March 2020

Joe Parrino
Global Alliance Director – CBRE
President 7×24 Exchange
Rocky Mountain Chapter


These are historic and strange times we are living through.  They come 102 years after the terrible 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.  We’re likely watching the news much more intently, many of us are tracking this thing daily.  I’m having numerous “what-ifs” swimming around in my mind…”what-if I get it?”, what-if my 96 year old dad gets it?”, “what-if people close to me don’t survive it?”.

My paradigm-shift is the realization of how much we gather as family, friends, colleagues.  We gather to worship, we gather to celebrate, we gather to learn, to be entertained, watch or participate in sports and leisure, to travel.  This all seems to be coming to a sudden, grinding halt.

Economically, no one knows how deeply the world will be affected.  In my ‘non-economist’ view, this is a totally different animal than the Great Recession of 12 years ago.  During the Great Recession, our industry was largely unscathed.  Data Center construction didn’t stop.  This is different…again…we just don’t know.

As data center professionals, we’ve been asking different “what-ifs?”.  When I think if data center operations, I frame this as “what can happen?”  Many of us who’ve been in ops for a few years have surely developed that mindset.

How then, can we apply it to this situation?  How can we be as proactive as possible?  How can we do our part to “flatten the curve” of infection so our mission-critical healthcare systems aren’t overwhelmed?

  • Are we implementing reduced-work schedules?
  • Are we sanitizing high-traffic areas our buildings at a higher-frequency?
  • Are we working remotely?
    • Does the VPN have enough bandwidth?
    • Do we have visibility into our Building Automation systems?
  • Most of all, are we all following CDC and WHO guidelines?
  • If a worst-case mandatory quarantine is implemented like in Wuhan China, northern Italy, and even here in the U.S. in New Rochelle NY, what’s our plan?
    • Are our Emergency Generator tanks full?
    • Do our I.T. systems touch emergency services…healthcare, government, 911 call centers?
    • If so, should we contact our local emergency planning commissioners to be given travel permissions to keep our sites up and running?

Following a fabulous 2020 Kickoff Meeting with 100+ attendees last week, we are evaluating postponement of our May 9th meeting at NCAR.  (there’s my paradigm-shift showing up again!)

We will keep you posted.  Be assured we will make decisions that revolve around your safety.

I wish all of you and your loved-ones total wellness during this historic and strange period we’re living through.