Downtime costs $7900 per minute, on average

Downtime costs $7900 per minute, on average

The cost of datacenter downtime has increased more than 40% for many companies over the last 3 years, according to a recent study by Ponemon Institute, sponsored by Emerson Network Power. The report analyzes 67 datacenters during 2013 across a variety of different industries ranging in size from 2500 sq. ft to over 46,000 sq. ft. Ponemon conducted an identical report in 2010 and nicely compares the differences between the two to demonstrate that even though the number of outages were fewer and the length of outages slightly shorter, both the cost and impact of downtime increased significantly in 2013 from 2010.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • A study of 584 U.S. based datacenter professionals found that 91% of datacenters have experienced at least one, but often 2, unplanned datacenter outage in the past 24 months.
  • The average incident/outage length across all 67 datacenters was 86 minutes. Some were slightly shorter, but many were significantly longer.
  • The average cost per incident was $690,204.00 USD. Cost is directly proportionate to square footage.
  • The most common root causes from the top down were:
    • UPS system failure
    • Human error
    • Cyber crime (DDoS)
    • Weather related
    • Water or Air Conditioning failure
    • Generator Failure
    • IT equipment failure
  • 90% of the costs were attributed to business disruption, lost revenue and loss of productivity. The actual costs for recovery and repair were negligible in comparison.
  • 52% of those surveyed believed that most of the unplanned outages could have been prevented.

It should be no surprise that even more significant costs were incurred by companies whose revenue models depend on the datacenter’s ability to deliver IT and networking services to customers. This naturally includes e-commerce, software-as-a-service and similar organizations. Based on this and all of the above, it would seem wise for an organization to spend more money preventing outages in the first place.

Today, organizations are increasingly aware of downtime and the impact. Events such as the Superbowl power outage to outages on Amazon and Google only bring downtime to the foreground. This not only reinforces the criticality of availability, but also emphasizes the incredible financial cost associated with outages. Uptime is becoming more important than ever before and organizations must increase availability in order to save both money and reputation.

So what should we learn from this?

At Total Uptime, we know that datacenters have outages on a fairly regular basis. We’re customers in dozens of datacenters around the world, and while we’ve enjoyed excellent track records, issues do happen. Fortunately, we've designed for that and as a result there is almost zero impact to our solutions based on the incredible level of redundancy built-into our architecture, and the multi-datacenter footprint we've deployed.  Our solutions are designed to help organizations deal with downtime by automating redirection of client/user traffic to alternate datacenters during an incident. Simple solutions like DNS Failover can mitigate an outage in under 5 minutes, and more advanced solutions like Cloud Load Balancing can bring it down to under a minute.

The study is available at the Emerson website.

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