What is the biggest cause of data center downtime? Hurricane Sandy? Power outage? Denial of service attacks? Or political instability? Apparently, the numer one cause for data center downtime continues to be the human element.
According to a couple of studies published by the Ponemon Institute in 2010 and 2011, the average cost of data center downtime is close to a whopping $505,000. The average contribution of human error to this is 25-50%, with some studies claiming close to 75% of the downtime. Whatever the cause – pulling a power cord out, failing to perform a check, errors in judgment during an emergency – human errors continue to be the most possible cause for data center downtime.
Is it possible to eliminate this cause completely? Probably not in our lifetime! So, here are the top three ways you can reduce, if not completely eliminate, human errors that cause data center downtime:
1. Plan, plan, and plan again: Running a data center needs planning at every level. The executive team approves the budget and plans the overall direction of your business continuity operations, the IT team plans the hardware installations and maintenance, the administrative team plans the day-to-day operations…. amidst these, you need to also plan for contingencies – power outages and equipment failure.
2. Train the team: Ensure you budget for training your team. Have a contingency plan in place and train the team to perform under all possible (and emergency) scenarios. Run practice drills and spot checks to ensure every person knows what he or she has to do during a data center downtime.
3. Maintain the facility: Keeping the hardware running, while ensuring optimal loads on the servers, can drain your IT and data center administrative team. You can reduce errors (both human and mechanical) by conducting periodic checks and maintenance on your equipment.
If all these sound way too complicated and complex for comfort, you may want to take a look at outsourcing your data center services to Lifeline Data Centers. With a guaranteed of 99.995% uptime and tens of thousands square feet of data center space available, Lifeline can help manage both the human and the technical elements of your data center.