Enterprise IT Watch Blog

Nov 10 2010   9:51AM GMT

Planning for unplanned data center outages

Melanie Yarbrough Profile: MelanieYarbrough

A recent Ponemon Institute study revealed that 95% of organizations represented by the 450+ U.S.-based data center professionals surveyed have experienced an unplanned data center outage within the past two years.

For some perspective, some data center outages can add up to thousands of dollars in loss per second of outage.

The numbers just don’t add up. In an environment where 65% of business models depend on the data center for revenue generation and e-commerce and 51% believe every application in the data center is mission critical, why are we still seeing at least 57% preventable unplanned outages? If you asked the right 59% of respondents, they’d say the risk has actually increased because of constrained data center budgets. When we asked IT Knowledge Exchange members about what’s plaguing their data centers, the first concern voiced was money.

This seems to be the consensus. Of the respondents to the Ponemon study:

  • only 37% stated they have ample resources to bring the data center back up in the event of an unplanned outage.
  • a mere 32% believe they’ve utilized best practices in data center design and redundancy to maximize availability.

How can I prevent a doomed data center?

As member Carlosdl pointed out, money is a minor concern when issues such as unplanned outages or overwhelming data growth present themselves: “Well, yes, money tends to be an obstacle when solving situations (such as data growth) that weren’t seen as problems in the past implies the acquisition of new tools/services. But maybe we wouldn’t need new tools or services to manage data growth if an appropriate data retirement policy would have been set in the past.” He poses the question: Are there seemingly innocuous functions that we see as normal now that will require investment to be solved in the future?

Perhaps something like virtual machine sprawl, created by lack of policy regarding the haphazard creation of virtual machines for testing applications, will prove an obstacle for future data center administrators. Since free solutions are the exception rather than the rule, data center admins need to step up their game, get creative and cautious.

Caution? We don’t need no stinkin’ caution!

The truth is, when you’re wandering around the million square foot showroom floor at the latest IT conference, new, shiny products and promises can be enticing.  But each new application or process you employ comes with risks; policies must be firmly in place before deployment.

Melanie Yarbrough is the assistant community editor at ITKnowledgeExchange.com. Follow her on Twitter or send her an email at Melanie@ITKnowledgeExchange.com.

 Comment on this Post

There was an error processing your information. Please try again later.
Thanks. We'll let you know when a new response is added.
Send me notifications when other members comment.

Forgot Password

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an e-mail containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Share this item with your network: