What Is the Potential Impact of a Data Center Losing Power?

March 17, 2014
Michael Terlizzi

A power outage at a data center may very well be an IT person's worst nightmare. It generally means downtime, loss of business, added costs, and lots of stress and scrambling until the outage is resolved. Needless to say, the impact of a data center losing power can be enormous.

To put a full-on power outage into perspective, cost is a good indicator to follow.

In 2010, a Ponemon Institute study found that the cost of an unplanned data center outage was $5,600 per minute. That number in 2013 saw a 41% increase; the cost per minute of an unplanned data center outage last year was $7,900. The Ponemon Institute study shows several other startling numbers (all figures courtesy of Emerson Network Power):

  • Average cost of data center downtime across industries was approximately $7,900 per minute. (A 41 percent increase from the $5,600 in 2010.)
  • The average reported incident length was 86 minutes, resulting in average cost per incident of approximately $690,200. (In 2010 it was 97 minutes at approximately $505,500.)
  • For a total data center outage, which had an average recovery time of 119 minutes, average costs were approximately $901,500. (In 2010, it was 134 minutes at about $680,700.)
  • For a partial data center outage, which averaged 56 minutes in length, average costs were approximately $350,400. (In 2010, it was 59 minutes at approximately $258,000.)

As you can see, a data center power outage can get very expensive very fast if your data center service provider doesn't take the proper precautions. Plus, in addition to the costs above, there's also the potential that you may actually lose business while your network is down. While that is tougher to measure than the cost as seen above, it's still an important factor to consider when weighing the cost of an outage.

In real-world terms, data center outages—often because a data center loses power, whether because of a natural disaster like a flood or for other reasons—happen more often than you might think. Data Center Knowledge’s list of the worst outages of 2013 shows in real-world examples what can happen when your data center goes down.

When selecting a data center, you should make sure that your data center services provider offers adequate protection against natural threats and other threats to your reliability. Data center outages are simply too expensive not to take every possible precaution when hosting your business’ data. Choosing a data center provider with a long history of resiliency and a robust SLA such as Telx can make a big difference. Some areas to consider when evaluating an SLA are detailed in a recent blog post by Telx CEO Chris Downie – SLA’s and Telx: What You Need to Know.

Want to learn more about what Telx does to help prevent power outages at our data centers? Connect with us via the contact page of our site, or by Facebook or Twitter

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