Data center outages are now less disruptive - but are costing more

Inside Facebook data center
(Image credit: Facebook)

Data center outages can cause havoc for businesses, but they may at least be becoming less common according to a report by the Uptime Institute.

In 2022, 60% of data center operators they surveyed said they had an outage in the past three years - down from 69% in 2021 and 78% in 2020 

In addition, outages in the "serious or severe" categories fell to 14% in 2022, or to just one in six among those who had an outage in the past three years.

What else has changed?

However, it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the data center world, as according to the research, these outages are becoming rather more expensive. 

When asked about the cost of their most recent outage, a quarter of the Uptime Institute's respondents said the outage had cost more than $1 million in both direct and indirect costs, a significant increase from 2021.

A further 45% of respondents said their most recent outage cost between $100,000 and $1 million and that more than two-thirds of all outages cost more than $100,000.

Why is the cost of outages increasing?

Uptime Institute attributed the rise to various factors, ranging from inflation, fines, service level agreement breaches, and the cost of labor, call-outs, and replacement parts.

However, the study highlighted the biggest reason for the rise being the growing dependency of corporate economic activity on business cloud storage, as the loss of a critical IT service "often translates directly and immediately into disrupted business and lost revenue".

On-site power problems remain the single biggest cause of significant site outages by a large margin according to the research, accounting for 44% of all outages reported.

This is well above the second most prominent causes of outages, IT systems and cooling, which both account for 13% respectively.

Will McCurdy has been writing about technology for over five years. He has a wide range of specialities including cybersecurity, fintech, cryptocurrencies, blockchain, cloud computing, payments, artificial intelligence, retail technology, and venture capital investment. He has previously written for AltFi, FStech, Retail Systems, and National Technology News and is an experienced podcast and webinar host, as well as an avid long-form feature writer.