Are utility companies needed for pull-the-plug testing?

Are utility companies needed for pull-the-plug testing?

The testing of backup power systems is crucial for ensuring that data center operations remain available through power interruptions. By cutting all power to the facility and replicating a real-world electrical grid failure, pull-the-plug testing provides the most comprehensive assessment of these systems. However, there are some differing opinions on the best way to perform […]

AI will have a limited role in data centers — for now

AI will have a limited role in data centers — for now

The topic of artificial intelligence (AI) has captured the public’s imaginations, and now barely a week goes by without reports of another breakthrough. Among the many, sometimes dramatic predictions made by experts and non-experts alike is the potential elimination of some, or even many, jobs. These expectations are partly — but only partly — mirrored […]

The strong case for power management

The strong case for power management

ANALYST OPINION In a recent report on server energy efficiency, Uptime Intelligence’s Dr. Tomas Rahkonen analyzed data from 429 servers and identified five key insights (see Server energy efficiency: five key insights). All were valuable observations for better managing (and reducing) IT power consumption, but one area of his analysis stood out: the efficiency benefits […]

The Energy Efficiency Directive: requirements come into focus

The Energy Efficiency Directive: requirements come into focus

The European Commission (EC) continues to grapple with the challenges of implementing the Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) reporting and metrics mandates. The publication of the Task B report Labelling and minimum performance standards schemes for data centres and the Task C report EU repository for the reporting obligation of data centres on June 7, 2023 […]

Lifting and shifting apps to the cloud: a source of risk creep?

Lifting and shifting apps to the cloud: a source of risk creep?

Public cloud infrastructures have come a long way over the past 16 years to slowly earn the trust of enterprises in running their most important applications and storing sensitive data. In the Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey 2022, more than a third of enterprises that operate their own IT infrastructure said they also placed […]

Use tools to control cloud costs before it’s too late

Use tools to control cloud costs before it’s too late

The public cloud’s on-demand pricing model is vital in enabling application scalability — the key benefit of cloud computing. Resources need to be readily available for a cloud application to scale when required without the customer having to give advance notification. Cloud providers can offer such flexibility by allowing customers to pay their bills in […]

24x7 carbon-free energy (part two): getting to 100%

24×7 carbon-free energy (part two): getting to 100%

Digital infrastructure operators have started to refocus their sustainability objectives on 100% 24×7 carbon-free energy (CFE) consumption: using carbon-free energy for every hour of operation. To establish a 24×7 CFE strategy, operators must track and control CFE assets and the delivery of energy to their data centers and use procurement contracts designed to manage the […]

Where the cloud meets the edge

Where the cloud meets the edge

Low latency is the main reason cloud providers offer edge services. Only a few years ago, the same providers argued that the public cloud (hosted in hyperscale data centers) was suitable for most workloads. But as organizations have remained steadfast in their need for low latency and better data control, providers have softened their resistance […]

Data center operators will face more grid disturbances

Data center operators will face more grid disturbances

The energy crisis of 2022, resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, caused serious problems for data center operators in Europe. Energy prices leapt up and are likely to stay high. This has resulted in ongoing concerns that utilities in some European countries, which have a mismatch of supply and demand, will have to shed loads. […]

24x7 carbon-free energy (part one): expectations and realities

24×7 carbon-free energy (part one): expectations and realities

Data center operators that set net-zero goals will ultimately have to transition to 100% 24×7 carbon-free energy. But current technological limitations mean it is not economically feasible in most grid regions. In the past decade, the digital infrastructure industry has embraced a definition of renewable energy use that combines the use of renewable energy credits […]

Cloud resiliency: plan to lose control of your planes

Cloud resiliency: plan to lose control of your planes

Cloud providers divide the technologies that underpin their services into two ”planes”, each with a different architecture and availability goal. The control plane manages resources in the cloud; the data plane runs the cloud buyer’s application. In this Update, Uptime Institute Intelligence presents research that shows control planes have poorer availability than data planes. This […]

Server efficiency increases again — but so do the caveats

Server efficiency increases again — but so do the caveats

Early in 2022, Uptime Intelligence observed that the return of Moore’s law in the data center (or, more accurately, the performance and energy efficiency gains associated with it) would come with major caveats (see Moore’s law resumes — but not for all). Next-generation server technologies’ potential to improve energy efficiency, Uptime Intelligence surmised at the […]

Data shows the cloud goes where the money is

Data shows the cloud goes where the money is

Hyperscale cloud providers have opened numerous operating regions in all corners of the world over the past decade. The three most prominent — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure — now have 105 distinct regions (excluding government and edge locations) for customers to choose from to locate their applications and data. Over […]

Cooling to play a more active role in IT performance and efficiency

Cooling to play a more active role in IT performance and efficiency

Data center operators and IT tenants have traditionally adopted a binary view of cooling performance: it either meets service level commitments, or it does not. The relationship is also coldly transactional: as long as sufficient volumes of air of the right temperature and quality (in accordance with service-level agreements that typically follow ASHRAE’s guidance) reach […]

The effects of a failing power grid in South Africa

The effects of a failing power grid in South Africa

European countries narrowly avoided an energy crisis in the past winter months, as a shortfall in fossil fuel supplies from Russia threatened to destabilize power grids across the region. This elevated level of risk to the normally robust European grid has not been seen for decades. A combination of unseasonably mild weather, energy saving initiatives […]

US operators scour Inflation Reduction Act for incentives

US operators scour Inflation Reduction Act for incentives

In the struggle to reduce carbon emissions and increase renewable energy, the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), passed in August 2022, is a landmark development. The misleadingly named Act, which is lauded by environmental experts and castigated by foreign leaders, is intended to rapidly accelerate the decarbonization of the world’s largest economy by introducing nearly […]

Energy-efficiency focus to shift to IT — at last

Energy-efficiency focus to shift to IT — at last

Data centers have become victims of their own success. Ever-larger data centers have mushroomed across the globe in line with an apparently insatiable demand for computing and storage capacity. The associated energy use is not only expensive (and generating massive carbon emissions) but is also putting pressure on the grid. Most data center developments tend […]

Asset utilization drives cloud repatriation economics

Asset utilization drives cloud repatriation economics

The past decade has seen numerous reports of so-called cloud “repatriations” — the migration of applications back to on-premises venues following negative experiences with, or unsuccessful migrations to, the public cloud. A recent Uptime Update (High costs drive cloud repatriation, but impact is overstated) examined why these migrations might occur. The Update revealed that unexpected […]

Forecasting the solar storm threat

Forecasting the solar storm threat

A proposed permanent network of electromagnetic monitoring stations across the continental US, operating in tandem with a machine learning (ML) algorithm, could facilitate accurate predictions of geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs). If realized, this predictive system could help grid operators avert disruption and reduce the likelihood of damage to their — and their customers’ — infrastructure, including […]

Cloud migrations to face closer scrutiny

Cloud migrations to face closer scrutiny

Big public-cloud operators have often had to compete against each other — sometimes ferociously. Only rarely have they had to compete against alternative platforms for corporate IT, however. More often than not, chief information officers (CIOs) responsible for mission-critical IT have seen a move to the public cloud as low-risk, flexible, forward-looking and, ultimately, inexpensive. […]

Accounting for digital infrastructure GHG emissions

Accounting for digital infrastructure GHG emissions

A host of regulations worldwide have introduced (or will introduce) legal mandates forcing data center operators to report specific operational data and metrics. Key examples include the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD); the European Commission’s proposed Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) recast; the draft US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) climate disclosure proposal and […]

Data center costs set to rise and rise

Data center costs set to rise and rise

Up until two years ago, the cost of building and operating data centers had been falling reasonably steeply. Improving technology, greater production volumes as the industry expanded and consolidated, large-scale builds, prefabricated and modular construction techniques, stable energy prices and the low costs of capital have all played a part. While labor costs have risen […]

High costs drive cloud repatriation, but impact is overstated

High costs drive cloud repatriation, but impact is overstated

Unexpected costs are driving some data-heavy and legacy applications back from public-cloud to on-premises locations. However, very few organizations are moving away from the public cloud strategically — let alone altogether. The past decade has seen numerous reports of so-called cloud “repatriations” — the migration of applications back to on-premises venues following negative experiences with, […]

Too hot to handle? Operators to struggle with new chips

Too hot to handle? Operators to struggle with new chips

Standard IT hardware was a boon for data centers: for almost two decades, mainstream servers have had relatively constant power and cooling requirements. This technical stability moored the planning and design of facilities (for both new builds and retrofits) and has helped attract investment in data center capacity and technical innovation. Furthermore, many organizations are […]

Geopolitics deepens supply chain worries

Geopolitics deepens supply chain worries

The COVID-19 pandemic — and the subsequent disruption to supply chains — demonstrated the data center industry’s reliance on interdependent global markets and the components they produce. Although the data center sector was just one of many industries affected, the extensive variety of the often complex electrical and mechanical equipment involved exacerbated supply chain problems. […]

Data center staffing — an ongoing struggle

Data center staffing — an ongoing struggle

Attracting and retaining qualified data center staff has been a major industry challenge for years — and continues to cause substantial problems for operators worldwide. Uptime Institute’s 2022 Management and Operations Survey shows staffing and organization (54%) is the leading requirement cited by operators (see Figure 1). In an environment where rapid growth in data […]

Unravelling net zero

Unravelling net zero

Many digital infrastructure operators have set themselves carbon-neutral or net-zero emissions goals: some large hyperscale operators claim net-zero emissions for their current operating year. Signatories to the Climate Neutral Data Center Pact, a European organization for owners and operators, aim to be using 100% clean energy by 2030. All these proclamations appear laudable and seem […]

Is Google a credible enterprise cloud?

Is Google a credible enterprise cloud?

Google was an underdog when it launched its infrastructure cloud in 2013. Amazon had already made a name for itself as a disruptive technology provider, having launched Amazon Web Services (AWS) seven years prior. Microsoft, a household name in commercial software, launched Azure in 2010. What chance did Google, a company known primarily for its […]

Higher data center costs unlikely to cause exodus to public cloud

Higher data center costs unlikely to cause exodus to public cloud

A debate has been raging since cloud computing entered the mainstream: which is the cheaper venue for enterprise customers — cloud or on-premises data centers? This debate has proved futile for two reasons. First, the characteristics of any specific application will dictate which venue is more expensive — there is no simple, unequivocal answer. Second […]

First signs of federal data center reporting mandates appear in US

First signs of federal data center reporting mandates appear in US

The past year (2022) has seen regulators in many countries develop or mandate requirements to report data centers’ operating information and environmental performance metrics. The first of these, the European Commission (EC) Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) recast is currently under review by the European Parliament and is expected to become law in 2023. This directive […]

Rapid interconnectivity growth will add complexity and risk

Rapid interconnectivity growth will add complexity and risk

Recent geopolitical concerns, predictions of a looming recession, and continued supply chain difficulties are unlikely to dampen growth in digital bandwidth on private networks according to Equinix’s 2022 Global Interconnection Index (GXI). Global interconnection bandwidth (the volume of data exchanged between companies directly, bypassing the public internet) is a barometer for digital infrastructure and sheds […]

Reports of cloud decline have been greatly exaggerated

Reports of cloud decline have been greatly exaggerated

Cloud providers have experienced unprecedented growth over the past few years. CIOs the world over, often prompted by CFOs and CEOs, have been favoring the cloud over on-premises IT for new and major projects — with the result that the largest cloud provider, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has seen revenue increase by 30% to 40% […]

Major data center fire highlights criticality of IT services

Major data center fire highlights criticality of IT services

Uptime Institute’s outages database suggests data center fires are infrequent, and rarely have a significant impact on operations. Uptime has identified 14 publicly reported, high-profile data center outages caused by fire or fire suppression systems since 2020. The frequency of fires is not increasing relative to the IT load or number of data centers but, […]

Tweak to AWS Outposts reflects demand for greater cloud autonomy

Tweak to AWS Outposts reflects demand for greater cloud autonomy

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has made a minor change to its private-cloud appliance, AWS Outposts, that could significantly impact resiliency. The cloud provider has enabled local access to cloud administration, removing the appliance’s reliance on the public cloud. In the event of a network failure between the public cloud and the user’s data center, the […]

Why are governments investigating cloud competitiveness?

Why are governments investigating cloud competitiveness?

In any market, fewer sellers or providers typically results in less choice for buyers. Where the number of sellers is very low this could, theoretically, lead to exploitation, through higher prices or lower-quality goods and services — with buyers having no choice but to accept such terms. Three hyperscale cloud providers — Amazon Web Services, […]

Users unprepared for inevitable cloud outages

Users unprepared for inevitable cloud outages

Organizations are becoming more confident in using the cloud for mission-critical workloads — partly due to a perception of improved visibility into operational resiliency. But many users aren’t taking basic steps to ensure their mission-critical applications can endure relatively frequent availability zone outages. Data from the 2022 Uptime Institute annual survey reflects this growing confidence in […]

Rising energy prices

Will high energy prices push operators to direct liquid cooling?

The data center industry and other large power-consuming industries continue to feel pressure from skyrocketing electricity prices. In Germany and France, wholesale energy prices this August increased six-fold compared to prices from 2021. The US has fared better, but wholesale electricity prices have doubled this summer compared with last year’s prices. While leased data center […]

AWS price cuts: is serverless gaining momentum?

AWS price cuts: is serverless gaining momentum?

A serverless platform is an abstracted cloud computing service that executes a user’s code without the user needing to provision the underlying server or operating environment. The physical server, resources and operating environment used to execute the user’s code are managed by the cloud provider and are not accessible to the user (hence “serverless”). In […]

EU’s EED recast set to create reporting challenges

EU’s EED recast set to create reporting challenges

The European Commission’s (EC’s) proposed recast of its Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) sets out new and strict reporting requirements for data centers operating in the EU. If passed, data centers with 100 kilowatts or more total installed IT power demand (from server, storage and network equipment) will have to report their energy performance every year, […]

This Halloween, beware the vampire server

This Halloween, beware the vampire server

Halloween brings joy to many in the form of tricks and treats. But to IT managers, Halloween is a stark reminder of the evil spirits that hide out of sight in data center cabinets and public cloud applications. Vampires, zombies and ghosts haunt the infrastructure, sucking valuable energy, space and resources. IT managers need to […]

Data centers weather solar storms

Data centers weather solar storms

The US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued multiple geomagnetic storm watches throughout August and September 2022. Geomagnetic storms occur when solar storms interact with the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field, risking disruption to satellites, radio communications and the power grid. The strongest predicted storm earned the agency’s rating of G3 (“strong”) on a five-level […]

Sacrifice speed to cut cloud carbon and costs

Sacrifice speed to cut cloud carbon and costs

New findings from research by Uptime Institute Intelligence reveals that organizations can cut both their cloud carbon emissions and costs by moving workloads to different regions. However, the trade off with this migration is an increase in latency. Cloud users choose regions based primarily on two factors: Locating the application close to end users improves […]

New server leasing models promise cloud-like flexibility

New server leasing models promise cloud-like flexibility

IT hardware vendors, such as Dell and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), are pivoting their revenue models away from product sales toward service-based subscriptions. The objective is to make hardware appear more flexible and cloud-like so buyers can retain servers in their choice of data center while receiving the critical benefit of the cloud: scalability. Much […]

Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is not a panacea yet

Quantum computing promises a revolution in scientific discovery. Quantum computing’s main advantage over digital computing is in quickly solving highly complex problems that require significant time or resources to process. Currently, solutions to many complex problems can be estimated using supercomputers or pools of servers over days or weeks. Other problems are so complex that […]

Alternative clouds are vulnerable to demanding buyers

Alternative clouds are vulnerable to demanding buyers

Although big-name hyperscalers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft dominate the cloud arena, other companies also believe they have a role to play. Vultr, OVHcloud, Linode, DigitalOcean, Bluehost and Scaleway, for example, don’t offer huge portfolios of cutting-edge products but their products focus on simplicity and low cost for smaller businesses with relatively straightforward requirements. […]

Data center operators cautiously support nuclear

Data center operators cautiously support nuclear

The value, role and safety of nuclear power has strongly divided opinion, both in favor of and against, since the 1950s. This debate has now, in 2022, reached a critical point again as energy security and prices cause increasing concern globally (particularly in geographies such as Europe) and as the climate crisis requires energy producers […]

Is navigating cloud-native complexity worth the hassle?

Is navigating cloud-native complexity worth the hassle?

Last month 7,000 developers traveled to Valencia to attend the combined KubeCon and CloudNativeCon Europe 2022 conference, the event for Kubernetes and cloud-native software development. A further 10,000 developers joined the conference online. The event is organized by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), part of the non-profit Linux Foundation. The CNCF supports and promotes […]

Sustainability laws set to drive real change

Sustainability laws set to drive real change

Nearly 15 years ago – in 2008 – Uptime Institute presented a paper titled “The gathering storm.” The paper was about the inevitability of a struggle against climate change and how this might play out for the power-hungry data center and IT sector. The issues were explored in more detail in the 2020 Uptime Institute […]

Equipment shortages may ease soon — but not for good reasons

Equipment shortages may ease soon — but not for good reasons

When Uptime Institute Intelligence surveyed data center infrastructure operators about supply chain issues in August 2021, more than two-thirds of respondents had experienced some shortages in the previous 18 months. Larger operations bore the brunt of disruptions, largely due to shortages or delays in sourcing major electrical equipment (such as switchgear, engine generators and uninterruptible […]

Who will win the cloud wars?

Who will win the cloud wars?

Technology giants such as Microsoft or IBM didn’t view Amazon as a threat when it launched its cloud business unit Amazon Web Services (AWS) in 2006. As a result, AWS has a significant first to market advantage with more services, more variations in more regions and more cloud revenue than any other cloud provider. Today, […]

Costlier new cloud generations increase lock-in risk

Costlier new cloud generations increase lock-in risk

Cloud providers tend to adopt the latest server technologies early, often many months ahead of enterprise buyers, to stay competitive. Providers regularly launch new generations of virtual machines with identical quantities of resources (such as core counts, memory capacity, network and storage bandwidths) as the previous generation but powered by the latest technology. Usually, the […]

Extreme heat stress-tests European data centers – again

Extreme heat stress-tests European data centers – again

An extreme heat wave swept across much of Western Europe on July 18 and 19, hitting some of the largest metropolitan areas such as Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam and Paris — which are also global data center hubs with hundreds of megawatts of capacity each. In the London area, temperatures at Heathrow Airport surpassed 40°C / […]

Crypto data centers: The good, the bad and the electric

Crypto data centers: The good, the bad and the electric

A single tweet in May 2021 brought unprecedented public attention to a relatively unknown issue. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that because of the large energy consumption associated with the use of Bitcoin, Tesla would no longer accept it as currency. Instead, Tesla would favor other cryptocurrencies that use less than 1% of Bitcoin’s energy […]

Making sense of the outage numbers

Making sense of the outage numbers

In recent years, Uptime Institute has published regular reports examining both the rate and causes of data center and IT service outages. The reports, which have been widely read and reported in the media, paint a picture of an industry that is struggling with resiliency and reliability — and one where operators regularly suffer downtime, […]

Cloud price increases damage trust

Cloud price increases damage trust

In general, the prices of cloud services either remain level or decrease. There are occasional price increases, but these are typically restricted to specific features; blanket price increases across product families are rare. Price cuts are often the result of improved operating efficiencies. Through automation, slicker processes, Moore’s law improvements in hardware and economies of […]

Direct liquid cooling (DLC): pressure is rising but constraints remain

Direct liquid cooling: pressure is rising but constraints remain

Direct liquid cooling (DLC) is a collection of techniques that removes heat by circulating a coolant to IT electronics. Even though the process is far more efficient than using air, the move to liquid cooling has been largely confined to select applications in high-performance computing to cool extreme high-density IT systems. There are a few […]

The ultimate liquid cooling: heat rejection into water

The ultimate liquid cooling: heat rejection into water

Uptime Institute’s data on power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a testament to the progress the data center industry has made in energy efficiency over the past 10 years. However, global average PUEs have been largely stalling at close to 1.6 since 2018, with only marginal gains. This makes sense: for the average figure to show […]

Cloud SLAs punish, not compensate

Cloud SLAs punish, not compensate

A service level agreement (SLA) is a contract between a cloud provider and a user. The SLA describes the provider’s minimum level of service, specified by performance metrics, and the compensation due to the user should the provider fail to deliver this service. In practice, however, this compensation is punitive. It seems designed to punish […]

Outages: understanding the human factor

Outages: understanding the human factor

Analyzing human error — with a view to preventing it — has always been challenging for data center operators. The cause of a failure can lie in how well a process was taught, how tired, well trained or resourced the staff are, or whether the equipment itself was unnecessarily difficult to operate. There are also […]

Is concern over cloud and third-party outages increasing?

Is concern over cloud and third-party outages increasing?

As a result of some high-profile outages and the growing interest in running critical services in a public cloud, the reliability — and transparency — of public cloud services has come under scrutiny. Cloud services are designed to operate with low failure rates. Large (at-scale) cloud and IT service providers, such as Amazon Web Services, […]

The weakest link dictates cloud outage compensation

The weakest link dictates cloud outage compensation

Cloud providers offer services that are assembled by users into applications. An outage of any single cloud service can render an application unavailable. Importantly, cloud providers guarantee the availability of individual services, not of entire applications. Even if a whole application becomes unresponsive due to a provider outage, compensation is only due for the individual […]

The shock waves from Ukraine

The shock waves from Ukraine

How is the Ukraine conflict affecting digital infrastructure and the data sector? In response to multiple queries, Uptime Institute Intelligence identified six main areas where operators and customers of digital infrastructure are experiencing effects from the conflict or will do so soon, not just in Europe but globally. (In Russia and Ukraine there are over […]

Cloud generations drive down prices

Cloud generations drive down prices

Cloud providers need to deliver the newest capability to stay relevant. Few enterprises will accept working with outdated technology just because it’s consumable as a cloud service. However, existing cloud instances don’t migrate automatically. Similarly to on-premises server infrastructure, users need to refresh their cloud services regularly. Typically, cloud operators prefer product continuity between generations, […]

Industry consensus on sustainability looks fragile

Industry consensus on sustainability looks fragile

Pressed by a sense of urgency among scientists and the wider public, and by governments and investors who must fulfil promises made at COP (Conference of the Parties) summits, major businesses are facing ever more stringent sustainability reporting requirements. Big energy users, such as data centers, are in the firing line. Many of the reporting […]

Cloud Complexity

Why cloud is a kludge of complexity

The cloud model was designed to be simple and nimble. Simple and nimble doesn’t necessarily mean fit for purpose. Over the past decade, new layers of capability have been added to cloud to address its shortcomings. While this has created more options and greater functionality, it has also meant greater complexity in its management. Today, […]

Direct liquid cooling bubbles to the surface

Direct liquid cooling bubbles to the surface

Conditions will soon be ripe for widespread use of direct liquid cooling (DLC) — a collection of techniques that uses fluid to remove heat from IT electronics instead of air — and it may even become essential. Currently, air cooling is still dominant with DLC remaining a niche option — around 85% of enterprise IT […]

Data center operators ponder the nuclear option

Data center operators ponder the nuclear option

As major businesses feel a growing sense of urgency to dramatically cut carbon emissions, opinions are starting to shift in favor of nuclear power, which is not classed as clean, but is a near-zero carbon energy source. The digital infrastructure industry, a major global consumer of energy, has a role to play in rehabilitating nuclear, […]

Flexibility drives cloud lock-in risk

Flexibility drives cloud lock-in risk

Vendor lock-in is regularly levied as a criticism of cloud services. But the reality of IT is, there has always been lock-in. Even before cloud, enterprises were locked into hardware, operating systems, database platforms, data centers and network providers. Practically, the lock-in challenge with cloud isn’t that moving from one location or platform is not […]

Data center operators give themselves a “Fail” for sustainability

Data center operators give themselves a “Fail” for sustainability

The global data center industry describes its own sustainability performance as average, compared with other industries — and most think efforts are not substantially reducing environmental impacts. A recent Uptime Institute global survey of over 400 data center owners and operators asked whether the industry’s environmental commitments are effective in curbing data center energy use, […]

Concerns over cloud concentration risk grow

Concerns over cloud concentration risk grow

Control over critical digital infrastructure is increasingly in the hands of a small number of major providers. While a public cloud provides a flexible, stable and distributed IT environment, there are growing concerns around its operational resiliency.

Bring on regulations for data center sustainability, say Europe and APAC

Bring on regulations for data center sustainability, say Europe and APAC

As the data center sector increases its focus on becoming more environmentally sustainable, regulators still have a part to play — the question is to what extent?

Are proof-of-work blockchains a corporate sustainability issue?

Are proof-of-work blockchains a corporate sustainability issue?

The data center and IT industry is a relatively minor — but nevertheless significant — contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate change: More operators prepare to weather the storms

Climate change: More operators prepare to weather the storms

To track changing attitudes and responses to climate change and the related threats to infrastructure, Uptime Institute Intelligence concluded two global surveys in the fourth quarters of 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Does the spread of direct liquid cooling make PUE less relevant?

Does the spread of direct liquid cooling make PUE less relevant?

The power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric is predominant thanks to its universal applicability and its simplicity: energy used by the entire data center, divided by energy used by the IT equipment.

ASHRAE Guidelines

New ASHRAE guidelines challenge efficiency drive

Earlier in 2021, ASHRAE’s Technical Committee 9.9 published an update — the fifth edition — of its Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments.

Too big to fail? Facebook’s global outage

Too big to fail? Facebook’s global outage

The bigger the outage, the greater the need for explanations and, most importantly, for taking steps to avoid a repeat.

Vertiv’s DCIM ambitions wither on Trellis’ demise

Vertiv’s DCIM ambitions wither on Trellis’ demise

Operators often say that data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software is a necessary evil. Modern facilities need centralized, real-time management and analytics, but DCIM is notoriously difficult to deploy.

Startups brew new chemistries for fresh battery types

Startups brew new chemistries for fresh battery types

Widespread net-zero carbon emission pledges are spurring innovative data center battery technologies.

Eyeing an uptick in edge data center demand

Eyeing an uptick in edge data center demand

Data center end-user organizations and suppliers alike expect an uptick in edge data center demand in the near term.

Fastly outage underscores slow creep of digital services risk

A recent outage at content delivery network Fastly took down thousands of websites in different countries, including big names, such as Amazon, Twitter and Spotify, for nearly an hour. It is the latest large outage highlighting the downside of a key trend in digital infrastructure: The growth in dependency on digital service providers can undermine […]

Green tariff renewable energy purchases

Until recently, power purchase agreements (PPAs) and unbundled renewable energy certificates (RECs) were the primary means for data center operators or managers to procure renewable electricity and RECs for their operations. Many companies are not comfortable with the eight-to-20-year length and financial risks of a PPA. Unbundled RECs are an ongoing expense and do not […]

Pandemic has driven up data center costs

As the pandemic began to make an impact in early 2020, it became clear that data center operators were going to have to invest more if they were to provide the services on which their customers were increasingly reliant. Short-term needs included protective equipment, deep cleaning and, it seemed likely, more spending to support extended […]

Renewable energy and data centers: Buyer, be aware

Across the world, data center owners and managers are striving to buy more renewable energy and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. The global internet giants and the largest colocation companies have led the way with huge green energy purchases. But the impact of renewable energy on the grid operator’s economics, and on the critical […]

The insider threat: Social engineering is raising security risks

Uptime Institute Members say one of their most vexing security concerns is the insider threat — authorized staff, vendors or visitors acting with malicious intent. In extreme examples, trusted individuals could power down servers and other equipment, damage network equipment, cut fiber paths, or steal data from servers or wipe the associated storage. Unfortunately, data […]

Data Center Security

Data center insecurity: Online exposure threatens critical systems

In early March 2021, a hacker group publicly exposed the username and password of an administrative account of a security camera vendor. The credentials enabled them to access 150,000 commercial security systems and, potentially, set up subsequent attacks on other critical equipment. A few weeks earlier, leaked credentials for the collaboration software TeamViewer gave hackers […]

Datacenter fire frequency trends

Datacenter Fire Frequency

The catastrophic fire that occurred at OVHcloud’s SBG2 data center in Strasbourg, France (see last week’s blog about it) has led many operators to question their vulnerability to fires. Fires at data centers are a constant concern, but are rare. In almost all cases of data center fire, the source is quickly located, the equipment isolated, […]

Learning from the OVHcloud data center fire

The fire that destroyed a data center (and damaged others) at the OVHcloud facility in Strasbourg, France, on March 10-11, 2021, has raised a multitude of questions from concerned data center operators and customers around the world. Chief among these is, “What was the main cause, and could it have been prevented?” Fires at data […]

How data center operators can transition to renewable energy

Transitioning to renewable energy use is an important, but not easily achieved, goal. Although the past decade has seen significant improvements in IT energy efficiency, there are indications that this may not continue. Moore’s Law may be slowing, more people are coming online, and internet traffic is growing faster than ever before. As energy consumption […]

Climate Change and Digital Infrastructure

Extreme weather affects nearly half of data centers

Recent extreme weather-related events in the US (the big freeze in Texas, fires on the west coast) have once again highlighted the need for data center operators to reassess their risks in the face of climate change. The topic is discussed in depth in the Uptime Institute report (available to Uptime Institute members) entitled, The gathering […]

Data center staff shortages don’t need to be a crisis

In every region of the world, data center capacity is being dramatically expanded. Across the board, the scale of capacity growth is stretching the critical infrastructure sector’s talent supply. The availability (or lack) of specialist staff will be an increasing concern for all types of data centers, from mega-growth hyperscales to smaller private enterprise facilities. […]

Extreme cold — a neglected threat to availability?

In Uptime Institute’s recent report on preparing for the extreme effects of climate change, there were over a dozen references to the dangers of extremely hot weather, which can overwhelm cooling systems and trigger regional fires that disrupt power, connectivity and staff access. But the effects of extreme cold were discussed only in passing. The […]

Network problems causing ever more outages

Power failures have always been one of the top causes of serious IT service outages. The loss of power to a data center can be devastating, and its consequences have fully justified the huge expense and effort that go into preventing such events. But in recent years, other causes are catching up, with networking issues […]

Data center staff on-site: engineering specialists or generalists?

The pandemic has led to a renewed interest by data center managers in remote monitoring, management and automation. Uptime Institute has fielded dozens of inquiries about these approaches in recent months, but one in particular stands out: What will operational automation and machine learning mean for on-site staff requirements? With greater automation, the expectation is […]

Ensuring physical security in uncertain times

Recent events have heightened concerns around physical security for many data center operators, and with good reason: the pandemic means many data centers may still be short-staffed, less time may have been available for review of and training on routine procedures, and vendor substitutes may be more common than under non-pandemic conditions. Add the usual […]

Critical Infrastructrure Innovation in 2021

A Surge of Innovation

Data center operators (and enterprise IT) are generally cautious adopters of new technologies. Only a few (beyond hyperscale operators) try to gain a competitive advantage through their early use of technology. Rather, they have a strong preference toward technologies that are proven, reliable and well-supported. This reduces risks and costs, even if it means opportunities […]

Sustainability: More challenging, more transparent

Through 2021 and beyond, the world will begin to recover from its acute crisis — COVID-19 — and will turn its attention to other matters. Few if any of these issues will be as important as climate change, a chronic condition that will become more pressing and acute as each year passes. In the critical […]

Edge Computing – The Next Frontier

One of the most widely anticipated trends in IT and infrastructure is significant new demand for edge computing, fueled by technologies such as 5G, IoT and AI. To date, net new demand for edge computing — processing, storing and integrating data close to where it is generated — has built slowly. As a result, some […]

Accountability – the “new” imperative

Outsourcing the requirement to own and operate data center capacity is the cornerstone of many digital transformation strategies, with almost every large enterprise spreading their workloads across their own data centers, colocation sites and public cloud. But ask any regulator, any chief executive, any customer: You can’t outsource responsibility — for incidents, outages, security breaches […]

Five Trends for 2021: accountability, automation, edge, sustainability, innovation

What we can expect for mission-critical digital infrastructure in 2021? Each autumn Uptime Institute, like many other organizations, puts together a list of some of the big trends and themes for the year ahead. This time, we have focused on five big trends that might not have been so obvious 12 months ago. Heading into […]

Rack Density is Rising

Density is rising The power density per rack (kilowatts [kW] per cabinet) is a critical number in data center design, capacity planning, and cooling and power provisioning. There have been industry warnings about a meteoric rise in IT equipment rack power density for the past decade (at least). One reason for this prediction is the […]

Common Factors for IT venue selection (Choosing In-house or Outsource)

Data center capacity is rapidly expanding in outsourced, third-party IT venues, such as colocation data centers and public cloud. Whether measured in megawatts (MW) of uninterruptible power supply capacity or IT load (or by some other measure, such as square feet of white or leased space, or in units of compute or storage) overall capacity […]

COVID-19, air filtration and energy use

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused concerns about data center HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) filtration. So many data center operators are adjusting filtration protocols, including upgrading to finer MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) 13 filters, to better filter out aerosols and COVID-19 virus carriers.1 But there is no free lunch. Depending on the design […]

Why ASHRAE is concerned about edge data centers

There are few organizations that have had as big an impact on data center design as ASHRAE — and specifically, their Technical Committee (TC) 9.9. ASHRAE’s 2004 publication Thermal guidelines for Data Processing Environments (now in its fourth edition) described the optimal environmental operating conditions for the electronics in a data center, and in doing so, effectively […]

PUE: The golden metric is looking rusty

When the PUE (power usage effectiveness) metric was first discussed at a meeting of The Green Grid in Santa Clara, back in 2007, a microphone stand was placed in each aisle of the auditorium. The importance of the initiative was understood even then: experts, including the founders of Uptime Institute, formed lines to give their […]

Why data center operators are investing in more redundancy

When Uptime Institute recently asked over 300 data center managers how the pandemic would change their operations, one answer stood out: Two-thirds expect to increase the resiliency of their core data center(s) in the years ahead. Many said they expected their costs to increase as a result. The reasoning is clear: the pandemic — or […]

Job Projections, 2019-2029, Macro shifts, Gig work and the Baby-Boomers

In mid-September 2020, The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics published their updated 2019-2029 Employment Projection summary news release and the associated handbook which discusses various job roles and hiring and salary expectations over the next decade. It identified a number of easy to consume trends which caught my attention and perhaps worth your consideration. In the […]

Increasing data center temperatures to reduce energy costs

Periodically we get questions about data center temperatures and energy savings. The questions usually ask about possible energy savings in commercial data centers by raising the temperature of the data hall. Some form of this question surfaces regularly over time because it just seems to be a common sense opportunity. But there is alot to […]

Infographic: Data Center Industry Staffing Shortage is Getting Worse

Data Centers and Thunder, Lightning, Wind and Rain

Data centers are built and sited to withstand all that Mother Nature can throw at them — or at least, is likely to throw at them — during their lifecycle. This has long been a given, practiced and understood by designers, planners and regulators. But climate change is changing everything. Recent weather events have led […]

Will the pandemic accelerate the move to public cloud?

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded, many people have suggested that the business case for enterprises to move more workloads to the public cloud has been strengthened. Some have argued that the pandemic will accelerate the decline of the enterprise data center. Is this actually the case? And if so, why? This is one of […]

Data Centers and Wildfires

As will be discussed in our upcoming note about managing data center with the severe weather caused by climate change, we continue to highlight the need for data center managers to not only review existing emergency plans but also anticipate previously unforeseen challenges. The need to understand the new ‘Normal’ Which brings us to wildfires… […]

Pandemics: Operators plan to be ready next time

Data center managers, on both the facilities and the IT side of operations, are known for their preparedness. Even so, the pandemic caught most by surprise. Few had an effective pandemic plan in place, and most had to react and adapt on the fly, as best as they could. A small but significant number suffered […]

Lithium-ion batteries in the Data Center: An ethical dimension?

One of the emerging trends in data centers is the use of lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries, both for distributed and centralized uninterruptible power supplies. Research by Uptime Institute and others predicts high levels of adoption in the years ahead. The primary reasons for this are technical, relating to energy density, rechargeability and management. But Li-ion […]

Data center workforce diversity makes good business sense

Increasingly, data centers cannot find qualified candidates for open jobs. Companies that commit to diverse and inclusive workplaces are more likely to have better financial performance; greater innovation and productivity; and higher employee-ambassador recruitment, employee retention and employee job satisfaction rates.

Uptime Institute’s 10th Annual Data Center Survey is here!

It’s HERE!!!  Every year, Uptime Institute reaches out to thousands of industry leaders, enterprises and suppliers to ask them about their view of where the data center and digital infrastructure industry is going and what kinds of challenges they are dealing with today and expect in the future. We ask about trends and migrations, tactics […]

The pandemic, outages and the internet giants

In a recent Uptime Institute Intelligence analysis we considered a question that Uptime Institute has been asked many times since COVID-19 lockdowns began: Has the pandemic caused any increase in outages? The question arose because the pandemic has caused staff shortages, extended shifts, delays to maintenance, and a shortage of parts for at least some operators. […]

Best-in-class data center provisioning: Simplify, Standardize, Repeat

Demand for IT capacity continues to grow rapidly across the globe, which has driven the need for more industrialized approaches to data center provisioning including construction and component assembly. Large operators and their partners have scrambled to apply new processes and disciplines, expand and re-organize supply chains, deploy prefabricated components, and, where possible, reduce cost […]

COVID-19: Critical impact and legacy

What will be the long-lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the digital critical infrastructure industry? It may be too soon to ask the question given that, at the time of writing, the virus is taking its toll at scale across the world. But Uptime Institute has been asked this question many times, and it’s […]

Enterprises’ need for control and visibility still slows cloud adoption

During the current COVID-19 crisis, enterprise dependency on cloud platform providers (Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform) and on software as a service (Salesforce, Zoom, Teams) has increased. Operators report booming demand, with Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella saying, “We have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” This […]

Data Center cleaning and sanitization: detail, cost and effectiveness

Fear of the coronavirus or confirmed exposure has caused about half (49%) of data center owners to increase the frequency of regular cleanings, according to a recent Uptime Institute flash survey. Even more (66%) have increased the frequency of sanitization (disinfection) to eliminate (however transitorily) any possible presence of the novel coronavirus in their facilities. […]

COVID-19: What worries data center management the most?

To date, the critical infrastructure industry has mostly managed effectively with reduced staff, deferred maintenance, social distancing and new patterns of demand. While there have been some serious incidents and outages directly related to the pandemic, these have been few. But what worries operators for the months ahead? Clearly, the situation is changing all the […]

Pandemic is causing some outages and slowdowns

To date, media coverage of the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdowns has been largely laudatory. There have been few high profile or serious outages (perhaps fewer than normal) and for the most part, internet traffic flow analysis shows that a sudden jump in demand, along with a shift toward the residential edge and busy […]

Data center PUEs flat since 2013

The average power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratio for a data center in 2020 is 1.58, only marginally better than 7 years ago, according to the latest annual Uptime Institute survey (findings to be published shortly). PUE, an international standard first developed by The Green Grid and others in 2007, is the most widely accepted way […]

Uptime Institute's COVID19 Q&A Part 3

COVID-19: Q&A (Part 3): Deferred Maintenance, Remote Work, Supply Chain, Long-Term Outlook

The final installment of our Q&A regarding digital infrastructure considerations during the COVID19 crisis includes Deferred Maintenance, Remote Word, Supply Chain, Tier Standard and Long-Term Outlook Below is Part 3 of the Q&A responses brought up during our recent series of webinars about managing operational risk during the COVID19 crisis. (Part 1 dealt with Staffing and […]

COVID-19: Q&A (Part 2): Site Sanitation and Security

Here is Part 2 of our Q&A regarding digital infrastructure considerations during the COVID19 crisis. Keep in mind that we are all handling this crisis in varied ways, and learning from each other along the way. In that process, we really ARE all finding our own “New Normal” and ultimately we will come out of […]

COVID19: Digital Infrastructure Q&A

COVID-19: Q&A (Part 1): Staff Management

We are all in this together. We are all finding our own “New Normal”. We are all learning from each other and will come out of this crisis stronger due to the renewed focus on operational effectiveness, risk avoidance and contingency planning. To this end, Uptime Institute has been creating many types of guidance and […]

Are IT Infrastructure Outages Getting Longer?

One of the findings of Uptime Institute’s recently published report Annual outage analysis 2020 is that the most serious categories of outages — those that cause a significant disruption in services — are becoming more severe and more costly. This isn’t entirely surprising: individuals and businesses alike are becoming ever more dependent on IT, and it is […]

COVID-19: IT organizations move from planning to implementation

Over the past few weeks, Uptime Institute held multiple customer roundtables to discuss the impact of the COVID-19 virus on data center operations and potential operational responses to its spread. We gathered our communities insights and best practices, we combined with our own 25 years worth of infrastructure operational management knowledge and we are now […]

Pay-as-you-go model spreads to critical components

As enterprises continue to move from a focus on capital expenditures to operating expenditures, more data center components will also be consumed on a pay-as-you-go, “as a service” basis. “-aaS” goes mainstream The trend toward everything “as a service” (XaaS) is now mainstream in IT, ranging from cloud (infrastructure-aaS) and software-aaS (SaaS) to newer offerings, […]

Phasing Out Data Center Hot Work

Despite years of discussion, warnings and strict regulations in some countries, data center hot work remains a contentious issue in the data center industry. Hot work is the practice of working on energized electrical circuits (voltage limits differ regionally) — and it is usually done, in spite of the risks, to reduce the possibility of […]

The spectre of ransomware

Uptime Institute Intelligence plans to release its 2019/2020 outages report shortly. This report will examine the types, causes and impacts of public outages, as well as further analyze the results of a recent Uptime survey on outages and impacts. The data will once again show that serious IT service interruptions are common and costly, with […]

Micro data centers: An explosion in demand, in slow motion

A wave of new technologies, from 5G to the internet of things (IoT) to artificial intelligence (AI), means much more computing and much more data will be needed near the point of use. That means many more small data centers will be required. But there will be no sudden mass deployment, no single standout use […]

Technology Refresh

Optimizing server refresh cycles with an aging Moore’s law

Hardware refresh is the process of replacing older, less efficient servers with newer, more efficient ones with more compute capacity. However, there is a complication to the refresh cycle that is relatively recent: the slowing down of Moore’s law. There is still a very strong case for savings in energy when replacing servers that are […]

Outages drive authorities and businesses to act

Big IT outages are occurring with growing regularity, many with severe consequences. Executives, industry authorities and governments alike are responding with more rules, calls for more transparency and a more formal approach to end-to-end, holistic resiliency. Creeping criticality IT outages and data center downtime can cause huge disruption. That is hardly news: veterans with long […]

Data center energy use goes up and up and up

Energy use by data centers and IT will continue to rise, putting pressure on energy infrastructure and raising questions about carbon emissions. The drivers for more energy use are simply too great to be offset by efficiency gains. Drivers Demand for digital services has seen sustained, exceptional growth over the past few years — and […]

Data Center Investment

Capital inflow boosts the data center market

Data centers are no longer a niche or exotic investment among mainstream institutional buyers, which are swarming to the sector. There is now a buyer for almost every type of data center — including traditional-infrastructure investors and sovereign wealth funds. How might this new mix of capital sources change the broader data center sector? Traditional […]

Surveillance Capitalism and DCIM

In her book “Surveillance Capitalism,” the Harvard scholar Shoshana Zuboff describes how some software and service providers have been collecting vast amounts of data, with the goal of tracking, anticipating, shaping and even controlling the behavior of individuals. She sees it as a threat to individual freedom, to business and to democracy. Zuboff outlines the […]

Data centers without diesel generators: The groundwork is being laid…

In 2012, Microsoft announced that it planned to eliminate engine generators at its big data center campus in Quincey, Oregon. Six years later the same group, with much the same aspirations, filed for permission to install 72 diesel generators, which have an expected life of at least a decade. This example illustrates clearly just how […]

Top-10 Digital Infrastructure Trends for 2020

The digital infrastructure industry continues to grow and change at a striking price. Across the world, a thriving community of investors, designers, owners and operators are grappling with many of the same issues: resiliency and risk, the impact of cloud, the move to the edge, rapid innovation, and unpredictable (although mostly upward) demand.  What should […]

Separation of Production vs. Non-Production IT

Non-production IT can hinder mission-critical operations

Separating production and non-production assets should be an operational requirement for most organizations. By definition, production assets support high-priority IT loads — servers that are critical to a business or business unit. In most organizations, IT will have sufficient discretion to place these assets where they have redundant power supplies, sufficient cooling and high levels of […]

99 Red Flags: The Availability Nines

99 Red Flags

One of the most widely cited metrics in the IT industry is for availability, expressed in the form of a number of nines: three nines for 99.9% availability (minutes of downtime per year), extending to six nines — 99.9999% — or even, very rarely, seven nines. What this should mean in practice is show in […]

Big Tech Regulation

Big Tech Regulations: an UPSIDE for Cloud customers?

Regulation of Internet giants has focused so far mostly on data privacy, where concerns are relatively well understood by lawmakers and the general public. At the same time, the threat of antitrust action is growing. Congressional hearings in the US with Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have begun, and governments in Europe, India and elsewhere […]

IT Outages in the Financial Community

Outage Reporting in Financial Services

In the movie “Mary Poppins,” Mr. Banks sings that a British bank must be run with precision, and that “Tradition, discipline and rules must be the tools.” Otherwise, he warns, “Disorder! Chaos!” will ensue. One rule, introduced by the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2018, suggests that disorder and chaos might be quite common […]

Data Center Outages - Part Deux

How to Avoid Outages – Part Deux

A previous Uptime Intelligence Note suggested that avoiding data center outages might be as simple as trying harder. The Note suggested that management failures are the main reason that enterprises continue to experience downtime incidents, even in fault tolerant facilities. “The Intelligence Trap,” a new book by David Robson, sheds light on why management mistakes continue to […]

Business Outages

Why do some industries and organizations suffer more serious, high profile outages than others?

In a recent Uptime Institute Intelligence note, we considered a June 2019 report issued by the US General Accounting Office (GAO) on the IT resiliency of US airlines. The GAO wanted to better understand if the all-too-frequent IT outages and resultant chaos passengers face have any common causes and if so, how they could be […]

How to avoid outages: Try harder!

Uptime Institute has spent years analyzing the roots causes for data center and service outages, surveying thousands of IT professionals throughout the year on this topic. According to the data, the vast majority of data center failures are caused by human error. Some industry experts report numbers as high as 75%, but Uptime Institute generally reports […]

Forecasting Capacity

Troubling for operators: Capacity forecasting and maintaining cost competitiveness

In the recently published 2019 Uptime Institute supplier survey, participants told us they are witnessing higher than normal data center spending patterns. This is in line with general market trends, driven by the demand for data and digital services. It is also a welcome sign for those suppliers who witnessed a downturn two to three […]

Free Air Cooling

Data Center Free Air Cooling Trends

With the recent expansion of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE’s) acceptable data center operating temperature and humidity ranges — taken as an industry-standard best practice by many operators — the case for free air cooling has become much stronger. Free air cooling is an economical method of using low external […]

IT Outages in the Airline Industry, A New Report by the GAO

Uptime Institute’s Annual outage analysis, published early this year, called attention to the persistent problem of IT service and data center outages. Coupled with our annual survey data on outages, the analysis explains, to a degree, why investments to date have not greatly reduced the outage problem — at least from an end-to-end service view. Gathering […]

Data center AI: Start with the end in mind

An artificial intelligence (AI) strategy for data center management and operation requires more than just data and some very smart humans. Selecting specific use cases and understanding the types of data that influence AI outcomes — and then validating those outcomes — will be key if the needs of the business are to be met. […]

Open19-Rack Platform

Open19 expects 2019 to be the year of “Accelerated Adoption”

We have heard for a dozen years about the Open Computing Project (OCP) and their non-traditional approach to computing hardware, from the racks to the servers, storage and networking. And over the last few years to the Open19 Foundation started to promote their alternative platform which resembles the more traditional 19-inch rack approach we have […]

Climate Change changes all the norms

PG&E Turns Power Off (a.k.a. Climate Change and the Data Center)

In our October 2018 report, A mission-critical industry unprepared for climate change, Uptime Institute Intelligence urged data center operators and owners to plan for the effects of climate change. We specifically encouraged data center owners and operators to meet with government officials and utility executives to learn about local and regional disaster preparation and response plans. […]

Enterprise IT and the public cloud: What the numbers tell us

The spectacular growth of the public cloud has many drivers, only one of which is the deployment, redevelopment or migration of enterprise IT into the cloud. But many groups within the industry — data center builders and operators, hardware and software suppliers, networking companies, and providers of skills and services alike — are closely watching […]

Artificial Intelligence in the Data Center: Myth versus Reality

It is still very early days, but it is clear that artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform the way data centers are designed, managed and operated — eventually. There has been a lot of misrepresentation and hype around AI, and it’s not always clear how it will be applied, and when. The Uptime Institute […]

Renewed Pressure for Renewables to Power the Data Center

In a recent presentation at the Energy Smart data center conference in Stockholm, Gary Cook, the Greenpeace activist who has tracked data center carbon emissions for a decade, showed a slide of logos, indicating companies that have made a commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy for their IT. Cook showed the commitment started with […]

The Data Center Staffing and Skills Shortage is here NOW!

Sometimes it can be hard to get people to talk about their issues — other times, it can be hard to keep them quiet. A recent Uptime Institute Network member’s meeting began as an open discussion but was soon dominated by one issue: data center staffing. The members’ concerns reflect the growing disquiet in the […]

Is PUE actually going UP?

One of the more intriguing results of the Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey 2019 concerned energy efficiency.  For years, data centers have become ever more efficient, with power usage effectiveness (PUE) ratings across the industry (apparently) falling.  Big operators, such as hyperscale cloud companies and big colos, regularly claim annual or design PUE figures […]

Comparing the severity of IT service outages: Uptime Institute’s Outage Severity Rating

Avoiding IT service outages is a big concern for any operator or service provider, especially one providing a business-critical service.  But when an outage does occur, the business impact can vary from “barely noticeable” to “huge and expensive.”  Anticipating and modeling the impact of a service interruption should be a part of incident planning and is key […]

Data Center AI (Artificial Intelligence) Creates New Risks

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used in data centers to drive up efficiencies and drive down risks and costs. But it also creates new types of risks. This is one of the findings from a recent Uptime Intelligence research report #25, “Very smart data centers: How artificial intelligence will power operational decisions”, published in April […]

“Think Globally, Act Locally”: Re-Evaluating Data Center Resiliency in the Face of Climate Change

The 1970s-era environmental phrase “Think globally, act locally,” is an apt way for data center operators to consider the best approach to understand and address the effects of climate change on their facilities and IT operations TODAY. Globally, we all hear that climate change threatens to bring warmer temperatures, stronger storms, rising sea levels, and […]

NEXTDC: Obsessed with the details so our customers’ business is always available

This is a guest post written by Brett Ridley, Head of Central Operations and Facility Management for NEXTDC.NEXTDC is Australia’s leading independent data centre operator with a nationwide network of Uptime Institute certified Tier III and Tier IV facilities. NEXTDC provides enterprise-class colocation services to local and international organisations. If you are interested in participating in […]

Fiber Optic Cables in Data Center

Application Resiliency vs. Infrastructure Resiliency

Software enabled application resiliency is now playing a significant and increasing role in bolstering applications availability and reliability across the enterprise, reducing risk to the business. No longer are clients solely reliant upon the stability provided by the electrical and mechanical systems in their data center. By utilizing new software techniques, enterprises are now able […]

Data Centers & Mission Critical Fabric

Mission Critical Computing Fabric

We’ve entered an era where our IT infrastructures are now becoming a compilation of capacity that is spread out and running upon a wide range of platforms; some we completely control, some we control partially and some we don’t control at all. No longer should our IT services discussions start with ‘And in the data center […]

How Edge Computing Is Transforming IT Infrastructure

New technologies such as IoT and cloud architectures are driving computing to the edge. Companies must embrace this trend in order to survive. The definition of computing infrastructure is changing. While large traditional data centers have been the mainstay of information technology for the past 60 years, we’re seeing a perfect storm today where mobility, […]

Data Center Security

Hacking the Physical Data Center – Not just for Hollywood Movies

We have all seen big headline stories for years about overseas network hackers who are able to extract millions of account details and social security numbers from the retail, financial and a litany of other industries. And Hollywood has done a great job of painting the picture about bad guys physically breaking into data centers […]

Shrinking Data Center

As Data Center Footprint shrinks, the Importance of the Data Center Grows!

Today, your data center is more important and essential than it has ever been! Let me explain. We are at a cross-roads in thinking for IT Infrastructures. For nearly 40 years (about the time when the first connected computing systems came into being), bigger has always been better. Bigger processors, bigger disk drives, bigger servers, […]

Delivering IT in 2018 is All About Accountability!

It has always been incredibly difficult to align an organization’s business needs and strategies with the underlying information technologies required to get there. For many years, the long-tenured IT organization was given a tremendous amount of leeway due to the complex nature of delivering IT. IT was viewed as an almost magical discipline, something that […]

Myths and Misconceptions Regarding the Uptime Institute’s Tier Certification System

True or false? When it comes to Tier Certification, just ask Uptime Institute By Uptime Institute Staff Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System for data centers has reached the two-decade mark. Since its creation in the mid-1990s, Tiers has evolved from a shared industry terminology into the global standard for third-party validation of data center critical […]

Top Considerations for Addressing Data Center Facilities Management Risks

Uptime Institute recently published “Top Considerations for Addressing Data Center Facilities Management Risks,” a guide for reducing data center risks in enterprise IT organizations . The guide comprises 14 top considerations useful for designing and running an enterprise-grade data center facilities management program. The full guide is available for download on the Uptime Institute website. […]

Japan’s Biggest Provider of Critical IT Services Earns M&O Stamp of Approval

Nearly perfect M&O Stamp of Approval scores prove that NRI’s data centers operations are world class By Kevin Heslin Nomura Research Institute, Ltd. (NRI), a ¥18 billion ($US169 million) company that provides consulting, financial IT solutions, industrial IT solutions, and IT platform services mainly to a global financial marketplace, has earned Uptime Institute Management and […]

Highlights from Uptime Institute Symposium: Shanghai

This week, Uptime Institute hosted its first major event in China, Uptime Institute Symposium: Shanghai. Over 400 invite-only attendees joined Uptime Institute for a day of collaborative learning at the Grand Hyatt. The photos below illustrate some highlights from the the day. Stay tuned to the Symposium website for updates on our events in North […]

CenturyLink Benefits from Its Commitment to Excellence

David Meredith says that CenturyLink’s involvement, including the M&O Stamp of Approval, with Uptime Institute provides mutual benefits. Uptime Institute’s Risk Journal for IT Infrastructure is the most recent example. CenturyLink’s commitment to operational excellence has become one of the company’s competitive advantages, and David Meredith, a senior VP at CenturyLink, has been an enthusiastic […]

Luxembourg Colo Provides Multi-Tier Options

Luxconnect obtains different Tier Certifications to meet the needs of the changing market demands By Christine De Ridder LuxConnect, a multi-tenant, multi-tier data center and dark fiber network operator based in Luxembourg, developed an innovative strategy using Uptime Institute Tiers to differentiate the services and pricing it offers to key customer groups. In doing so, […]

When an Australian Government Department Required Operational Sustainability, Metronode Delivered

Senior facility manager calls achieving Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability “a dream” By Kevin Heslin The New South Wales (NSW) Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) is a government service provider and regulator for the southeastern Australian state. DFSI supports many government functions, including sustainable government finances, major public works and maintenance programs, government […]

LinkedIn’s Oregon Data Center Goes Live, Gains EIT Stamp of Approval

Uptime Institute recently awarded its Efficient IT (EIT) Stamp of Approval to LinkedIn for its new data center in Infomart Portland, signaling that the modern new facility had exceeded extremely high standards for enterprise leadership, operations, and computing infrastructure. These standards are designed to help organizations lower costs and increase efficiency, and leverage technology for […]

Airline Outages FAQ: How to Keep Your Company Out of the Headlines

Uptime Institute has prepared this brief airline outages FAQ to help the industry, media, and general public understand the reasons that data centers fail. The failure of a power control module on Monday, August 8, 2016, at a Delta Airlines data center caused hundreds of flight cancellations, inconvenienced thousands of customers, and cost the airline […]

Tier III Certified Facilities Prove Critical to Norwegian Colo’s Client Appeal

Green Mountain melds sustainability, reliability, competitive pricing, and independent certifications to attract international colo customers By Kevin Heslin Green Mountain operates two unique colo facilities in Norway, having a total potential capacity of several hundred megawatts. Though each facility has its own strengths, both embody the company’s commitment to providing secure, high-quality service in an […]

Top 10 Considerations for Enterprises Progressing to Cloud

Industry data from Uptime Institute and 451 Research evidence a rapid rate of cloud computing adoption for enterprise IT departments. Organizations weigh cloud benefits and risks, and also evaluate how cloud will impact their existing and future data center infrastructure investment. In this video, Uptime Institute COO Julian Kudritzki and Andrew Reichman, Research Director at […]

FORTRUST Gains Competitive Advantage from Management and Operations

FORTRUST regards management and operations as a core competency that helps it win new clients and control capital and operating expenses Shortly after receiving word that FORTRUST had earned Uptime Institute’s Tier Certification for Operational Sustainability (Gold) for Phase 7 of its Denver data center, Rob McClary, the company’s executive vice president and general manager, […]

Reduce Data Center Insurance Premiums

Uptime Institute President Lee Kirby and Stephen Douglas, Risk Control Director for CNA, an insurance and risk control provider for the software and IT services industry recently coauthored an article for Data Center Knowledge: Lowering Your Data Center’s Exposure to Insurance Claims. In this follow on, Kirby discusses how companies can reduce insurance premiums by […]

Identifying Lurking Vulnerabilities in the World’s Best-Run Data Centers

Peer-based critiques drive continuous improvement, identify lurking data center vulnerabilities By Kevin Heslin Shared information is one of the distinctive features of the Uptime Institute Network and its activities. Under non-disclosure agreements, Network members not only share information, but they also collaborate on projects of mutual interest. Uptime Institute facilitates the information sharing and helps […]

Ignore Data Center Water Consumption at Your Own Peril

Will drought dry up the digital economy? With water scarcity a pressing concern, data center owners are re-examining water consumption for cooling. By Ryan Orr and Keith Klesner In the midst of a historic drought in the western U.S., 70% of California experienced “extreme” drought in 2015, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The state’s […]

Bank of Canada Achieves Operational Excellence

The team approach helped the Bank earn Uptime Institute’s M&O Stamp of Approval By Matt Stansberry The Bank of Canada is the nation’s central bank. The Bank acts as the fiscal agent of the Canadian government, managing its public debt programs and foreign exchange reserves and setting its monetary policy. It also designs, issues, and […]

IT Sustainability Supports Enterprise-Wide Efforts

Raytheon integrates corporate sustainability to achieve savings and recognition By Brian J. Moore With a history of innovation spanning 92 years, Raytheon Company provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration, and other capabilities in the areas of sensing, effects, command, control, communications, and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services in […]

Tier Certification for Modular and Phased Construction

Special care must be taken on modular and phased construction projects to avoid compromising reliability goals. Shared system coordination could defeat your Tier Certification objective By Chris Brown Today, we often see data center owners taking a modular or phased construction approach to reduce the costs of design, construction, and operation and build time. Taking […]

Failure Doesn’t Keep Business Hours: 24×7 Coverage

A statistical justification for 24×7 coverage By Richard Van Loo As a result of performing numerous operational assessments at data centers around the world, Uptime Institute has observed that staffing levels at data centers vary greatly from site to site. This observation is discouraging, but not surprising, because while staffing is an important function for […]

Examining and Learning from Complex Systems Failures

Conventional wisdom blames “human error” for the majority of outages, but those failures are incorrectly attributed to front-line operator errors, rather than management mistakes By Julian Kudritzki, with Anne Corning Data centers, oil rigs, ships, power plants, and airplanes may seem like vastly different entities, but all are large and complex systems that can be […]

IT Chargeback Drives Efficiency

Allocating IT costs to internal customers improves accountability, cuts waste By Scott Killian You’ve heard the complaints many times before: IT costs too much. I have no idea what I’m paying for. I can’t accurately budget for IT costs. I can do better getting IT services myself. The problem is that end-user departments and organizations […]

AIG Tells How It Raised Its Level of Operations Excellence

By Kevin Heslin and Lee Kirby Driving operational excellence across multiple data centers is exponentially more difficult than managing just one. Technical complexity multiplies as you move to different sites, regions, and countries where codes, cultures, climates, and other factors are different. Organizational complexity further complicates matters when the data centers in your portfolio have […]

Meeting the M&O Challenge of Managing a Diverse Data Center Footprint: John Sheputis and Don Jenkins, Infomart

By Matt Stansberry and Lee Kirby Driving operational excellence across multiple data centers is exponentially more difficult than managing just one. Technical complexity multiplies as you move to different sites, regions, and countries where codes, cultures, climates and other factors are different. Organizational complexity further complicates matters when the data centers in your portfolio have […]

The Calibrated Data Center:  Using Predictive Modeling

Better information leads to better decisions By Jose Ruiz New tools have dramatically enhanced the ability of data center operators to base decisions regarding capacity planning and operational performance like move, adds, and changes on actual data. The combined use of modeling technologies to effectively calibrate the data center during the commissioning process and the […]

Avoiding Data Center Construction Problems

Experience, teamwork, and third-party verification are keys to avoiding data center construction problems By Keith Klesner In 2014, Uptime Institute spoke to the common conflicts between data center owners and designers. In our paper, “Resolving Conflicts Between Data Center Owners and Designers” [The Uptime Institute Journal, Volume 3, p 111], we noted that both the […]

Improve Project Success Through Mission Critical Commissioning

Rigorous testing of data center components should be a continuous process By Ryan Orr, with Chris Brown and Ed Rafter Many data center owners and others commonly believe that commissioning takes place only in the last few days before the facility enters into operation. In reality, data center commissioning is a continuous process that, when […]

Data center design goals and certification of proven achievement are not the same

On March 13, 2015, Data Center Knowledge published an article “ViaWest Accused of Misleading Customers in Las Vegas”. The following is excerpted from the article. ViaWest, the Shaw Communications-owned data center service provider, is being accused of misleading customers about reliability of its Las Vegas data center. Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s office has asked […]

Proper Data Center Staffing is Key to Reliable Operations

The care and feeding of a data center By Richard F. Van Loo Managing and operating a data center comprises a wide variety of activities, including the maintenance of all the equipment and systems in the data center, housekeeping, training, and capacity management for space power and cooling. These functions have one requirement in common: […]

Empowering the Data Center Professional

Five questions to ask yourself, and five to ask your team By Fred Dickerman When Uptime Institute invited me to present at Symposium this year, I noticed that the event theme was Empowering the Data Center Professional. Furthermore, I noted that Uptime Institute described the Symposium as “providing attendees with the information to make better […]

RagingWire’s Jason Weckworth Discusses the Execution of IT Strategy

In this series, Uptime Institute asked three of the industry’s most well recognized and innovative leaders to describe the problems facing enterprise IT organizations. Jason Weckworth examined the often-overlooked issue of server hugging; Mark Thiele suggested that service offerings often did not fit the customer’s long-term needs; and Fred Dickerman found customers and providers at […]

Mark Thiele from Switch examines the options in today’s data center industry

In this series, three of the industry’s most well-recognized and innovative leaders describe the problems facing enterprise IT organizations today. In this part, Switch’s Mark Thiele suggests that service offerings often don’t fit customer’s long-term needs. Customers in the data center market have a wide range of options. They can choose to do something internally, […]

Annual Data Center Industry Survey 2014

The fourth annual Uptime Institute Data Center Industry Survey provides an overview of global industry trends by surveying 1,000 data center operators and IT practitioners. Uptime Institute collected responses via email February through April 2014 and presented preliminary results in May 2014 at the 9th Uptime Institute Symposium: Empowering the Data Center Professional. To immediately […]

Data Center Cooling: CRAC/CRAH redundancy, capacity, and selection metrics

Striking the appropriate balance between cost and reliability is a business decision that requires metrics By Dr. Hussein Shehata This paper focuses on cooling limitations of down-flow computer room air conditioners/air handlers (CRACs/CRAHs) with dedicated heat extraction solutions in high-density data center cooling applications. The paper also explains how higher redundancy can increase total cost […]

Executive Perspectives on the Colocation and Wholesale Markets

An interview with CenturyLink’s David Meredith and Drew Leonard By Matt Stansberry Through our survey data and interactions with global Network members, Uptime Institute has noted large enterprise companies that have gone from running their own data centers exclusively to augmenting with some form of outsourced infrastructure. Does this match your experience? Do you see […]

A Holistic Approach to Reducing Cost and Resource Consumption

Data center operators need to move beyond PUE and address the underlying factors driving poor IT efficiency. By Matt Stansberry and Julian Kudritzki, with Scott Killian Since the early 2000s, when the public and IT practitioners began to understand the financial and environmental repercussions of IT resource consumption, the data center industry has focused obsessively […]

Explaining the Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System (April 2021 Update)

Note: This is an April 2021 update to an article previously published. Uptime Institute’s Tier Standard and its Tier Classification System for data centers have been applied by owners and operators of data centers for nearly 30 years. Since its creation in the mid-1990s, the system has evolved from a shared industry terminology into the […]

Start With the End in Mind!

Involving operations at the beginning of a data center capital project is a good way to reduce TCO and gain other benefits By Lee Kirby As the data center industry grows in geographic breadth and technological sophistication, it is natural that design professionals, owners and operators pay attention to the capital-intensive effort of designing and […]


Resolving the Data Center Staffing Shortage

The availability of qualified candidates is just part of the problem with data center staffing; the industry also lacks training and clear career paths attractive to recruits. The data center industry is experiencing a shortage of personnel. Uptime Institute Founder Ken Brill, as always, was among the first to note a trend, mentioning it more […]


Resolving Conflicts between Data Center Owners and Designers

Improving communication between the enterprise and design engineers during a capital project For over 10 years, Uptime Institute has sought to improve the relationship between data center design engineers and data center owners. Yet, it is clear that issues remain. Uptime Institute’s uniquely unbiased position—it does not design, construct, commission, operate, or provision equipment to […]


Decommissioning as a Discipline: Server Roundup Winners Share Success

How did these six enterprises find and eliminate so much waste? Comatose IT equipment, servers long abandoned by application owners and users but still racked and running, are hiding in plain sight within even the most sophisticated IT organizations. Obsolete or unused servers represent a double threat in terms of energy waste—squandering power at the […]

Data center cost

Data Center Cost Myths: SCALE

What happens when economies of scale is a false promise? By Chris Crosby   Chris Crosby is a recognized visionary and leader in the data center space, Founder and CEO of Compass Datacenters. Mr. Crosby has more than 20 years of technology experience and 10 years of real estate and investment experience. Previously, he served […]

The data center in 2020 and beyond

In this keynote video from 2014 Uptime Institute Symposium, Andy Lawrence, Research Director at 451 Research, provides an overview of what a data center might look like in 2020 and beyond. This presentation covers how all the various new technologies might be combined with new data center services, along with extrapolated improvements in processing, storage […]

Designing Netflix’s Content Delivery Network

David Fullagar, Director of Content Delivery Architecture at Netflix, presents at Uptime Institute Symposium 2014. In his presentation, Fullagar discusses the hardware design and open source software components of Netflix Open Connect, the custom-designed content delivery network that enables Netflix to handle its massive video-streaming demands, and explains how these designs are well-suited to other […]