Ben Hatton Understanding the Impact of Data Center Downtime

November 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Drive to Thrive logo

The Drive to Thrive report looks extensively at the impact that downtime has had on federal data centers around the country. (Image courtesy of MeriTalk)

The top priority for any data center operator is to ensure that downtime never occurs, and in the (hopefully rare) event that it does, to restore availability as quickly as possible. A big thing that plays into this is the ability for the data center to empathize with the people who rely on it, in order that they can truly understand the specific impact downtime can have. Downtime affects more than just the data center’s bottom line; more importantly it affects the operations of customers who have equipment in the data center, and everyone else who relies on those services being available. Having a solid understanding of the impact downtime has is something that will benefit any data center operator.

The ‘Drive to Thrive’ data center report

This is why I found some of the stats from the recent ‘Drive to Thrive’ report from MeriTalk on federal data centers so alarming. This report is based on a survey that was taken of 300 federal IT workers, and it focuses extensively on the level of data center downtime they typically see. Not only did the survey find that downtime is a regular occurrence for the majority of federal IT workers, but federal data center operators appear to have a skewed perception of just how impacting a downtime event can be. You’ll see what I mean shortly. Here are a few of the key findings from the survey:

  1. Over the course of one month, 70% of federal agencies experienced downtime events lasting 30 minutes or more.
  2. These events affected the ability to work for 90% of federal employees.
  3. When asked to assign their data centers a letter grade for how well they perform, 36% of the employees gave a C, stating that they cannot manage downtime well, and that it occurs often.
  4. The most telling stat: From everyone surveyed, only 29% believe that their data center personnel fully understands the impact that downtime has on their ability to work.

These findings certainly show that federal data centers have a problem when it comes to preventing downtime from occurring (the vast majority of downtime was caused by server outages or connectivity failures). However, I believe that a major underlying cause for this occurring in the first place is ultimately a disconnect in how data center operators view the impact of downtime. Having the mindset that even a small amount of downtime won’t have major repercussions, or any other skewed mindset about downtime in general, will mean trouble for you if you run a data center. As data center operators we need to assume that any amount of downtime will have a disastrous impact on the people who rely on us (it does after all, the numbers speak for themselves). Any attitude less than this is a compromise that we can’t (and shouldn’t) make.

Downtime is bad, period.

We realize that our level of uptime at Data Cave impacts much more than our own business and reputation, but more importantly it impacts the success and livelihood of each of our clients, as well as everyone who counts on their services being available. This empathy towards the success of our clients has been a driving factor in our efforts to prevent downtime in all of its forms from occurring. While the government’s data center operators appeared to have a skewed understanding about the effects of downtime, we feel that the serious way that we view it has put us at an advantage, setting a solid foundation for every decision we have made at our data center.

If you would like to learn about some of the other things that set Data Cave apart from other data centers, contact us today!

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