6 Trends Related to Data Centers “The Downtime Problem and the Job Crisis Still Severe”

Data centers are striving to improve the resilience of their physical infrastructure, avoid costly outages, and hire skilled workers in a fierce job market. However, despite imminent sustainability requirements, there are still many data centers that do not pay attention to key environmental indicators.

The 12th Uptime Institute surveys trends in capacity, technology adoption, and workforce recruitment in data centers around the world. Annual Worldwide Data Center Survey(Global Data Center Survey 2022) The key contents of the results are summarized into 6 categories.

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Longer server update cycles

According to Uptime, the life cycle of servers is getting longer, exceeding the three to five years recommended by solution vendors. In Uptime’s 2015 survey, 34% of respondents said that they had been operating a server for five years or more, but by 2022, that number has risen to 52%.

There are many reasons for a longer lifespan. A typical example is the supply and demand of semiconductors. “Small businesses with relatively low purchasing power are forced to postpone non-essential upgrades,” Uptime said, as parts shortages lead to higher prices and increased delays.

The slowdown in the level of improvement in the power efficiency of servers is also cited as the cause. In general, new IT hardware increases data center efficiencies, but Uptime said that these efficiencies are slowing. In the report, Uptime said, “In particular, in Intel-based servers, which account for the majority of the market, performance and energy improvements due to generation change are much lower than before. The provision of more efficient servers using alternative (AMD and ARM-based) processors remains limited.”


Data Center Outages Increase Costs

There are also some positive indicators of data center outages, but Uptime warns that there is room for misinterpretation of these indicators.

As a result of the survey, the number of interruptions per site as a whole is steadily improving. 60% of operators surveyed said they had experienced an outage in the last three years, down from 69% in 2021 and 78% in 2020. Another positive indicator is that the number of managers reporting severe data center outages has decreased. According to Uptime, in the past, outages considered severe were about 20% of all outages, but by 2022 that has dropped to 14%.

However, the number of outages worldwide is increasing every year, even as the rate of site and server outages decreases. This is because the rate of increase in the frequency of outages is slower than the rate of increase in data center facilities worldwide.

Metrics related to disruption are tricky to interpret, but one trend is clear, according to Uptime. That is, the cost of interruption increases. In particular, the number of interruptions that cost more than $1 million (about KRW 1.4 billion) is increasing.

When asked about the cost of their most recent outage, 25% of respondents said they had spent more than $1 million in direct and indirect costs. This is a significant increase from 15% in 2021. In the 2022 survey, 45% of respondents said the cost of their most recent outage was between $100,000 and $1 million, compared to 47% in 2021.

As Uptime asks, “Why are the costs of downtime increasing? Many factors can play a role, including inflation, fines, service-level contract breaches, labor costs, travel, and replacement parts, but the biggest culprit is the growing share of business activity that relies on digital services and data centers. Loss of critical IT services often leads to direct and indirect business disruptions and lost revenue.”


Biggest cause of outages, still power issues

According to Uptime, the number one cause of site outages is still on-site power issues. In the 2022 survey, 44% of respondents said electricity was the leading cause of their most recent major accident or interruption. The second culprit is network problems, chosen by 14% of respondents. Other causes include cooling failures (13%), problems with IT systems (13%), and problems with third-party vendors such as SaaS, hosting, or cloud service providers (8%).


Failed to backup apps to multi-cloud zone

Contrary results were also found in the cloud domain. First, there is growing confidence in enterprises using the cloud for their mission-critical workloads. In 2019, 74% of respondents said they would not handle mission-critical workloads in the public cloud, but by 2022 this number has dropped to 63%. The report also found that the proportion of respondents who said they had a good view of the resilience of services provided by public clouds increased from 14% to 21%.

“Businesses are growing more confident about using the cloud for their mission-critical workloads,” Uptime said. One of the reasons is the perception that the outlook on operational resilience has improved. However, there is also other data indicating that this belief among cloud users may be wrong.”

The problem is the availability domain. According to Uptime, availability zones typically have redundant power and networking. Cloud service providers recommend distributing workloads across multiple availability zones in case one zone experiences an outage. But looking at the data, few companies are doing it right.

When asked about the potential impact of a failure in one availability area at a primary cloud service provider, 35% of respondents said they would lead to significant performance issues or downtime, and 49% experienced minor performance issues or downtime. replied that he expected.

“These results represent a clear contradiction,” Uptime said. “Users are confident that the cloud can handle mission-critical workloads, but over a third of users design applications that are not prepared for the relatively common availability zone outages.”


Data center job vacancies getting worse

According to Uptime, as the number and size of data centers around the world continue to increase, the demand for manpower is also increasing, but supply is in short supply. Uptime estimates that global workforce requirements will grow from approximately 2 million full-time workers in 2019 to close to 2.3 million in 2025. Some of these data center jobs are new categories and require specialized skills.

“The workforce shortage is impacting virtually every data center job role around the world,” the report said. Mature data center markets such as North America and Western Europe are expected to experience shortfalls in both the number and experience, as most of the existing workforce is aging and many professionals are retiring at the same time. Recruitment efforts are often ineffective due to poor visibility of job seekers in this field. Efforts to strengthen talent supply by driving career transitions into the data center industry are still in their infancy.”

In the 2022 survey, 53% of data center operators said it was difficult to find qualified staff. This is higher than the 47% in 2021 and 38% in 2018. In addition, 42% of respondents said that they had problems with staff turnover, especially to competitors, up from 17% in 2018.


Lack of environmental data tracking

While most respondents report reporting overall data center power use and power use efficiency (PUE), many companies still do not track important environmental metrics. For example, most data center operators will soon be required to report carbon emissions, but many are not prepared to comply.

63% of survey respondents said they expect their local government agencies to make public reporting of environmental data mandatory within the next five years, but only 37% collect and report carbon emission data (33% in 2021) %) reported only 39% of water use (down from 51% in 2021).

Uptime points out that new laws, standards and requirements will force data center operators to fill in the gaps going forward and establish stricter sustainability tracking and reporting practices.

Meanwhile, this year’s Uptime survey included 800 data center owners and operators and included input from 700 data center providers, architects and advisors around the world.
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Source: ITWorld Korea by www.itworld.co.kr.

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