Data Center Outages: The Top 5 Culprits May Surprise You

With Winter Storm Jonas living up to its Category 4 rating, crippling everything in its path throughout 14 states, IT experts encountered another test in ensuring that their data centers were able to operate and recover against the brutal conditions. Yet, as a recent study revealed, natural disasters still aren’t among the top 3 culprits of data center downtime.

Data Center Outages: The Top 5 Culprits May Surprise YouHowever, there have been some interesting developments in the top 5 culprits of data center outages. Take a look at how they ranked, according to a n​ew report​ by Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power.

1. UPS system failure. S​till leading the list as the top culprit, UPS system failure accounts for one-fourth of all unplanned data center outages. These types of outages can be traced to UPS systems as well as batteries.

2. Cybercrime. W​ith cybercrime accounting for just over 22 percent of unplanned outages in 2015, this event is now the second leading cause of data center outages. It also is the fastest growing cause of data center outages. Just 15 years ago, it accounted for only 2 percent of outages before climbing to 18 percent in 2013. Today, it almost is neck and neck with the #1 cause of UPS system failure.

3. Human error. U​nplanned outages caused by human error came in just behind cybercrime as the third leading cause. With human errors causing 22 percent of the failures in 2015 and 2013, it is on a slight decline from 2010 when 24 percent of outages were accidental or caused by human error.

4 . Weather. Despite their attention-grabbing nature, natural disasters and weather events made up 10 percent of outages. That’s down from 12 percent in 2013 and 2010.

5. Generators. T​he reliability of generators also seems to be on the uptick, with the systems only leading to 6 percent of data center outages — compared to 10 percent in 2010.

Lifeline Data Centers, a colocation provider headquartered in Indianapolis, is dedicated to helping its clients keeps unplanned outages to a minimum — which are now estimated to cost $9,000 a minute. Contact us to find out how we can do the same for you.

Schedule a Tour

Other resources:

Alex Carroll

Alex Carroll

Managing Member at Lifeline Data Centers
Alex, co-owner, is responsible for all real estate, construction and mission critical facilities: hardened buildings, power systems, cooling systems, fire suppression, and environmentals. Alex also manages relationships with the telecommunications providers and has an extensive background in IT infrastructure support, database administration and software design and development. Alex architected Lifeline’s proprietary GRCA system and is hands-on every day in the data center.
Alex Carroll