Operations


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 […]

Vegetable oil promises a sustainable alternative to diesel

Vegetable oil promises a sustainable alternative to diesel

The thousands of gallons of diesel that data centers store on-site to fuel backup generators in the event of a grid outage are hard to ignore — and do little to assist operators’ drive toward tougher sustainability goals. In the past two years, an alternative to diesel made from renewable materials has found support among […]

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.

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.

Mixed resiliency at the edge

Mixed resiliency at the edge

Many analysts have forecast an explosion in demand for edge data centers. After a long, slow start, demand is beginning to build, with small, prefabricated and mostly remotely operated data centers ready to be deployed to support a varying array of applications.

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.

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

Which regions have the most energy efficient data centers?

When the PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) metric for data centers was first agreed upon by the members of The Green Grid back in 2007, almost everyone in that crowded room in California agreed: This is not intended to be used as comparative metric across sites (as every situation is different) but it would be an […]

Humidity and COVID-19 in data centers

Data center managers have gone to some lengths to avoid transmission of the COVID-19 virus in their facilities. Fortunately, many factors help keep transmission rates low in data centers: few staff are required; most jobs do not require close physical interaction with colleagues; and air filtration may help to reduce, if not necessarily eliminate, airborne […]

Cleaning a data center: Contractors vs. DIY

Modern data centers are rarely dirty places, but even so, most are a lot cleaner now than they were before COVID-19 became a concern. A recent Uptime Institute survey, conducted in response to the pandemic, found that about two-thirds (68%) of data center owners/operators recently deep cleaned their facilities, and more than 80% recently sanitized […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Data Center Maturity Model

The Evolving Data Center Management Maturity Model, A Quick Update

Uptime Institute has long argued that, although it may take many years, the long-term trend is toward a high level of automation in the data center, covering many functions that most managers currently would not trust to machines or outside programmers. Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have made this seem more likely. (For more […]

Data Center Infrastructure Management DCIM

DCIM as a Hub: Integrations Make all the difference

Today, the role that the physical data center plays in software-defined data centers, particularly facility design and operational management, is often overlooked. However, this is likely to change. As more networking and compute becomes virtualized and flexible, so too must data center resources, in order to achieve maximum agility and efficiency. To virtualize only IT […]

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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

Recover heat, re-charge power

Recently I attended the Data Center Dynamics (DCD) Smart Energy conference in Stockholm. During a panel discussion on energy, data centers and innovation, David Hall (Senior Director of Technology Innovation for Equinix) made two observations, almost in passing, about metrics and monitoring. Both were intriguing and, to my ears, suggested that operators’ thinking about sustainability […]

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 […]

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 […]

“Ask the Expert”: Data Center Management Q&A with Uptime Institute CTO, Chris Brown

On April 24th, Uptime Institute CTO, Chris Brown, participated in an “Ask the Expert” session on Data Center Infrastructure Management with BrightTALK senior content manager Kelly Harris. The 45-minute session covered topics ranging from best practices of a well-run data center to a list of the most common data center issues Uptime Institute’s global consultant […]

Fire Suppression Systems Bring Unexpected Risk

Hazards include server damage from loud noise during discharge of inert gas fire suppression systems By Kevin Heslin, with contributions from Scott Good and Pitt Turner A downtime incident in Europe has rekindled interest in a topic that never seems more than a spark away from becoming a heated discussion. In that incident, the accidental […]

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 […]

Reconsider Your Diesel Fuel Supply

New diesel formulations put your generators at risk By Bernard Oegema, Pat Smyth, Brian Ponstein, William “Bill” Klein, and Martin Wesolowski The increased use of biodiesel has increased the risk to the diesel infrastructure of data centers and other facilities first noted with the adoption of ultralow sulfur diesel (ULSD) in 2006. The U.S. Environmental […]

ENTEL Achieves Uptime Institute Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability

Tier Certification of Operational Sustainability enhances ENTEL’s services to customers By Kevin Heslin ENTEL began operations in 1964 as a provider of national and international long distance telephone services to companies in Chile. Today it is a consolidated provider of integrated telecommunication services and information technologies services, meeting the needs of corporations and large companies […]

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 […]

Bulky Binders and Operations “Experts” Put Your Data Center at Risk

Wearable technology and digitized operating procedures ensure compliance with standardized practices and provide quick access to critical information By Jose Ruiz No one in the data center industry questions that data center outages are extremely costly. Numerous vendors report that the average data center outage costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, with losses in some […]

If You Can’t Buy Effective DCIM, Build It

After commercial DCIM offerings failed to meet RELX Group’s requirements, the team built its own DCIM tool based on the existing IT Services Management Suite By Stephanie Singer What is DCIM? Most people might respond “data center infrastructure management.” However, simply defining the acronym is not enough. The meaning of DCIM is greatly different for […]

Open19 is About Improving Hardware Choices, Standardizing Deployment

In July 2016, Yuval Bachar, principal engineer, Global Infrastructure Architecture and Strategy at LinkedIn announced Open19, a project spearheaded by the social networking service to develop a new specification for server hardware based on a common form factor. The project aims to standardize the physical characteristics of IT equipment, with the goal of cutting costs […]

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, […]

Saudi Aramco’s Cold Aisle Containment Saves Energy

Oil exploration and drilling require HPC By Issa A. Riyani and Nacianceno L. Mendoza Saudi Aramco’s Exploration and Petroleum Engineering Computer Center (ECC) is a three-story data center built in 1982. It is located in Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It provides computing capability to the company’s geologists, geophysicists, and petroleum engineers to enable them […]

Data-Driven Approach to Reduce Failures

Operations teams use the Uptime Institute Network’s Abnormal Incident Reports (AIRs) database to enrich site knowledge, enhance preventative maintenance, and improve preparedness By Ron Davis The AIRs system is one of the most valuable resources available to Uptime Institute Network members. It comprises more than 5,000 data center incidents and errors spanning two decades of […]

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 […]

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 […]

Avoid Failure and Delay on Capital Projects: Lessons from Tier Certification

How insights from Tier Certification of Constructed Facilities avoids unforeseen costs and errors for all new projects By Kevin Heslin Uptime Institute’s Tier Classification System has been a part of the data center industry lexicon for 20 years. Since its creation in the mid-1990s, the system has evolved into the global standard for third-party validation […]

Achieving Uptime Institute Tier III Gold Certification of Operational Sustainability

Vantage Data Centers certifies design, facility, and operational sustainability at its Quincy, WA site By Mark Johnson In February 2015, Vantage Data Centers earned Tier III Gold Certification of Operational Sustainability (TCOS) from Uptime Institute for its first build at its 68-acre Quincy, WA campus. This project is a bespoke design for a customer that […]

Arc Flash Mitigation in the Data Center

Meeting OSHA and NFPA 70E arc flash safety requirements while balancing prevention and production demands By Ed Rafter Uninterruptible uptime, 24 x 7, zero downtime…these are some of the terms that characterize data center business goals for IT clients. Given these demands, facility managers and technicians in the industry are skilled at managing the infrastructure that supports […]

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 […]

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 […]

Retainers Improve the Effectiveness of IEC Plugs

These small devices prevent accidental disconnection of mission critical gear By Scott Good Today IEC plugs are used at the rack-level PDU and the IT device. IEC plugs backing out of sockets create a significant concern, since these plugs feed UPS power to the device.  In the past, twist-lock cord caps were used, but these did […]

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 […]

The Making of a Good Method of Procedure

Good MOPs (method of procedure) help humans manage the complexity inherent in data centers By Alfonso Aranda with Lee Kirby Data centers are complex techno–human systems. The number of interrelated and interdependent elements (including the human element) that interact in the normal operation of a data center and the large number of interactions that take […]

Sun Life Plots Data Center Facilities and Operations Roadmap to Meet Application Demands

An imminent return of service causes a top-to-bottom examination of data center facilities and operations By Rocco Alonzi and Paolo Piro When Sun Life Financial completed a return of service for its data center operations in 2011, the Enterprise Infrastructure (IE) and Corporate Real Estate (CRE) teams immediately saw an opportunity to improve service stability, […]

Digital Realty Deploys Comprehensive DCIM Solution

Examining the scope of the challenge By David Schirmacher Digital Realty’s 127 properties cover around 24 million square feet of mission-critical data center space in over 30 markets across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and it continues to grow and expand its data center footprint. As senior VP of operations, it’s my job to […]

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 […]

McKesson Retrofits Economizers in Live DC Environment

Pharmaceutical installs economizers in a live site to improve energy efficiency By Wayne Everett, Dean Scharffenberg, and Coleman Jones McKesson Corporation, the oldest and largest health-care services company in the United States, plays an integral role in meeting the nation’s health-care needs. McKesson is the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America, delivering one-third of all […]

Avoid Target Fixation in the Data Center

Removing heat is more effective than adding cooling By Steve Press, with Pitt Turner, IV According to Wikipedia, the term target fixation was used in World War II fighter-bomber pilot training to describe why pilots would sometimes fly into targets during a strafing or bombing run. Since then, others have adopted the term. The phenomenon […]

Data Center Outages, Incidents, and Industry Transparency

The lack of transparency can be seen as a root cause of outages and incidents By Jason Weckworth I recently began a keynote speech at Uptime Institute Symposium 2013 by making a bold statement. As data center operators, we simply don’t share enough of our critical facilities incidents with each other. Yet Uptime Institute maintains […]

New System Combats Data Center PQ Concerns

Using relevant technologies and techniques to develop an optimized system for addressing data center PQ concerns By Kuochuan Chu For years, engineers and data centers operators have implemented various strategies to improve power quality in mission-critical facilities. We have found, however, that good power quality requires a solid grounding system. By efficiently utilizing the essential […]

Solving Air Contaminant Problems in Data Centers

RoHS-compliant products exacerbate the problem By Christopher Muller, Dr. Prabjit Singh, G. Henry White, and Paul Finch End users have worried about the reliability of electronic gear almost since the introduction of the circuit board. Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), or lead-free, manufacturing regulations for electronic equipment that went into effect in 2006 only served […]

Dual-Corded-Power

Dual-Corded Power and Fault Tolerance: Past, Present, and Future

Details of dual-corded power change, but the theme remains the same. Uptime Institute has worked with owners and operators of data centers since the early 1990s. At the time, data center owners used single-corded IT devices for even their most critical IT assets. Figure 1 shows a selection of the many potential sources of outage […]

Putting DCIM to Work for You

At Symposium 2013, Erik Ko of Twitter, Hewlett-Packard’s Ken Jackson, and James Pryor of Regions Bank discussed the experience of selecting and implementing DCIM solutions from the end user perspective. The panel was moderated by Uptime Institute’s Kevin Heslin. Earlier that week, Symposium 2013 attendees heard presentations that focused on the potential for DCIM and […]

Uptime Institute Network Activities Around the Globe

No longer “the best kept secret” the Uptime Institute Network has gone international These interviews with Uptime Institute Network directors Rob Costa, Sylvie Le Roy, and Mozart Mello highlight the qualifications of the Uptime Institute staff working with Network members across the globe and also portray the opportunities for growth and need for the Network […]

hurricane-sandy-data-centers

Lessons Learned From Superstorm Sandy

An Uptime Institute survey reveals that best practices and preparation pay dividends In late October 2012, Superstorm Sandy tore through the Caribbean and up the east coast of the U.S., killing over a hundred, leaving millions without power and causing billions of dollars in damage. In the aftermath of the storm, Uptime Institute surveyed data […]

coolingbestpractices

Implementing Data Center Cooling Best Practices

Step-by-step guide to data center cooling best practices will help data center managers take greater advantage of the energy savings opportunities available while providing improved cooling of IT systems The nature of data center temperature management underwent a dramatic evolution when American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) adopted new operating temperature guidelines. […]

Code mandates for data center operations

Data center operations and management are increasingly the target of codes that impact safety, communications, and economic systems. Going well beyond the guidelines laid out by NFPA 75 and 76, the new 2011 National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) actually provides for regulatory oversight of mission-critical facility management. This video will provide a history of codes […]

Server Decommissioning as a Discipline: Paul Nally, Barclays

In 2013, Barclays removed 9,124 physical servers from its data centers globally, winning Uptime Institute’s Server Roundup competition for the second year running. This effort is part of a server footprint reduction across the entire company. The organization reaped significant cost benefits, but this project has also reduced risk and complexity, providing Barclays’ internal IT […]

Diesel exhaust after treatment for data centers

Cleaning up your act: A guide to exhaust standards By Lamont Fortune, PE, United Health Group Are your diesel generators used strictly for emergency or non-emergency purposes? Your answer to this question will tell you just how clean your diesel exhaust has to be by 2015 (and as early as 2014) as far as the […]

How business practices can impair data center availability

Don’t pit man against machine By Charles Selkirk, ATD While data centers in Southern Africa utilize world-class designs and construction techniques, ongoing operational sustainability models struggle to attract and retain sufficient qualified and motivated personnel, in part due to the lack of recognition of the importance of their work (unless something goes wrong!). The Uptime […]

Documenting Underfloor Conditions in an Operational Data Center

Excel is the basis of a surprisingly simple visual tool to document underfloor conditions By Chad Beery, ATD Engineers regularly employ pictures and drawings to communicate design ideas. They sketch on whiteboards during a meeting, talk with their hands and sometimes even sketch on the back of napkins. In fact, the deliverables produced by design […]