According to Uptime Institute’s data center outage report, power failure is the biggest cause of data center outage followed by network outages, IT system issues and human errors. The report further studied different types of outages, frequency of data center outages as well as financial implications of these outages on businesses.
This article will highlight ten important things you need to know about data center outages.
1. Data Center Outage Rates are Shrinking
2. Outage Severity is Declining
3. Financial Damage Is Increasing
4. Third Party Vendors are Responsible For Most Public Outages
5. Human Error Still Leads To Outages
6. Power Issues Continues To Haunt Data Centers
7. Rising Network Complexity Results In More Outages
8. Configuration and Change Management Issues Causes Software Outages
9. Hardware Failure Is Still An Issue
10. Fires Are Rare But Dangerous
Here are ten things you should know about data center outages.
As the data center industry expands, new data centers were established. As a result, most people expect the data center outages to grow. That is true to a certain extent. Surprisingly, the Uptime Institute report found something quite the opposite. They found that the data center outage rate per site is shrinking. Even the overall data center outage number is not growing as fast as the footprint of data centers is increasing.
Data from the report show that 78% of survey respondents said that they experienced a data center outage in the last three years in 2020. Gradually, that number continues to decline, racing 69% in 2021 and 60% in 2022. This is a positive sign and an indicator that the data center outage situation is improving every year.
Despite 60% of data centers experiencing outages in the last three years, only a handful of them were severe in nature. According to the report, only 14% of these data center outages were serious or of high severity. Last year, that number stood at 20%. This clearly shows a downward trend in the severity of data center outages.
Highlighting the main reason behind this, Chris Brown, who is the chief technology officer at Uptime said, “We’ve become much better at designing systems and managing operations to a point where a single fault or failure does not necessarily result in a severe or serious outage.”
Despite the decreasing number and severity of data center outages, the financial damages are increasing. According to the report, 45% of businesses said that their recent data center outages cost them more than $100,000 and less than $1 million. 25% said that most recent outages cost them $1 million. The highest costs can be attributed to higher inflation as the cost of replacing equipment and labor is much higher than it used to be a few years ago.
With more and more businesses outsourcing IT to third party service providers, these vendors are struggling to keep pace with it which is why we are experiencing most data center outages from these providers. In fact, 66% of data center outages happened due to these third party providers since 2016. What’s even worse is that the number is increasing with each passing year.
In 2021, the number of data center outages caused by cloud and telecommunication service providers stood at 70%. The number jumped to 81% in 2022. Expect this trend to continue in 2023 and beyond as more and more businesses rely on these third party providers for IT services.
After analyzing 25 years of data, Uptime found that human error resulted in 66% to 80% of all data center outages. When you dig deeper to unearth the reasons, you will find that these human errors are caused by staff not following the procedures or by following the faulty procedure. Other causes include, installation issues, service issues, lack of staff and frequency of preventive maintenance.
One of the biggest causes of on site data center outages is power issues. 44% respondents said that power outage was the primary cause of the most recent data center outage that impacted their business. What’s even more interesting is the fact that power outages were also the main reason behind data center outages in 2021 with 41% respondents citing power issues as the main culprit.
44% of respondents said that network and connectivity issues were the key reason behind data center outage. In a rapidly evolving network landscape, network optimization tools need to be constantly reconfigured. Coupled with rising complexity of the network, minor errors can easily travel across the newtok. This means that it is harder to identify, stop and fix issues causing the network outage in the first place.
When Uptime Institute scratched the surface on common causes of networking issues, they found that configuration and change management failures were at the top of the list. 45% of survey respondents said that these configuration mistakes and change management failures are the main reason behind network outages while 64% cite it as the key driver behind software outages.
Another common link between network and software outages is hardware failure. 37% businesses blame hardware failure for network disruptions while 36% hold hardware failure responsible for software related outages. Hardware issues were also the main cause behind IT system issues, making it a problem that affects different aspects of your IT infrastructructure from network to software to IT systems.
The Uptime Institute report found that fires were one of the main reasons behind data center outages especially in publicly reported data center outages but they ranked very low or did not rank when they checked the IT sources. 7% of publicly reported data center outages were caused by fires and most of them were mainly caused by the use of lithium ion batteries.
Which of these facts you didn’t know about data outages? Share it with us in the comments section below.