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Enterprise data centers run the majority of all IT workloads today, with the need for resilience across hybrid infrastructure seen as a major focus going forward

May 28, 2019, SEATTLE, WA – Uptime Institute today announced the key findings of its ninth annual Global Data Center Survey, the largest and most comprehensive in the data center sector. Findings show that the sector has become exceptionally complex as it continues to adapt to change. Demanding business requirements strain the ability of traditional mechanical and electrical systems to keep pace. Meanwhile, new challenges have arisen, including those associated with orchestrating hybrid architectures, staffing and skills alignment, workload placement decision making processes, and the desire to leverage innovative technologies without increasing risk.

Annually, Uptime Institute conducts its comprehensive global survey about the data center industry. Respondents are separated into two groups to assure perspectives are not mixed. The first group includes IT managers, owners and operators of data centers and focuses on their business platform choices. The second group includes suppliers, designers and consultants and those that service this industry. This year the survey was conducted between March and April 2019 and includes responses from nearly 1,100 end users in more than 50 countries.

“This year’s survey shows that the data center sector is finding it challenging to manage complexity. Most organizations have hybrid infrastructure, with a computing platform that spans multiple cloud, co-location and enterprise environments. This in turn, increases application and data access complexity,” said Andy Lawrence, executive director of research, Uptime Institute. “It’s an approach that has the potential to be very liberating – it offers greater agility and when deployed effectively, increased resiliency. But it also carries a higher risk of business services performance issues due to highly leveraged network and orchestration requirements. In a hybrid infrastructure, any of these failures can cause service degradation or complete service outages depending on how the hybrid architecture is designed. The survey reveals that the transition to these more diversified, dynamic architectures raises many issues around resiliency and business service delivery and that we need more management oversight, transparency and accountability at the business level.”

The Foundation of Enterprise Computing

This year’s survey shows that in corporate IT, there is still a strong dependence on the privately-owned or operated enterprise data center, which currently accounts for more than half of all IT workloads. Capacity demand in the enterprise space is still growing, along with cloud and colocation data center buildouts. IT workloads are being spread across a range of platforms, with a third predicted to be contracted to external suppliers (such as cloud and SAAS providers) by 2021. And while enterprise data center capacity is actually growing in size, it is decreasing as a percentage of the total capacity needed.  

Traditionally, most IT and data center managers have maintained availability at their primary data center through rigorous attention to power, infrastructure, connectivity and on-site IT replication. Today, distributed resiliency using active-active data centers is becoming more common; 40% of those surveyed said they use availability zones for resiliency, a strategy that requires at least two active data centers replicating data to each other.

According to respondents, modern architectures have made it easier to spread work more reliably and cost effectively across multiple sites, and with proper operational processes this can reduce overall risk and improve resiliency. Business processes and applications often span multiple data centers; even temporary unavailability can cause problems. A full 60% of respondents said their most recent significant data center outage could have been prevented with better management/processes or configuration discipline.

Lack of Visibility into Public Cloud

Public cloud operators are the most committed users of distributed resiliency and availability zones that promise to achieve high levels of performance and availability. Despite this, almost three-quarters of respondents indicated that they are not placing their core mission-critical applications into a public cloud for various reasons. Findings show that a lack of visibility, transparency and accountability of public cloud services is a major issue for enterprises with mission-critical applications. Over one-fifth of all managers said they would be more likely to place workloads in a public cloud if they had more visibility into the provider’s operational resiliency. Among those using a public cloud for mission-critical applications, almost half said they do not think they have adequate visibility, which increases their risk profile. The vetting process for third-party services, such as cloud, should go beyond a contractual service level agreement, and should include greater dynamic visibility, direct support during service degradations, more accountability and a better cost recovery plan when problems occur.

Outages Still Common:

Outages this year map closely to 2018 findings, with just over a third of respondents having business impacts associated with some type of infrastructure outage or serious degradation of service in the past year. These outages increasingly span multiple data centers, and best practices dictate comprehensive and ongoing resiliency reviews of all company-owned and third-party digital infrastructure. Over 10% of all respondents said their most recent reportable outage impacted their organization in a very tangible fashion, citing more than $1 million in direct and indirect costs. (See Uptime Institute’s Outage Severity Rating for more insight into the range of impacts from various outage scenarios).

Additional Findings:

  • The sector is facing a staffing crisis, with 61% of all respondents saying they have significant difficulty recruiting or retaining staff. And diversity issues are becoming more impactful to the business as skilled resources become harder to recruit. A full 25% of managers surveyed had no women among their design, build or operations staff, and only 5% of respondents said women represented 50% or more of staff.
  • While power loss continues to be the single biggest cause of service outages, accounting for one-third of those outages reported, the aggregate of all higher-level IT stack issues (including the network) accounted for twice that percentage of service failures.
For more information on the findings of the Uptime Institute 2019 Global Data Center Survey, see the survey report  or join us for a webinar on the 2019 Data Center Industry Survey Results presented by Andy Lawrence, executive director of research, Rhonda Ascierto, vice president of research and Christopher Brown, chief technical officer on Wednesday, May 29th, at 9:00 AM Pacific time.

About Uptime Institute

Uptime Institute is the IT industry’s most trusted and adopted global standard for the proper design, build and operation of data centers – the backbone of the digital economy. For over 20 years, Uptime Institute has been providing customers with the assurance that their digital infrastructure can perform at a level that is consistent with their business needs, across a wide array of operating conditions. With its data center Tier Standard & Certifications, Management & Operations reviews, Efficient IT Stamp of Approval, and accredited educational curriculum for data center professionals, Uptime Institute helps organizations optimize critical IT assets while managing costs, resources and efficiency. Uptime Institute has become the de facto standard for data center reliability, sustainability and efficiency. Today, thousands of companies rely on Uptime Institute to enable their digital-centric business success.

Uptime Institute - The Global Data Center Authority®, a division of The 451 Group, has office locations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe, Middle East, Russia, and Asia.

 

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Rating System Provides Lexicon to Quantify Outages and their Impact to Business

May 14, 2019, SEATTLE, WA - Uptime Institute today announced its new Outage Severity Rating (OSR) to help the digital infrastructure and data center community better understand and articulate service outages in the context of how each incident affects the business. With OSR, infrastructure practitioners can finally share a common lexicon when forming their own service delivery capacity strategies and can view their own outages in terms of business impacts, rather than referencing outages based upon the number of physical infrastructure components that were involved.

For the past three years, Uptime Institute’s Intelligence group has been studying publicly reported outages to understand the causes and impacts of unplanned downtime. During the three-year time period, the number of public outages has steadily climbed, with 27 outages in 2016; 57 outages in 2017, and 78 outages in 2018. This rise in outages is proportional to the complexity of typical infrastructures, where computing capacity and its associated data is delivered by a combination of in-house data center sites, co-location facilities and the cloud all connected by high capacity networks. Consequently, IT system and network problems have now surpassed mission critical and facilities issues as the leading causes of publicly recorded outages, compared to power which was the biggest cause in previous years.

“Public awareness of outages is becoming more pronounced as the number and impact of outages increases. In most cases, we find it difficult to understand the true nature and magnitude of the outage since most practitioners still characterize the severity of an outage based on the amount of affected physical infrastructure equipment,” said Andy Lawrence, executive director of research, Uptime Institute. “The OSR was developed to allow the data center industry’s infrastructure practitioners to view outages from the top down, at the IT service delivery level, and then communicate with one another in an informed and normalized business impact fashion. The OSR eliminates the equipment-centric view of outages, and instead focuses on the ability for the hybrid digital infrastructure to support the required IT business services being delivered by the infrastructure.”

Hybrid infrastructures deliver business services at a level of designed capacity based on all components being available. When any part of the hybrid infrastructure fails, capacity is affected in a gradient fashion, related to the complexity of the failure(s). As the IT industry continues to leverage hybrid infrastructure designs, the definition and scope of “outages” also must change. Historically an “outage” was considered as a binary state of service delivery; entire data centers were described as online or offline. Consequently, Uptime Institute has been advising companies that they need to pay more attention to business service resiliency, understanding how the hybrid system is designed, what the interdependencies are, and then plan accordingly. The use of OSR will allow IT, business managers, to better understand their own outage trends and where to focus their investments to reduce business continuity vulnerabilities and other risks over time.

The Outages Severity Rating (OSR):
Negligible – This is a negligible outage, recorded and reported but with little or no obvious impact on business services, and no service disruptions. 
Minimal – This is a minimal outage where some number of IT business services are disrupted or degraded but with minimal effect on users/customers/reputation.
Significant – This is a significant outage, with observable customer/user services disruptions, mainly of limited scope, duration or effect. Minimal or no financial effect. Some reputational or compliance impact(s) possible.
Serious – This is a serious outage, with disruption of service and/or operations. Ramifications include some financial losses, compliance breaches, damage to reputation, and possible safety concerns.
Severe – This is a mission-critical outage, with major, damaging disruption of services and/or operations with ramifications including large financial losses, possible safety issues, compliance breaches, customer losses, and reputational damage.

About Uptime Institute
Uptime Institute is the IT industry’s most trusted and adopted global standard for the proper design, build and operation of data centers – the backbone of the digital economy. For over 20 years, Uptime Institute has been providing customers with the assurance that their digital infrastructure can perform at a level that is consistent with their business needs, across a wide array of operating conditions. With its data center Tier Standard & Certifications, Management & Operations reviews, Efficient IT Stamp of Approval, and accredited educational curriculum for data center professionals, Uptime Institute helps organizations optimize critical IT assets while managing costs, resources and efficiency. Uptime Institute has become the de facto standard for data center reliability, sustainability and efficiency. Today, thousands of companies rely on Uptime Institute to enable their digital-centric business success.

Uptime Institute - The Global Data Center Authority®, a division of The 451 Group, has office locations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe, U.A.E., Russia, and Asia.

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Despite progress with efficiency gains, the rate of outages remains high as operators struggle with change and complexity

Seattle, WA – August 7, 2018 - Uptime Institute today announced the findings of its eighth annual Data Center Survey, which examines key trends and developments shaping today’s IT infrastructure industry. The results reveal how operators are grappling with new challenges, including the business case and cost of hybrid IT approaches, and provides an overview of the major trends shaping IT infrastructure delivery and strategy globally, ranging from climate-change preparedness and edge computing approaches to outages, energy efficiency, rack density, and staffing trends.

Annually, Uptime Institute conducts the most comprehensive global survey about the Data Center industry. This year the survey was conducted between February and May, 2018, and includes responses from nearly 900 data center operators and IT practitioners affiliated with enterprise and service provider facilities in more than 50 countries worldwide.

“The rapid growth in the implementation of cloud and hybrid IT approaches has ushered in a period of great change creating technology, organizational and management complexity,” said Andy Lawrence, Executive Director of Research at Uptime Institute. “And these new challenges are many times unlike anything previously seen in the industry at this magnitude. It’s a perfect storm.”

As the results revealed, data center operators have, by and large, succeeded in lowering energy waste–the average PUE, the industry's most common infrastructure efficiency metric, was reported at a record average of approximately 1.58 (although year/year improvements are decreasing). In alarming contrast, the survey results also revealed that both the rate of outage occurrences and the severity of each outage has increased from those reported just a year ago.

“Today, operators are grappling with new challenges, including increased complexity and high interdependency of systems and data centers,” continued Andy Lawrence. “Looking ahead, many are expecting to deploy significant new hybrid and edge computing capacity, which will support new services, but will add an additional layer of complexity in doing so.”

  • Many survey respondents struggle to assess the business case and effectiveness of their hybrid IT architectures (defined as any mix of on-premises data center capacity and off-premises resources such as colocation, cloud, hosting and XaaS). Only about half are confident they understand the true costs and risk/performance tradeoffs of their chosen approach.
  • While nearly two-thirds of respondents (61%) said having workloads spread across on-site, colocation, and cloud deployments has made their overall IT more resilient, this was not supported by the evidence: The number of respondents that experienced an IT downtime incident or severe service degradation in the past year (31%) increased over 2017's survey (by about 25%). And in the past three years, almost half (48%) of our 2018 survey respondents had an outage in their own site or service provider.
  • More than 80% of respondents said their outage(s) were preventable – leading causes of downtimes consisted of human error, power outages, network failure, configuration errors and third-party provider outages.

The survey data also showed that crucial to the growth of the distributed digital infrastructure is the implementation of highly distributed and/or edge computing, enabling more efficient operations through automation, real time data analysis and artificial intelligence (and machine-learning) control associated with remotely-managed facilities. More than 40% of respondents stated they expect their organization will require edge computing capabilities, which was defined as “requirements that will necessitate processing data closer to the source of its generation/use”.

“Edge computing is exciting because of the improved performance and scale it can offer to next generation technologies like artificial intelligence, the internet of things and even autonomous driving applications. We expect to see substantial growth in the edge over the next few years,” added Andy Lawrence, “Edge has the ability to keep building upon each set of application improvements and the advances of previous versions, which will cause rapid improvement in capability development and implementation.”

Additionally, join us on August 22nd at 8:00 AM Pacific time for a webinar discussion of survey results at https://uptimeinstitute.com/webinars/webinar-2018-data-center-survey-results.

About Uptime Institute
Uptime Institute is the IT industry’s most trusted and adopted global standard for the proper design, build and operation of data centers – the backbone of the digital economy. For over 20 years, Uptime Institute has been providing customers with the assurance that their digital infrastructure can perform at a level that is consistent with their business needs, across a wide array of operating conditions. With its data center Tier Standard & Certifications, Management & Operations reviews, Efficient IT Stamp of Approval, and accredited educational curriculum for data center professionals, Uptime Institute helps organizations optimize critical IT assets while managing costs, resources and efficiency. Uptime Institute has become the de facto standard for data center reliability, sustainability and efficiency. Today, thousands of companies rely on Uptime Institute to enable their digital-centric business success.

Uptime Institute has office locations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe, U.A.E., Russia, and Asia.

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Uptime Institute’s Management and Operations Stamp of Approval assessment of operational efficiency now available to all CBRE clients

Seattle, April 11, 2019 - Uptime Institute, the global data centre authority and CBRE Data Centre Solutions, the world’s leading integrated data centre operations service provider, announced a strategic partnership to enable CBRE to offer to its customers the industry’s only purely operations focused data centre risk assessment solution as part of CBRE’s “Critical Environment Risk Management” (CERMTM) portfolio.

“Our data centre customers look to CBRE to proactively offer the means to reduce their risks associated with delivering business services,” said Mike Doolan, Chief Reliability Officer, CBRE Data Centre Solutions. “In response, we sought out the industry’s most respected provider of data centre risk assessment services to become an integral part of our risk management solution. By adding Uptime Institute’s Management & Operations Stamp of Approval assessment service to our own operational offerings, we can make available unparalleled risk mitigation services to our customers.”

Key indicators considered during the Uptime Institute assessment include the review of operational processes in place, expected behaviors and the risk mitigation methods that need to be in place to ensure efficient and effective data centre operations. CBRE customers who subscribe to their CERM services will be given the option of having their data centre operations independently assessed by Uptime Institute experts at both the site and portfolio level to confirm that the data centres meet Uptime Institute’s demanding and market-tested operational and sustainable standards.

“Reducing the risks associated with providing essential business services requires both technical and operational prowess,” said Martin McCarthy, CEO and Chairman, Uptime Institute. “Uptime Institute’s globally adopted M&O Stamp of Approval provides the industry’s only independent validation of operational practices, supporting cost effectiveness, risk management, sustainability and operational efficiency goals. Our new partnership with CBRE extends their CERM program further to strategically include a deeper focus on operational efficiency and risk assessment, utilizing Uptime Institute’s proven M&O Stamp of Approval protocol to identify and mitigate risk to ensure CBRE clients’ business runs smoothly.”

CBRE is offering an immediate opportunity to both new and existing customers to formally assess their operational plans by engaging with Uptime Institute to complete their independent assessment. CBRE clients who are able to demonstrate superior management and operations processes will be awarded Uptime Institute’s “Management & Operations Stamp of Approval.” As part of this program, CBRE customers will enjoy a preferential rate for the M&O Stamp of Approval assessment. In addition, CBRE customers will have the ability to amortize the costs of the assessment over the duration of the award period, therefore giving clients the option to budget for the risk assessment as an ongoing operational expense.

About Uptime Institute
Uptime Institute is the IT industry’s most trusted and adopted global standard for the proper design, build and operation of data centers – the backbone of the digital economy. For over 20 years, Uptime Institute has been providing customers with the assurance that their digital infrastructure can perform at a level that is consistent with their business needs, across a wide array of operating conditions. With its data center Tier Standard & Certifications, Management & Operations reviews, Efficient IT Stamp of Approval, and accredited educational curriculum for data center professionals, Uptime Institute helps organizations optimize critical IT assets while managing costs, resources and efficiency. Uptime Institute has become the de facto standard for data center reliability, sustainability and efficiency. Today, thousands of companies rely on Uptime Institute to enable their digital-centric business success.

Uptime Institute has office locations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe, U.A.E., Russia, and Asia.

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBRE), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (based on 2017 revenue). The company has more than 80,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate investors and occupiers through approximately 450 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers a broad range of integrated services, including facilities, transaction and project management; property management; investment management; appraisal and valuation; property leasing; strategic consulting; property sales; mortgage services and development services. More information can be found here

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Uptime Institute Network members perform 2X better than data center industry with half as much downtime due to real-time knowledge sharing tools and continuous focus on operational excellence

May 9, 2018 - Uptime Institute today announced the expansion of the company’s peer-based Network community, dedicated to driving the performance and reliability of digital infrastructure and data center platforms. The new and improved enhancements start with Inside Track, the online knowledge-transfer service for member companies to communicate with world-class data center operations and engineering experts throughout the globe to share opinions, insights and experiences, solve problems, offer advice and proactively prevent failures.

“Uptime Institute Network membership gives us the ability to sit down with the actual designers and decision makers of some of the industry’s most recognized data centers,” said David Hayes, head of corporate real estate critical systems, JP Morgan Chase. “We have found membership extremely helpful in ensuring we stay on top of trends and occurrences in the data center industry.”

Uptime Institute Network new and/or improved features include:

  • Face-to-face Network conferences held twice per year regionally with member presentations, Uptime Institute expert content and select guest speakers.
  • Inside Track, picks up where Network community face to face meetings end, allowing discussions to continue, polls to be taken, and topical research reports to be shared.
  • Private on-site data center tours at some of the most innovative, respected sites worldwide, including direct discussion with key designers and operators about their realized results.
  • Access to the industry’s largest repository of incident reports, identifying root causes and helping establish performance expectations when deploying new equipment or new processes.
  • Up to four hours per year of business or engineering consulting to address specific real-world challenges or infrastructure optimizations under consideration.
  • Real-time access to polls and survey information, along with topical research reports on subjects including Edge computing, hybrid infrastructure and energy conservation.
  • Personalized service utilizing an Uptime Institute Network liaison to assure members can easily connect and find information.

“Our member companies experience less unplanned downtime, as participants gain a level of experience, insight and core knowledge that becomes a part of everything they do,” said Lee Kirby, president of Uptime Institute. “By actively facilitating the communication and experiential knowledge transfer amongst our members, these companies, their staff and the industry at large delivers IT business services more successfully.”

For more information about joining the Uptime Institute Network community, see www.uptimeinstitute.com/network

About Uptime Institute
Uptime Institute is the IT industry’s most trusted and adopted global standard for the proper design, build and operation of data centers – the backbone of the digital economy. For over 20 years, Uptime Institute has been providing customers with the assurance that their digital infrastructure can perform at a level that is consistent with their business needs, across a wide array of operating conditions. With its data center Tier Standard & Certifications, Management & Operations reviews, Efficient IT Stamp of Approval, and accredited educational curriculum for data center professionals, Uptime Institute helps organizations optimize critical IT assets while managing costs, resources and efficiency. Uptime Institute has become the de facto standard for data center reliability, sustainability and efficiency. Today, thousands of companies rely on Uptime Institute to enable their digital-centric business success.

Uptime Institute has office locations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe, U.A.E., Russia, and Asia.

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