Five Predictions: 9 of 10 Companies Face Failures

We continue with our recap of the Five Bold Predictions session from AFCOM’s recent Data Center World conference:

3. Over the next five years, power failures and limits on power availability will halt data center operations at more than 90% of all companies. It’s a fact of life: Outages happen. If you’ve dodged the bullet thus far, you’re part of a fortunate minority. A recent AFCOM survey found that 81 percent of respondent had experienced a failure in the past five years, and 20 percent had been hit with at least five failures. Of those outages, more than 80 percent were due to either external or internal power failures.

Growing demand for power is also stressing the national power grid, as evidenced by the August 2003 regional outage. The Department of Energy says a repeat remains possible within the next five years.

“Failure is inevitable. Fail small,” said Richard Sawyer, Director of Data Center Technology for American Power Conversion, who discussed the finding on behalf of the Data Center Institute. “If you’re going to fail, limit the liability of that failure.” Enhancing redundancy in power and cooling systems is one way to prepare for failures. Sawyer also discussed “zoned availability” and the use of rack-based uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units as well as a central UPS system.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.