equinix has dozens of data center sites in locations hardest hit by the storm. Virginia, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Boston, New Jersey and New York are all home to Equinix data centers containing some of the global economy’s most crucial data. While power was cut to millions of homes and many data centers, Equinix relied on its generators and backup infrastructure (pictured above) as daily shipments of fuel were trucked in to ensure levels never fell below 50%.

“It’s a process that’s been developed over 10 years of operations”, explains Abdel. “We have processes in place to handle just about every event you can think of.”

“We have multiple checking in everything we do, so it’s not a single person, action or thought that can cause issues. It’s a multi-tiered review process that makes it very thorough and less susceptible to human error.”

A portable bed inside an Equinix NY4 data center.


No rest for the Equinix weary as Abdel’s team is preparing for yet another storm crawling up the coast.

“Operations are never off. We’re always monitoring and on call ready to react. We’re constantly communicating to customers. You never know what will happen.”

Thanks to this, companies who chose Equinix for their data center needs couldn’t be happier. When asked for the secret Equinix’s success, Raouf shares a simple explanation.

“We build great and very resilient data centers.”