Is Data Centre Downtime Going To Affect You?

Is Data Centre Downtime Going To Affect You?

Picture the scene. You’re countless hours into a raid on your favourite MMO. You’re about to reach the climax, your comrades surrounding you, your enemies lapping at your heels, the spoils of victory ahead. Then, moments before your hard fought goal can be reached, the game cuts to black. The server has cut out and all of your data and progress has been lost. This is just one of many of the potential results of data centre downtime and the majority of implications will generally be far more severe than a few hours of wasted ‘grinding’.


Throughout the 21st century, we have become more and more dependent on the internet, in fact it is estimated that the average consumer spends at least 3 hours a day online and this is a figure which is expected to increase in the coming years. With our lives so inexorably linked to the online world of course, any downtime in the data centres and servers that run and govern the internet could prove to be disastrous, especially for companies who rely on the internet for their business practices.


It is estimated that the loss per hour if every data centre in the world were to collapse at the same time (at last count there were over 500,00 currently operating globally) would be around 69 TRILLION dollars (or… for arguments sake around 43 trillion pounds and 51 trillion euros). That’s more than the combined cross domestic products of both Kenya and Latvia. To put into a real world context just how vital data centres are to our modern way of life, let’s take the example of online retail giant ‘Google’. Google recently suffered a 5 minute outage that resulted in a cost of over half a million dollars and a 40% decrease in internet traffic worldwide- a frighteningly astonishing figure.

Natural causes

Although dedicated I.T professionals the world over are on a perpetual mission to improve data centre reliability, downtime is unfortunately something that we might just learn to have to live with as some of the major causes of data centre downtime just can’t be controlled. Natural disasters, rogue squirrels (who account for an unbelievable 17% of all minor level communications cable damage) and of course, good old fashioned human error, are variables that are simply unforeseeable and unavoidable. For example, in 2010 is was reported that at one of Google’s data centres in Oregon, hunters had been shooting down many of the aerial fibre cables that linked the centre to the rest of the internet. It is also thought that cyber terrorism is responsible for a surprisingly significant amount of data centre downtime. Amazon (perhaps the internet’s largest online retailer with many of its own expensive data centres) recently suffered an attack by the infamous hacking group ‘Anonymous’ for example, which forced the site to completely ‘shut up shop’ for an uncomfortable amount of time. would like to direct your attention to the info graphic below for more information.

About the Author

Sam Mulder is a freelance copywriter living in the UK who has experienced more than his fair share on internet downtime!.


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