Most Common Causes of Data Center Outages; Biggest Risk May Be Human Error by Data Center Operators

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Data Centers can be a building or a group of buildings where multiple computer systems and telecommunications systems are used to store and transfer data over the Internet or over Virtual Private Networks. There are data centers for company use only, and public data centers maintained by companies, such as Apple, Facebook, Google, and Netflix that provide data services to customers. Cyber threats, fires, weather conditions, and more pose a threat to data centers.

Data centers are a vital component of business all around the world, given how much we rely on technology for daily operations. However, data centers aren’t impenetrable; they have several points of vulnerability that are useful to know. That is why it’s important to have a knowledgeable team responsible for protecting these vulnerabilities. Learn all about the most common causes of data center outages below.

UPS System Failure

The UPS system stands for Uninterruptible Power Supply, an essential component for backup power in data centers. UPS system failure is one of the most common causes of data center outages and can be detrimental to functionality within the entire data center. To prevent UPS system failure, keeping up with battery maintenance is the key.


One common threat category to businesses everywhere is the various forms of cyberattacks. Data centers are no different when it comes to cybersecurity; these attacks can cause significant outages. One method data centers use to try to prevent such attacks is the implementation of Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS) security solutions, blended ISP connections, data analytics, and other tactics.

Human Error

Since robots aren’t taking over data centers yet, human error is another cause for outages — and may account for up to 70 percent of data center downtime. Something as simple as accidental activating of Emergency Off Buttons can be prevented by shielding. Preventing short circuits from accidental food and drink spills is another safeguard. Clear and simplified documentation that is consistent across different procedures, when possible, is also an important safeguard. Mistakes happen, but that is why data center departments need to simplify procedures, and emphasize training sessions with feedback from operators. Data Centers that design and build safeguards that make processes easy to understand, and prevent inadvertent detrimental actions with sufficient training, monitoring, and design changes will minimize the human errors that are known to cause downtime.

Poor Airflow

The rooms that house data centers often maintain cold temperatures to ensure that systems run effectively. When there is too much heat, that is where issues can arise. That is why airflow management solutions, such as having hot and cold aisles and organized server racks, are vital to a data center’s performance.

Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can also cause data center outages. The type of natural disasters can vary based on your data center’s location, but backup generators can save you a lot of headaches. However, generators are also known to fail, so ensure that it works when needed, by performing regular maintenance and tests.

In addition to proper training, maintenance, inspections, it is important to develop an incident log, which can be used to produce an online help resource and operating manual resource for data center operators.



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