Avoiding Data Center Downtime

Even a small data center outage can have a big knock-on effect for your business. When your data center goes down for any reason, you can’t continue your business operation which isn’t good for your profit lines. Amazon found that out in 2013 when a 49 minute outage cost them an estimated $4 million in lost sales.

datacenterHopefully your business won’t find itself $4 million down, but with research by Ponemon suggesting that the average cost to business of data center downtime is over $6000 dollars a minute, your business can’t afford to be complacent.

So what can you do to minimize the financial and other costs of data center downtime?

More Than Just Lost Sales

Data center downtime can have several unpleasant knock-on effects for your business. The potential loss of sales is an obvious one of course – if your service isn’t there, people can’t get in touch with your or make payments, especially if you happen to sell online.

There’s more to it than that though – a data outage causes a drop in productivity and can throw off schedules and deadlines. You might find yourself facing an unexpected bill for repairing the problem, depending on what caused the outage in the first place.

Last but by no means least; a data center outage can damage your reputation with your customers who will see you as frustrating and unreliable if they’re trying to reach you when it happens.

Doing all you can to prevent data center outages is vital for keeping things running and keeping that trust.

Solve Problems Before They Happen

There are many causes of data center downtime. Some of the most common include:

  • UPS battery failure;
  • UPS capacity exceeded;
  • Human error;
  • Equipment failure;
  • Water damage;
  • Cyber-attack;
  • Circuit breakers;
  • Weather related damage.

Many of these problems are preventable.

By properly assessing potential risks to your data center and taking steps to minimize them, you could save yourself thousands of dollars in lost revenue. Pay attention to the design of your data center, and the way the equipment is used.

Streamlining systems and looking for bottle necks is vital – overloaded equipment can cause problems. Be proactive about replacing batteries or any other equipment – in this case prevention really is better than cure.

You can also take charge of the human element of data center outages by ensuring that your employees are well trained in using equipment and software.

Make clear what to do and who to call if there is a problem, preventing well-meaning attempts to fix problems from making them worse. Good communication now can prevent lost profits and frustration later.

Have a Plan in Place

If you want to minimize potential data center problems in your business, it’s vital that you plan for two things: data center maintenance and what to do in the case of an outage. Everything in your data center needs maintaining. By planning for that maintenance, you’re planning to protect your data center.

From pro-actively replacing equipment with a limited life before it can fail, to maintaining your servers and software to run at their most efficient, to servicing components, plan for every aspect of maintenance now and save you future trouble.

Of course even with a vigilant attitude, an outage can still happen, so make sure you have a plan in place on how to handle an outage and get things running again as quickly as possible.

Figure out what resources you will need to get your data center back up ahead of time, and ensure those resources are available and can be allocated at a moment’s notice. Make sure employees know what to do during an outage and can help deal with any problems.

No one wants to deal with a data outage.

By planning ahead and assessing potential problems you can keep your data center working at its best and minimize the risk of outages, which means less stress for you in the long run, and less risk to your profits and reputation.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as data, marketing, equipment maintenance, and SEO.