Data Centre outages are costing more, with power failure the number one culprit 

Findings from Uptime Institute’s 2022 Global Datacentre Survey highlight the fact that downtime in the data center industry is becoming increasingly expensive, with the main cause identified as power failures. 

The report focuses on responses from more than 800 owners and operators of data centers, including those responsible for managing infrastructure at the world’s largest IT organisations. While sustainability, efficiency gains, staff shortages and supply chain issues also dominate the report, the issue of power resiliency remains dominant. 

$1m+ failures increasingly common

Data indicates that the costs of outages are on the increase. 

A quarter of respondents reported that their most recent outage cost more than $1 million in both direct and indirect costs. This is a significant increase from 2021, reflecting a continuing upward trend over the last five years. 

The report states, “Uptime’s 2022 annual survey findings are remarkably consistent with previous years. They show that on-site power problems remain the single biggest cause of significant site outages by a large margin.”

Backup power failure identified as the number one issue 

Further analysis in related research from the Uptime Institute identifies the biggest causes of power-related outages to be uninterruptible power supply failures, followed by transfer switch (generator / grid) and generator failures. 

Paul Brickman, Commercial Director at Crestchic Loadbanks, commented: “Although the data shows a trend towards improved outage rates, the frequency is still much too high and, with costs also on the rise, the consequences are getting worse. Data centre operators are well aware of the impact of a power outage and have measures in place to mitigate these risks. However, with backup power failures identified as the primary cause of power outages, as well as external issues around grid reliability, energy shortfalls, and the transition to more sustainable power sources, it has never been more important that operators test their backup power systems.”

Using a load bank to commission or regularly test the back-up power system not only tests the prime movers and the batteries (UPS), but ensures all other components such as the alternator and crucially the transfer switches are tested too. A load bank test not only proves that the UPS / generators will start, operate and run efficiently in the case of a power outage, but also that the sets can be safely turned off with no interruptions when mains power is restored. 

Paul concludes, “In a data center environment, the business case for using a load bank is clear cut – not testing is an extremely costly risk to take.”

For more information on how load banks can offer increased power reliability in a data center environment, please get in touch via our contact page.