The Costs of Unplanned Data Center Downtime

November 13, 2020

Downtime is perhaps the most challenging threat to data centers and the IT infrastructure. Data center operators have many responsibilities to safeguard the network, but is it possible to prevent all potential issues?

What Is Unplanned Downtime?

Unplanned data center downtime is a temporary interruption caused by network errors, crashes or equipment failures. It can disrupt business activity and mission-critical operations, resulting in loss of revenue. In fact, Gartner’s average of $5,600 lost per minute from downtime is a conservative estimate in the industry today.

Downtime is an event that ruins workplace productivity. When a server or application is temporarily unavailable, it takes workers and IT professionals time to find and diagnose the problem and implement a fix. In some situations, it requires waiting for a service to come back online.

It’s important to make the distinction that zero unplanned downtime is unachievable in the long run. But every organization should strive to limit downtime as much as possible.

Sources of Unplanned Downtime

Some of the most costly sources of service interruption include:

Power Failures

UPS system failure accounts for a significant portion of unplanned downtime. In rarer cases, downtime occurs when a generator fails because of a lack of redundancy testing and preventative maintenance.

Human Error

One typo, misconfigured setting or overlooked protocol by an administrator or employee is all it takes for a performance error to arise. All staff members who work on the IT system should receive consistent training.


Malicious actions against the network like DDoS attacks and malware intrusions can cripple digital activities and even damage a brand’s reputation with its customers. Backups and security patching are critical investments in an age of frequent breaches.

Cloud Service Interruptions

Cloud vendors and service providers may experience some of the same issues above, leaving the organizations that utilize the software, applications or data to deal with a temporary outage.

How Can Scheduled Maintenance Prevent Unplanned Downtime?

Since UPS system issues are the most common cause of unplanned shutdowns, keeping a scheduled maintenance plan for your primary and backup power sources is key. Batteries should be inspected closely and the environment monitored for excess dust and heat that contribute to degradation.

Automatic security management can mitigate the risk of cybercrime by automatically implementing patches and detecting attacks preemptively. While extreme weather events are unpredictable, their impacts can be reduced with disaster recovery and contingency planning, like the use of well-maintained diesel generators.

Contact DataSpan Today

Partnering with an experienced solutions provider like DataSpan can help you achieve the most reliable performance from your data center when designing, expanding or refining your systems. Our professionals are dedicated to minimizing your annual downtime and understand how to implement individualized solutions for highly efficient data center operations.

Contact us online or locate a DataSpan representative to learn how our products and services can keep your organization productive and profitable.