Asleep on the job to beat London Olympic gridlock
By Paul Ridden
April 24, 2012
Two things are certain for the 2012 Olympic Games – London is going to be virtually impossible to travel through, and the internet is going to play a central role in event news coverage. A data center in the UK's capital is making plans to ensure that neither of these potential issues present a problem for its workforce, or hinder the provision of round-the-clock services to its customers. Interxion has announced the installation of sleeping pods at its London campus to allow engineers to remain on site in the event of citywide gridlock.
In the run up to the start of the London Olympics on July 27, the number of visitors to the nation's capital is expected to swell considerably and it's been reported that the locals are not convinced that London's transport infrastructure will be able to cope. While the 109-mile (175.4 km) Olympic road network will be strictly controlled to keep things moving, Transport for London reckons that almost a third of London's 9,200 miles (14,805 km) of road will suffer. The London Underground (tube system) is expected to carry 4.5 million passengers per day during the games, around 200 extra buses are being provided, cycle routes have been improved and enhanced to cope with more riders, and already busy airports will be absolutely heaving.
Heading off any potential staffing problems that might occur due to such a huge traffic increase, carrier-neutral colocation data center operator Interxion has installed five modular sleeping pods from Battersea's Podtime in the breakout area of its Brick Lane data center. The company hopes that allowing engineers to stay on campus for 24 hours per day if necessary will help ensure the continued operation of servers at the site – keeping social media platforms, online retail and banking, and education and entertainment channels up and running for millions of UK users.
"Using pods is beneficial to both staff and the company," said Podtime's Jon Gray. "As a staff member I can avoid hours of commuting by grabbing an evening pint while watching the Games, then relaxing in my overnight pod. As a company I know I won't suffer any operational downtime through absent staff. This will only be an issue on the high traffic days, but it's worth preparing for."
The pods are said to provide a peaceful and secure environment for occupants, and can be easily disassembled and stored once the Olympic panic is over.