Today’s data centers are under increasing pressure to do more with less. Reliance on information technology continues to grow, while budgets and IT staff shrink. As capacity demands and data center changes intensify, it’s increasingly difficult to ensure that the proper infrastructure support is in place to achieve business goals, whether they be IT expansion, updated server installation, IP telephony implementation, consolidation or virtualization

Data Center outages can be detrimental to businesses – according to a recent IDC report, 50 percent of businesses never recover after an outage and 90 percent go out of business within two years. When you look at the average cost of downtime per hour in various industries, this is not too surprising.

Many businesses do not understand the need for a solid data center infrastructure until they have experienced an outage. Lack of awareness and understanding is highest with small businesses. According to an Emerson Network Power survey, only 39 percent of small businesses have backup power systems. Contrast that with the knowledge that 79 percent of businesses had at least one power failure during 2007 and 29 percent (one in four) had three or more outages. Forty-two percent of those companies didn’t have an adequate backup power infrastructure and had to close their business as the result of an outage.

The total cost of downtime resulting from an outage can come from surprising places. Total downtime costs are derived from employee productivity, business losses (both current and future sales), recovery costs and indirect costs, such as missing ship dates or frustrated customers from not being able to access information off a downed website. Lost future repeat business is an especially tricky metric to measure, but can have a large impact. Some estimate that it can cost up to 10 times more to get a new customer than to retain a current one.
In addition to downtime, a variety of other data center pressures are weighing on the minds of today’s data center, IT and facilities managers. Heat density continues to top the list of concerns along with power densities and maintaining availability. Energy efficiency is a growing concern and area of focus for businesses of all sizes as potential government regulation and increasing energy costs are brought into the media spotlight.

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