Data centre power outages cost more than $8,800 per minute on average

Highlighting the impact of power outages, the average total cost per minute of an unplanned data centre outage rose 57 percent over the last five years from more than $5,600 in 2010 to more than $8,800 in 2015.

These are some of the findings of the Blackout Tracker Annual Report from Eaton, a company that offers a portfolio of data centre products that store, cool, power, manage and secure mission-critical data centre technology.

A total of 346 power outages affected more than 2.4 million people and businesses across Canada over the past year.

Some notable ones in 2015 included a summer windstorm that disconnected power in Vancouver on Aug. 29. Montreal fared worse with a transmission line failure that left 277,000 without power on Jan. 13, freezing rain that disconnected 150,000 customers on Jan. 4, and winds on Dec. 24 that left some 148,000 customers without power on Christmas Eve and part of Christmas Day.


Some of the more unusual outages included trumpeter swans in Meadowood, B.C., causing three power outages in less than a week, and a garbage truck in Regina, Sask., accidentally pulling down a
guy wire in a back alley, causing a widespread outage.

This all serves to outline the unreliability of the power grid, and the significance of having reliable backup power.

With the average blackout in Canada last year lasting 83 minutes, Eaton suggests that few businesses can be powerless for that time without losing money. The company recommends using uninterruptible power systems (UPSs) and generators are designed to reliably deliver power during outages. It also has software and monitoring services designed to protect against outages.

“While productivity and monetary loss to an organization can be extensive and far-reaching regardless of the size of the operation, with proper planning, you can avoid these potentially devastating consequences,” said Umesh Patel, Managing Director of Eaton Canada. This planning could save a company from disupted IT operations, damages to equipment and costly data losses.

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