What You Should Know About Data Center Uptime

The following is a guest blog by Alex Carroll, co-owner and managing member of Lifeline Data Centers in Indianapolis. 

Anyone in the data center industry—or in business, for that matter—understands the importance of uptime. Recent statistics show that it costs, on average, $8,851 each minute businesses experience a data center outage — an essential reason to minimize the incidents that cause downtime.

While there’s already pressure for IT professionals and data center managers to maintain a high rate of uptime, the demand will be even more intense in the 2020s. The expectation will be for 100% uptime, as internet connectivity—especially with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT)—will become essential for everyday living, experts projected.

“For data centers, the idea that you need to be perfect will not be far from the truth,” futurist Michael Rogers said during a Dell World presentation. “Every decision you make needs to head to that point on the horizon.”

In the future, losing an internet connection will be as disruptive as losing electrical power, he added. “We will be asking data centers to provide the type of reliability power plants provide, only moreso,” he said.

Unfortunately, data center operations of all sizes are not there yet. According to an AFCOM survey, 81% of respondents reported a data center failure in the previous five years. About 20 percent had experienced five or more failures.

Did your data center report a failure in the last five years?

Assessing data center uptime
Among the initiatives data centers are exploring to increase uptime include infrastructures that receive higher ratings from the Uptime Institute for reliability; predictive support which anticipates failures; and the minimizing of human errors, which have been attributed to as much as 75% of data center outages.

The Uptime Institute, for example, certifies data centers based on four tiers — Tier I through Tier IV. Under the classification system, the uptime rating is determined by infrastructure, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), power and cooling equipment, engine generators, and other components that impact uptime. Even a slight difference in the uptime rating — from 99% to 99.9% could translate into nine hours a year, which could result in significant losses.

Also, training employees to avoid the type of errors that can contribute downtime should be a top priority for your data center. Understanding why and how downtime happens will be critical in combatting it.

What you should know
Downtime in any business is no joke and can create serious problems. From loss of productivity to loss of revenue, if you’re experiencing downtime on even a semi-consistent basis, it’s time for you to outsource your data center needs or find a new data center.

At Lifeline Data Centers, we developed custom processes (and trademarked them) because they worked so well:

  • Redundant Array of Generators™
  • Redundant Array of UPS’s™
  • Redundant Array of Chiller Plants™
  • Most Direct Power Path™

These custom processes have contributed to our 99.999% uptime, and our largest data center where we have been able to employ our full sets of technology has not experienced an outage since inception—going on eight years.

As you explore ways to boost uptime while expanding capacity, give us a call. We can give you insights on how to reach your goals. Schedule a tour with us today.


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 headed the team that developed Lifeline’s proprietary, award-winning equipment maintenance methodology. He is also hands-on every day in the data center.

Screening Data Center Providers: Discerning a Provider that Won’t Let You Down

data-center-colocation

For companies looking to quickly expand their data center capabilities without building out their own facilities, outsourcing is increasingly a favored, no-brainer option. While outsourcing options abound, pinpointing the one that best fulfills your company’s needs and long-term goals without wasting resources requires careful consideration of numerous factors.

Choosing a data center provider based purely on budget and short-term wins would be a costly mistake you’re guaranteed to regret when the apparent savings bite back in technology misfires, unreliable performance and extended downtime. Save yourself the headache and dollars by screening potential providers with the following criteria—key attributes of a data center that won’t let you down.

1. Certifications
Data centers are generally evaluated by the Uptime Institute and classified based on the performance of their infrastructure, uptime and other factors that determine reliability. With each Tier level, I through IV, the data center’s infrastructure costs and operational complexities increase, according to Uptime. Also, Tier IV centers are required to demonstrate a higher level of uptime. Uptime Institute recommends that companies analyze their business applications and needs when making a decision on data center providers.

2. Compliance
It’s critical that a data center provider keeps you in compliance with regulations specific to your industry. Many companies face audits, including SSAE 16, NFPA, TIA-942, HIPAA, FISMA, FDA, PCI/DSS and Sarbanes-Oxley. It is imperative that the data center provider you choose possesses expertise with regard to these audits.

3. Data Center Location
One of the most critical factors of a reliable data center provider is location. Access it to determine the history of natural disasters in the area, including tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Other factors that can influence the data center’s resilience and ability to bounce back from crisis scenarios include proximity to other businesses and first responders, like police officers and firefighters.

4. Facility
The data center building should feature state-of-the-art equipment, cooling and updated infrastructure, including structural reinforcements. It also should be well guarded by security officials.

5. Redundant Power/Cooling
A quality data center includes quality generators, uninterruptible power supplies, power delivery, utilities and cooling infrastructure systems. When screening providers, ask specific questions about Service Level Agreements (especially about uptime); electrical and cooling; redundancy power architecture; backup systems; monitoring; and transformers.

Since 2001, Lifeline Data Centers has earned a reputation as a leader in data center compliance, uptime, and innovation—including a notable recognition as one of the 20 most promising data center providers in 2016 by CIOReview, citing Lifeline’s 99.999% uptime, multi-layered security systems, highly compliant processes, and “superior and compliant” workspace. The company is also currently undergoing the arduous task of becoming FedRAMP-authorized—the highest level of clearance to house government and military data.

Find out if Lifeline is the provider you’ve been searching for. Visit lifelinedatacenters.com. Also read the Chamber’s recent BizVoice magazine feature on the company.

Want to learn why EMP shielding, FedRAMP certification, and Rated-4 data centers matter to your business? Download Lifeline’s infographic series on EMP, FedRAMP, and Rated-4! Read online.