News

Uptime Institute 10th Annual Global Data Center Survey Shows Increasing Complexities, Outages

Findings show 44% had recent major outage that tangibly impacted their organization

SEATTLE, WA – July 29, 2020  – Uptime Institute today announced the key findings of its tenth annual Global Data Center Survey, the largest and most comprehensive in the data center industry. The results show a growing sector adapting to rapid change on multiple levels. In almost every area under discussion — outages, resiliency, staffing, workload placement or innovation — there is considerable variety in the strategies being employed.

Uptime Institute has reported on data center outages for several years, surveying operators on their experiences with outages, and closely tracking publicly recorded incidents. Even with the inherent difficulty collecting and assessing this information, clear trends from our research emerge: In surveys from 2018 and 2019, and now supported by our 2020 survey, outages occur with disturbing frequency, bigger outages are becoming more damaging and expensive, and what has been gained in improved processes and engineering has been partially offset by the challenges of maintaining ever more complex systems. Avoiding unplanned downtime remains a top technical and business challenge for all owners and operators.

“Our 2020 survey results reflect a strong, growing sector facing increased change and complexity,” said Andy Lawrence, Executive Director of Research, Uptime Institute. “The growing complexity, along with the greater consequences of failure, creates the need for more vigilance and more sophisticated approaches to resiliency, performance and operations.”

Uptime Institute annually conducts its comprehensive global survey across the data center industry. This year’s survey was conducted March-April 2020 and includes responses from nearly 850 managers at organizations that own and operate data centers in more than 50 countries. This group is the focus of Uptime Institute’s new report. A second survey was conducted among a group of over 500 suppliers, designers, and advisors. Those survey results will be released in September 2020.

Bigger, More Frequent Outages, More Painful to Business, and Operators Admit Most Outages Were Preventable

Outages continue to occur with disturbing frequency, and the outages are becoming bigger, more damaging, and more expensive — a fact supported by Uptime Institute survey findings for three years running. In each of these surveys, about one-third of all respondents said they had had been affected by a significant, serious, or severe outage — which can cause substantial financial and reputation damage, impacting organizations in a tangible way in the past year. And over the previous 3-year period, more than three-quarters said they had experienced such an outage.

For 2020, Uptime Institute also delved deeper on the impact of an outage, including smaller service outages that are often not officially recorded. (See Uptime Institute’s Outage Severity Rating for more insight into impacts from various outage categories.) Outages of this type are troubling more for their frequency than for their singular impact — and because they may signal bigger problems.

Three-quarters of organizations admit that, upon reflection, most recent significant outages were preventable. With additional attention and investment, the number of outages will most likely decrease. Power problems continue to be the largest single cause of major outages.

Transparent Clouds are Good for Business

Not surprisingly, organizations surveyed are increasingly embracing public cloud; as a venue for IT workloads, public cloud is expected to increase from 8% of all workloads today to 12% within a two-year period. This growth accounts for the biggest increase of usage for an IT venue in the survey. However, public cloud usage is minimal as a percentage of total enterprise IT workloads, and this limited adoption appears to be a strong growth opportunity for public cloud providers.

But there are obstacles. According to respondents, the lack of visibility, lack of transparency and accountability of public cloud services is clearly a major issue for these enterprises considering public cloud for business-critical applications. A fifth of managers said they would be more likely to run their critical workloads in a public cloud if there were a higher level of visibility into the operational resiliency of the service.

Average Site Energy Efficiency has Flatlined; Rack Densities are rising, but Facilities are Not Stretched.

The findings of last year’s survey showed that data centers had become marginally less efficient in the preceding year (average PUE of 1.67 in 2019, compared with 1.58 in 2018). In 2020, the average PUE (power usage effectiveness) for a data center was 1.59, a slight improvement. (Most operators strive for a PUE ratio as close to 1.0 as possible.) Because more work is now done in big, efficient facilities, the overall energy efficiency of IT has improved.

The mean density for rack density in 2020 was 8.4 kilowatts per rack. Additionally, densities are rising, but not enough to drive wholesale site-level changes in power distribution or cooling.

Additional Findings:

  • The enterprise data center is neither dead nor dying, while the Edge is still on the edge. The migration of critical loads to a public cloud is happening slowly, with more than half of all IT workloads expected to remain in traditional on-premises data centers through at least 2022. Edge computing requirements are expected to increase slightly in 2020, but fewer than a fifth of all respondents expect a significant increase.
  • Artificial intelligence will not take over – yet. Artificial intelligence and automation will not reduce data center operations staffing requirements in the next five years. After that, however, most think it will.
  • The data center staffing crisis is getting worse. The number of managers stating they are having difficulty finding qualified candidates for open infrastructure positions is rising steadily. Women continue to be under-represented. More effort is needed to address the workforce gender imbalance and take advantage of the larger and more diverse skilled talent pool.

For more information on the Uptime Institute 2020 Global Data Center Survey findings, download the survey report and join us for a webinar on the 2020 Global Data Center Survey Results presented by Andy Lawrence, Executive Director of Research, Rhonda Ascierto, Vice President of Research, and Christopher Brown, Chief Technical Officer on Wednesday, July 29th, at 9:00 AM PDT.

About Uptime Institute

Uptime Institute and the company’s Tier Standard has become 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 25 years, Uptime Institute has been providing customers with the assurance that their digital infrastructure can perform at a level 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. Today, thousands of companies rely on Uptime Institute to enable their digital-centric business success. Uptime Institute - The Global Data Center Authority®, has office locations throughout the world, including those in North and South America, Europe, Middle East, Russia, and Asia.

 

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(Note: The impact of COVID-19 was not the focus of this survey and is not included in this report. Uptime Institute conducted extensive surveys assessing the pandemic’s effects on the sector; additional resources may be found in the Uptime Institute COVID-19 Resource page.)

Media Contacts:
Brenda South, Uptime Institute
206.706.4647, bsouth@uptimeinstitute.com


Uptime Institute Introduces Remotely-Enabled Services Across Its Entire Digital Infrastructure Portfolio

Introduces Remotely-Enabled Versions of its Industry-Leading Digital Infrastructure Assessments, Certifications and Educational Offerings

SEATTLE, WA – May 4, 2020  – Uptime Institute today announced the availability of new remotely-enabled versions of its globally recognized Tier Standard Certifications, Accredited Educational curriculum, Data Center Risk Assessment, Management & Operations Stamp of Approval, and Facilities Management and Operations services. These new services can be utilized by clients globally today, even with non-traditional business operating plans in effect due to the COVID-19 epidemic, in order to reduce the service delivery risks associated with digital infrastructure design, operations, risk assessment and education.

During the current global health and economics crises, Uptime Institute has seen a significant increase in the demand for its infrastructure risk reduction and educational services. Even after the current pandemic crisis has subsided, each organization will need to revisit their own ‘new normal’ to better enable them to create and operate digital infrastructure with the same performance characteristics they have benefited from in the past.

Accordingly, Uptime Institute has developed remotely-enabled versions of most of its core service offerings while still maintaining the overall value and certification available by utilizing each of these remotely-enabled services:

  • Tier Standard Certification – Uptime Institute has revised many of the protocols in place to deliver Tier Standard Certification of Design, Construction and Operations of data center facilities. These revisions eliminate a significant portion of the on-site work previously required, without changing any of the fundamental certification value.
  • Accredited Educational Curriculum – All of the Uptime Institute courses introduced over the past 10 years have been updated to allow remote enrollment and attendance along with the associated testing and accreditation.
  • Data Center Risk Assessment – Includes off-site review of design documents and findings with a preliminary report. For M&O, the remote assessment includes interviews with select operations staff for view of proactive readiness.
  • Management & Operations Stamp of Approval – This is a remotely conducted operational assessment to assist clients in obtaining a complete picture of an organization’s preparedness and proactiveness in today’s environment. Independent review of current plans and processes is generally where the biggest issues are discovered, and ties directly to overall execution for the data center.
  • Facilities Management and Operations (FMO) – Virtual workshops provide a strategic approach to balance data center forward-looking objectives like availability, cost and performance. Workshops are designed to offer hands-on guidance for successful long-term operations of the data center and includes final report.

“For the past 25 years, Uptime Institute has built our entire business on helping owners and operators reduce service delivery risks associated with their digital infrastructures,” said Martin McCarthy, CEO, Uptime Institute. “With recent world developments, and in response to customer demand, we have introduced these new remotely-enabled service and course offerings to empower our customers to proactively respond to these infrastructure challenges. Our goal is to empower the data center owner and operator to not only effectively operate throughout the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic but to use the knowledge gained from this experience for more successful and strategic planning into the future. We believe more remote execution is the new normal and took this opportunity to redesign our product service offerings for smarter and faster delivery to help our clients reduce risk.”

About Uptime Institute

Uptime Institute is the IT industry’s most trusted and adopted global standard for the proper design, construction and operation of data centers – the backbone of the digital economy. For over 25 years, Uptime Institute has provided clients with knowledge, insight, and risk mitigation to assure their digital infrastructure can perform at a level consistent with business needs across a wide array of operating conditions. 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.

 

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Media Contacts:
Brenda South, Uptime Institute
206.706.4647, bsouth@uptimeinstitute.com


Uptime Institute Helps Industry Plan for the “New Normal” When Building and Operating Data Centers

Uptime Institute CTO Christopher Brown Named to Climate 50 List by Data Economy

November 27, 2019, SEATTLE, WA – Uptime Institute today announced the inclusion of Christopher Brown, Uptime Institute’s CTO, to Data Economy’s Climate 50 Global List of people leading the data center and cloud sectors towards renewable energy, sustainability and a reduced carbon footprint through innovation, business acumen and industry reach. These individuals were selected based on range of credentials, experience, expertise along with overall footprint and achievements.

“For more than two decades, Uptime Institute has been helping those building digital infrastructures understand what it takes to build and operate structures that perform as required by the business over a wide range of normal operating conditions,” said Christopher Brown, Chief Technical Officer, Uptime Institute. “Long before the term ‘climate change’ became part of everyone’s daily vernacular, we’ve been advising our clients on what ‘normal’ means in their own environment. Over the course of working with thousands of clients around the world we’ve seen the definition of normal extended in all directions and we help our clients plan for their own ‘new normal’.”

Uptime Institute has a long-held commitment to working with its clients to meet their business challenges while at the same time embracing and encouraging the use of renewable and alternative technologies, while ensuring the overall business goal of no impact to data center availability. Uptime Institute’s results-oriented approaches enable owners and operators to deliver their required infrastructure performance in a way that is better for their own needs as well as the environment.

Uptime Institute offers a full range of design and operational assessment and performance assurance services. These services were designed to support business performance goals based upon expected ‘normal’ operating conditions. These services are results-oriented rather than prescriptive, encouraging innovative and sustainable designs along with highly efficient operational planning. Uptime Institute’s clients take advantage of these approaches including the use of renewable energy sources, efficiencies in energy consumption, reduction of carbon emissions, increasing utilization across servers, waste reduction and more.

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 25 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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The 451 Group to Focus on Expansion of Uptime Institute, the Global Digital Infrastructure Authority

Sale of 451 Research division to S&P Global Now Complete, Management to Focus on Worldwide Growth & Industry Influence of Uptime Institute

December 12, 2019, NEW YORK, NY – With the sale of its 451 Research division to S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI) completed, The 451 Group’s strategic focus will move to accelerate the global expansion of its Uptime Institute business. There are no anticipated impacts to Uptime Institute clients resulting from the sale of the 451 Research division as the two 451 Group companies have always been operated separately, as two fully independent entities. Uptime Institute clients will continue to enjoy all existing engagement processes, award certifications, business relationships and Uptime personnel.

Internationally recognized as the Global Digital Infrastructure Authority, Uptime Institute has staff in 22 countries, and is known throughout the world for its unique, proprietary Tier Classification system. For over a quarter of a century, Uptime Institute’s distinctive offerings of certifications, accreditations, peer networks and thought leadership, and, most importantly, its Tier Standards for digital infrastructure, have helped owners and operators discipline tens of billions of dollars of data center and digital infrastructure investments and ongoing operations.

“There is a rising sense of urgency among our clients around the world, and in the market at large, to create and operate available, resilient digital infrastructure that both respects risk and cost profiles at the business level,” said Martin McCarthy, CEO and Chairman, Uptime Institute. “The mission critical nature of all digital infrastructure has become more apparent in the ‘Age of Cloud.’ Rapidly expanding colocation services amidst recent dramatic consolidation of colocation service providers underscores the importance of selecting the appropriate service provider partner(s) to deliver reliable, cost efficient computing. Moreover, with almost two thirds of computing still being serviced by non-cloud resources, the importance of data centers owned and operated by growth-oriented enterprises and co-location providers alike remains fundamental. With our universally acclaimed Tier Standard Classification System, and our unique Tier Standards of Topology and Operational Sustainability, along with our 25 years of hands-on practice in thousands of sites in almost one hundred countries around the world, we are perfectly positioned to serve our clients as they construct, deploy and evolve hybrid digital infrastructure and architecture.”

Going forward, Uptime Institute plans include leveraging its vast understanding of client experiences and business results along with decades of certifying data centers around the globe to guide clients looking to create, operate and grow digital infrastructure. In addition to expanding its certification and assessment business globally, this strategy includes the expansion of its Uptime Institute Intelligence team, Uptime Institute Education business, Uptime Institute “Peer-to-Peer” Network communities and its recently launched Digital Resiliency Services.

About The 451 Group:

The 451 Group is a leading information technology research and IT advisory and certification company, previously consisting of two divisions, 451 Research and Uptime Institute, the Global Digital Infrastructure and Data Center Authority. Post the sale of 451 Research, the Group's sole focus will be the continued global expansion of Uptime Institute. Uptime Institute has staff in 22 countries and is known globally for its proprietary Tier Classification system and its unique Tier Standards for digital infrastructure that have been downloaded tens of thousands of times annually from almost every country on the planet. Valentine's day is a scary day for many men. Men know they are suppose to be caring, romantic and have the best gift possible on Valentine's day. The main problem with this is that many men don't even know how they are suppose to do these things. They also have a problem picking out the best Valentine's day gifts . People will argue that Valentine's Day is the most romantic day of the year. So what more exciting way to celebrate such an absolutely marvelous time than by giving a person you cherish a present that is incredibly romantic? Valentine's Day is coming! It has helped owners and operators discipline tens of billions of dollars of data center and digital infrastructure investments for more than a quarter century. Uptime Institute has awarded over 1,500 data center design, construction and operations certifications, accredited over 5,000 highly specialized technical experts and provided advisory services in over 95 countries.

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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Uptime Institute 9th Annual Global Survey Shows Privately-Owned Enterprise Data Centers Remain Bedrock of Corporate IT

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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