No More Server Downtime: 5 Common Data Center Outages and How to Avoid Them

Today, the modern world uses devices for almost everything.

Issues like a low battery or a total malfunction can negatively impact any individual or business. While mechanical failures happen all the time with personal devices, data center outages can cause serious issues for businesses of any size.

Most people begin looking into San Francisco Bay Area data center alternatives to avoid some of the issues related to downtime and other problems. Unfortunately, data outages are actually more common than many people realize. Surveys from just a few years ago have shown that about one-third of all data centers have experienced some type of outage in the past 12 months.

Business owners can have a difficult time trying to predict and plan for all the potential scenarios that may derail progress. This is especially true when some data center outages, such as natural disasters, are uncontrollable. While this is true, there is a step that business owners can take -; getting to know some of the most common causes of data center outages. Keep reading to learn what these causes are.

1. Hardware Outages and Malfunctions

A data center is a physical structure that relies on the sustainability of nearby physical structures. In some situations, physical equipment, such as the IT hardware fails, which causes the outage. This is especially true for businesses in the tech industry and for data centers where machines are constantly running. With such a high level of vulnerability, it is no big surprise that hardware malfunction is a top cause of outages at data centers.

Another issue relates to the data center cooling systems, which may also fail. Also, older servers reach the end of their life, which means racks can go down. The list of possible issues is extensive.

One way to prevent serious issues caused by these problems is by engaging in preventative and predictive maintenance. This will help individuals be aware of possible failures in the pipeline. Just remember, there are no guarantees. The best way to prepare for a data center outage is to have a contingency plan in place for when they occur. Just be ready to divert power somewhere else or have backups ready to go.

2. Downtime Caused by Software Failure

Since the move to more network-based, virtual infrastructures in the past ten years, it is no big surprise that software failures can also cause data center downtime and outages.

While they are much shorter and not as likely as hardware failures, they are still possible. When software is outdated, it can create dangerous security gaps. Improper or subpar testing practices, unpatched glitches, and software bugs all threaten the stability of a data center that uses a software infrastructure.

Like hardware-related problems, regular monitoring and maintenance play a huge role in limiting outages because of software failures. It is important to remain vigilant and engage in regular besting and updates to prevent or recognize possible shortcomings that may cause dangerous and expensive downtime.

3. Data Center Outages and Cyber Attacks

Cyberattacks are growing. The threat they pose against potential data center outages and downtimes is higher than ever before. Besides the array of headlines that a cyberattack poses, the actual long-term effects and the recovery process can cause instability in any organization.

The use of IoT (internet of things) devices and public cloud services, along with other modern trends, have put today's data center networks at risk, of being attacked by ransomware. It is essential to analyze possible security gaps in data centers and plan based on what is found.

4. Natural Disasters and Data Centers

Similar to mechanical failures, issues related to natural disasters cannot be avoided. Understanding the location of the data center and the possible risks in the geographical area is essential when it comes to reducing downtime.

It is important to know the risks. For example, is the data center in a location that is struck by hurricanes regularly? Is there the possibility of tornadoes or earthquakes? By learning about the physical layout and the structure of data centers as they relate to natural disaster protection, it is possible to safeguard long-term stability.

It is also essential to have a plan. If a natural disaster occurs, businesses need some type of evacuation plan; however, do not stop there. It is also necessary to have a plan to help protect their physical assets. Be sure to utilize the proper disaster recovery plan to minimize outages, too.

5. Outages Caused by Human Error

Of all the potential issues that lead to a data center outage, the most common is related to human error. Like the issues mentioned above, human error is almost impossible to completely protect against. Sometimes, simple negligence that is the technician's fault is to blame, but the issue may also be a total accident. The fact is, though, it is very difficult to ignore the often-devastating effects of human error.

Programmed predictive maintenance and AI analytics can help reduce the effect and the need for human input and interference in the daily operations. However, it is essential to have the proper processes in place, which is going to make a huge difference. It may include simple tasks such as the proper documentation of day-to-day operations, proper inventory checks for cooling equipment, or physical maintenance inspections.

Be sure the right training programs have been established for employees and remain vigilant to correct and discipline any potential deviations from different processes. If employees understand how important their role is in protecting the business's day-to-day operations, they are going to take more care to make sure the processes are followed closely and handled appropriately.

Preventing Data Outages

It is estimated that the average data outage will cost around $9K per minute. However, it is also believed that this number is growing steadily.

Therefore, it is so important to work to keep downtimes as low as possible. The right recovery problem is also essential; however, it is more than just that. It is also necessary to understand how to execute this recovery plan. Keep this in mind to ensure serious issues do not arise from data center outages and downtime.