Operations


Colocation and public cloud growth masks enterprise expansion

Colocation and public cloud growth masks enterprise expansion

The colocation and public cloud sectors of the digital infrastructure industry continue to make headlines, with many organizations planning large-scale capacity expansion to meet rising demand. However, there is also a less public expansion underway — enterprises operators, for the third successive year, say they are going to invest in more data center capacity in […]

Long shifts in data centers — time to reconsider?

Long shifts in data centers — time to reconsider?

Human error has been — and remains to be — a major cause of outages in data centers. Uptime Intelligence’s research shows that about four in 10 operators have had a major outage in the past three years in which human error played a role (Annual outage analysis 2023). Half of these respondents said errors […]

What does embedded carbon of IT really represent?

What does embedded carbon of IT really represent?

Due to regulatory mandates and expanded stakeholder expectations, a growing share of operators are quantifying and publicly reporting a complete carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions inventory for their data center infrastructure. An organization’s direct on-site emissions (classified as Scope 1 according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol) and emissions from purchased energy sources (classified as Scope […]

DLC will not come to the rescue of data center sustainability

DLC will not come to the rescue of data center sustainability

A growing number of data center operators and equipment vendors are anticipating the proliferation of direct liquid cooling systems (DLC) over the next few years. As far as projections go, Uptime Institute’s surveys agree: the industry consensus for the mainstream adoption of liquid-cooled IT converges on the latter half of the 2020s. DLC systems, such […]

US mandates crypto energy reporting: will data centers be next?

US mandates crypto energy reporting: will data centers be next?

Rising concerns about cryptocurrency mining energy use have led the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) to launch a six-month emergency data reporting mandate (on January 26, 2024) to obtain information from 82 cryptocurrency mining companies. The emergency order which was approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requires cryptocurrency miners to provide information […]

Performance expectations of liquid cooling need a reality check

Performance expectations of liquid cooling need a reality check

The idea of using liquids to cool IT hardware, exemplified by technologies such as cold plates and immersion cooling, is frequently hailed as the ultimate solution to the data center’s energy efficiency and sustainability challenges. If a data center replaces air cooling with direct liquid cooling (DLC), chilled water systems can operate at higher supply […]

FinOps gives hope to those struggling with cloud costs

FinOps gives hope to those struggling with cloud costs

Cloud workloads are continuing to grow — sometimes adding to traditional on-premises workloads, sometimes replacing them. The Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey 2023 shows that organizations expect the public cloud to account for 15% of their workloads by 2025. When private cloud hosting and software as a service (SaaS) are included, this share rises […]

The majority of enterprise IT is now off-premises

The majority of enterprise IT is now off-premises

Corporate data centers have been the backbone of enterprise IT since the 1960s and continue to play an essential role in supporting critical business and financial functions for much of the global economy. Yet, while their importance remains, their prominence as part of an enterprise’s digital infrastructure appears to be fading. Today, businesses have more […]

Large data centers are mostly more efficient, analysis confirms

Large data centers are mostly more efficient, analysis confirms

Uptime Institute calculates an industry average power usage effectiveness (PUE), which is a ratio of total site power to IT power, each year using data from the Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey. This PUE data is pulled from a large sample over the course of 15 years and provides a reliable view of progress […]

When net-zero goals meet harsh realities

When net-zero goals meet harsh realities

For more than a decade, the data center industry — and the wider digital infrastructure that relies on it — has lived with the threat of much greater sustainability legislation or other forms of mandatory or semi-mandatory controls. But in a period of boom, it has mostly been a background worry, with legislators more concerned […]

What role might generative AI play in the data center?

What role might generative AI play in the data center?

This is the first in a series of reports on artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on the data center sector.

Looking for the x-factor in data center efficiency

Looking for the x-factor in data center efficiency

The suitability of a data center environment is primarily judged by its effect on the long-term health of IT hardware. Facility operators define their temperature and humidity set points with a view to balancing hardware failure rates against the associated capital and operational expenditures, with the former historically prioritized. Over the past decade, this balance […]

Global PUEs — are they going anywhere?

Global PUEs — are they going anywhere?

Regular readers of Uptime Institute’s annual data center survey, the longest running of its kind, already know that the industry average power usage effectiveness (PUE, a ratio of total site power and IT power) has trended sideways in recent years. Since 2020, it has been stuck in the 1.55 to 1.59 band. Even going back […]

Emerging regulatory requirements: tactics for riding the tsunami

Emerging regulatory requirements: tactics for riding the tsunami

Over the past 12 months, Uptime Institute Intelligence has been closely following regulatory developments in the area of sustainability. These include mandates based on the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure standard, such as the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and the UK’s Climate-related Financial Disclosure Regulations, and the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive. These legal […]

Data centers are short-staffed boys’ clubs

Data centers are short-staffed boys’ clubs

Two persistent trends in data center staffing are in apparent tension. The 2023 Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey confirmed, once again, that operations teams are struggling to attract and retain qualified staff. The severity of this shortage should justify aggressive hiring from all available labor sources — yet data centers still employ shockingly few […]

Consensus on regulatory goals hides national differences

Consensus on regulatory goals hides national differences

In recent reports, Uptime Institute Intelligence has warned that a wave of resiliency, security and sustainability legislation is making its way toward the statute books. Governments around the world — aware that digital infrastructure is increasingly critical to economic and national security (and consumes a lot of power) — have decided the sector cannot be […]

Regulations drive investments in cybersecurity and efficiency

Regulations drive investments in cybersecurity and efficiency

Legislative requirements for data center resiliency, operational transparency and energy performance are tightening worldwide — putting data centers under greater regulatory scrutiny. In response, organizations are either starting or stepping up their efforts to achieve compliance in these areas, and findings from the Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey 2023 reveal that most are prioritizing […]

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 […]

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]