New research from the Uptime Institute is in…when it comes to the quantity of data center outages in the year 2020, there weren’t any increases. That’s […]

Data Center Outages: First Good News Then Expensive News

New research from the Uptime Institute is in…when it comes to the quantity of data center outages in the year 2020, there weren’t any increases. That’s […]


New research from the Uptime Institute is in…when it comes to the quantity of data center outages in the year 2020, there weren’t any increases. That’s right: less data center outages. In fact, despite the impact of COVID-19, Uptime’s research shows that, on the individual facility level, there are less outages. Cheers: good news!

The alarming news? IT dependency is growing, and will only continue to do so in the future….and Uptime’s research shows that the impact of outages is worsening and growing more expensive per outage as business IT dependency continues to increase. More than half of those asked reported an outage that cost over 100k, and a third of those asked reported an outage that cost at least a million dollars. Yikes…

The #1 cause of outages? Uptime pinpointed that IT software and configuration issues were responsible for a whopping 42% of outages. The second leading cause (..at a distant second)? Capacity/demand was responsible for 12% of outages. The third? Network cabling/radio was responsible for 8% of outages. While it’s great news that data center outages didn’t increase in 2020 (although it was a wild card year), the bad news is that data center outages are hugely expensive and impactful.

Data Center Infrastructure Management software (DCIM) to the rescue…With DCIM, you can take action to address the three leading causes of expensive, and damaging, data center outages.

IT Software/Configuration

DCIM software such as netTerrain gives you a bird’s eye view of your infrastructure configuration. See where assets are and exactly how they are configured — down to the port level. From how the network is configured down to knowing what applications are installed on your servers through network discovery (SNMP (CDP, LLDP), WMI), software name, version numbers, to know if your application versions are up to date. See what version of Cisco O/S you are running, add data fields such as maintenance date, contract expiration date, to get a handle of your software and IT assets.

Capacity/Demand

DCIM software allows you to plan effectively for demand and capacity. With DCIM, you can achieve a balance: avoid overspending…and avoid not having the equipment you need when you need it. One of the key aspects for making an investment with a DCIM software is knowing what capacity your data center has, as it relates to your rack space capacity, power availability, and weight of the racks. Run management-style dashboard capacity reports to see which rooms, racks have available capacity, real-time power capacity to help even manage large scale major events by oversubscribing power and turning down non-essential devices, view port availability, and run asset reports to help manage your data center capacity. To view my recent article that discusses managing capacity and changes in your data center, please visit this article.

Example of a Capacity Planning Dashboard in netTerrain DCIM

Network Cabling/Radio

What’s connected to what? What’s impacted by an outage? Do you have cabling that is not fully decommissioned? How do you manage your cabling/network infrastructure? If you need a better way to help manage your network capacity, find a DCIM vendor that specializes in cable management solutions.

Example of a Circuit Layout Record in netTerrain DCIM

Need to run a network discovery to see how assets are connected? Ask your DCIM vendor if they offer a network scan and mapping solution and how easy it is to place these discovered devices into the appropriate rack in the data center.
A DCIM solution should help you visualize and manage your connections and categorize them, visually, by type of cable. For example, do you manage fiber cabling, and need a way to visualize and document down to each individual fiber strand?

In netTerrain DCIM, you can create and visually see each buffer tube color and each strand connection.One of the items we see a lot is organizations that spend money and the effort to document the data center assets, space, power, for capacity management, but tend to forget one of the most important aspects of documentation: managing cables. If this is a requirement in your DCIM project, make sure to ask and test out how to make connections.

In sum, less data center outages is a good thing…and an especially good thing as data center outages are growing more expensive and impactful. DCIM can help you minimize downtime and prevent outages in the first place. If you’d like to test-drive netTerrain DCIM, click here to schedule a brief 15-minute discovery call.

Fred Koh
Fred Koh
As a seasoned sales executive, Fred Koh serves as Director of Sales and is responsible for Graphical Networks sales and channel partner program, marketing strategy, and operations.

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