Data Center Industry on the Rise Despite Outages, Sustainability Challenges


The data center industry is struggling to contain the impact of outages and supply chain disruptions even though the frequency of outages has reduced markedly since 2020, a new survey has revealed.

In its new data center industry report, New York based Uptime Institute revealed the data center industry’s soaring growth in the face of increasing challenges ranging from sustainability to outage issues and supply chain disruptions.

The 11th Annual Global Data Center Survey reportOpens a new window described the absence of tracking critical sustainability metrics amongst data center industry operators. This coincides with increasing pressure faced by the industry to minimize power usage. 

Andy LawrenceOpens a new window , executive director of research at Uptime Institute, said, “The 2021 survey results highlight continued growth within the sector and the many complex challenges data center owners and operators are facing today.

“The stakes have never been higher when it comes to outage prevention, environmental sustainability and overall performance. That’s why organizations must continue to carefully reassess their mission-critical digital infrastructure and operations to minimize service delivery risk and maximize resiliency.”

Learn More: Want To Achieve Five Nines Uptime? 2 Keys To Maximize Data Center Performance 

The Key Challenges – Sustainability, Skills, and Supply Chain Disruptions

The key decision-makers in the data center industry have expressed concerns about environmental sustainability of data centers and have promised to revise their approaches. However, the report reveals that despite a global push, the data center operators’ efforts to lower their carbon footprint are ineffectual. There is a lack of close tracking. Even though a vast majority of data center operators are tracking PUE and measuring power consumption rates, a large number of them are not prioritizing vital metrics for improving and reporting sustainability.

The data center industry is also facing a shortage of skilled staff. Almost half of the owners and operators, who were surveyed, admitted that finding skilled candidates is an uphill task. The percentage of such owners was just 38% in 2018. 

Surprisingly, AI is nowhere close to taking over the dependency soon. While three out of four data center owners believed that AI would reduce their dependence on staff, they also admitted that it will take a few more years for them to fully realize the potential of AI.

Over the past few years, Covid-19, political, and climatic factors have caused major supply chain disruptions. Data center suppliers expect problems arising in the supply of data center products to continue over the next few years. This will eventually impact the capital expenditure projects or IT equipment availability. More than 75% of the operators also think that the supply chain disruptions will continue.

Learn More: Big Cloud, Small Data Centers: Meeting the Network Resilience Needs of 2021 

Other Challenges – Outages & Disruptors

There is a decline in outages, but the consequences of individual incidents are now much more pronounced. About 69% of the respondents reported fewer outages in comparison to the 78% last year. Even though the frequency of outages went down, half of them created grave operational, financial, and reputational issues. The report further said that 62% of the outages were labeled as significant, serious, or inflicted costs of more than $100,000 on data centers, increasing from 56% in 2020. Around 15% of outages have cost over $1 million.  

The applications based on cloud or public internet garnered much attention by taking off the workload from traditional data centers. Data center suppliers anticipate the large cloud and internet companies to restructure the supply chain algorithm. About a third of suppliers are sure of their customers owning data centers of 20 MW or more in less than five years. Also, more than half of the suppliers have complained of delivery challenges to large customers regarding timelines, budgets, and scales. They also believe that data center operators will take greater control over their custom designs in the future and may create their supply chains, bypassing traditional equipment sourcing.

Let us know if you enjoyed reading this news on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!