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Q&A: How one Italian data centre provider is coping under lockdown

Wed 15 Apr 2020

Aruba is one of the largest data centre providers in Europe and operates four facilities in the Italian cities of Arezzo (2), Milan and Rome. In this Q&A, Alessandro Bruschini, Infrastructure Manager at Aruba, gives us a glimpse of how the company is maintaining uptime in a country hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. 

How have Aruba employees been affected?

Coronavirus has impacted people’s lives in Italy and across the world. Since then, we’ve all had to change our daily habits including the way we work. Inside Italy, travelling and transferring from one point to another is forbidden in most cases. Only travel deemed necessary is allowed to pass through checkpoints.

From an operations perspective, the majority of Aruba employees based in Italy have been instructed to operate remotely in the safe confines of their homes. Aruba is in a better position compared to companies in other sectors. In IT, work can largely be done remotely, and the benefits of working in such a sector (compared to tourism for example), is that most if not all work can be performed remotely.

The current situation does not have an immediate block or a devastating impact in the short term on Aruba. Most of our employees operate remotely from home, benefiting of our full IT support, including being equipped with laptops/computers, VPN to access shared internal systems and materials, tools to allow virtual meetings, 1:1’s, call conferences and so on.

We have provided all possible and necessary tools and methods to support our workers remotely and this has so far worked very well.

How has Aruba prepared so far, and what further action does it expect to take?

Currently, we’ve provided all of our employees working remotely with the necessary tools to allow them to continue their day to day work. Within the data centres themselves, we took extra care and attention towards implementing measures that would allow us to protect (clean, disinfect, provide masks to staff on site, etc.) the premises and allow our employees to continue their shifts, monitor the DC infrastructure, and, in general, the facility. This is similar to what we generally do for the FOC (Facility Operation Center) and NOC (Network Operation Center).

We have a minimum essential number of staff who carry out their work flawlessly and following the national provisions offered by the government, such as maintaining the 1 / 2 metres physical distance between people.

All of our employees have been provided with all the best tools to guarantee they work in the best conditions possible from wherever they are.

Should the worst case happen, and no employees are able to travel, how long can Aruba’s systems operate?

This is not something we expect to happen and as mentioned before, Aruba’s employees can easily operate and work remotely if that was the case. What we’re currently doing is empower the ‘virtual’ relationships with our other colleagues, teams, staff and customers too.

Crucially, we have the skills and experience necessary to make the company work even in a different configuration that we’re not used to on a day-to-day basis. At the moment we are also considering other solutions and tools, because the situation is developing with each passing day, so we’re considering other aspects and if it will be necessary to do something more, we’ll do it.

What paid sick leave does Aruba offer employees?

We’re closely monitoring what the government’s policies are regarding paid sick leave and are ready to action any provision required and offered by the Italian government.

How many of its staff are contractors, and do they get access to the same sick leave?

This is a tricky question because I cannot offer a definitive answer here. But I can tell you that all the people in Aruba’s employment, both contractors and in-house have been provided with all the necessary tools at our disposal so that they can continue to service our data centres and serve our customers from the safe surroundings of their home.




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