Data Center Outages Increasingly Costly

December 4, 2013 By William Opalka

Facebook data centerCosts of unplanned data center downtime have increased by 41 percent over the past three years, according to the “2013 Cost of Data Center Outages” study done by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by Emerson Network Power.

The US-based study tabulates the costs associated with data center downtime at slightly more than $7,900 per minute, up from $5,600 in 2010.

This year’s report analyzes costs at 67 data centers within the last year across varying industry segments with a minimum size of 2,500 square feet. A comprehensive analysis of the direct, indirect and opportunity costs from data center outages is provided. Damage to mission-critical data and equipment, impact on productivity, legal and regulatory repercussions, and lost trust are examined.

The rise in costs was expected, given the increased demands on the centers, but the size was greater than anticipated, the study’s author said.

Other report highlights include:

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.)

Organizations such as telecommunications and e-commerce, or those that deal with secure data, continue to incur the most significant costs associated with downtime; with the highest cost of a single event more than $1.7 million.

In September, Emerson Network Power released the first part of this study, which surveyed more than 450 US-based data center professionals and focused on the root causes and frequency of data center downtime.

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