You’ve got a minute? How about a couple? In the data center industry, that simple question could be mind-boggling when it comes to downtime. The Ponemon Institute recently reported that the cost of an unplanned data center outage is right around $9,000 per minute — up from $5,617 per minute in 2010 and $7,908 per minute in 2013.
That translates into an average cost of $740,357 for a data center outage — up from $505,502 in 2010 and $690,204 in 2013, according to the report which included surveys of 63 U.S.-based data center organizations that had experienced an outage in the previous 12 months. Worse yet, the costs are actually worse for companies; those numbers don’t take into account inflation.
Also, depending upon your industry, the overall costs could be significantly higher when taking into account customer perception, manufacturing operations, and other factors, according to Paul Hines, senior vice president of operations and engineering at Sentinel Data Centers. In addition to actual loss, he said, there’s opportunity lost and the loss of good will.
“Being down for a second can be equal to being down for several hours,” said Hines, noting that the cost per minute estimates could be closer to $10,000 or more. In an article for TechTarget, Hines said downtime could impact a company’s manufacturing operation, which could easily make damages from an outage more expensive.
The Ponemon Institute study also pointed to the causes behind the data center outages. They included the following: Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) failure, including UPS and batteries: 25 percent; cybercrime, 22 percent; and human error, 22 percent.
However, management should take on most of the responsibility for minimizing data center time, according to Julian Kudritzki, COO of the Uptime Institute. Because of inadequate training, staffing, processes and procedures, companies are failing to take measures to avert downtime, he said.
“Data center equipment performs very reliably if maintained well — but that has the mighty assumption of the right processes and procedures, and training and staff,” Kudritzki said in the TechTarget article.
Another major culprit that can prevent outages is the maintenance and upkeep of UPS batteries.
With adequate measures and processes in place, unplanned data center downtime could be reduced significantly.