Research reveals data center sector still rocked by natural disasters

Independent research commissioned by Zenium Technology Partners has indicated that 1 in 2 organisations are not operating a data center environment that could withstand, or continue to operate after, a natural disaster.

This lack of perceived preparedness is in spite of 45% of respondents stating that their data center is flood resistant, 43% confirming facilities are earthquake resistant and 60% declaring their data center is located in an area away from physical or environmental hazards.

The report – “Managing Growth, Risk and the Cloud” – found that in the last 10 years, 1 in 2 companies (50%) questioned has experienced disruption to their data center operation due to seismic activity or other natural disasters. On average, respondents experienced 5 such incidents in total, which amounts to 1 every other year. Unsurprisingly, of the territories included in the survey, Turkey has experienced the greatest number of incidents (65%) but the report also pointed to high figures in the UK at 45% and Germany at 39%.

Of those that have experienced disruptions, 91% incurred expense to the business each time, with the maximum cited as £500,000. Surprisingly, 34% of CIO/VP/director-level respondents did not know what the ‘exact’ cost was, and were only able to say that ‘some’ loss was incurred.

Perhaps more shocking is that twice as many of those that outsource – 58% – have experienced disruption caused by a natural disaster in the last 10 years, compared with those that do not outsource (25%).

“I’m astounded by these figures but this could well be because companies have not chosen well when it comes to the data center operator they selected as an outsourcing partner,” said Franek Sodzawiczny, CEO & Founder of Zenium Technology Partners. “Natural disasters are rightly top of the data center business agenda and I believe that outsourcing continues to offer a viable risk-reduction strategy.

“Discussions around scalability, connectivity and cost are of course important when selecting an outsourcing partner but this research demonstrates quite clearly that the location of the data center should not be underestimated,” he added. “The data center supports mission critical services and downtime is not only disastrous, but astronomically expensive, in today’s 24×7 business environment.

No matter what SLA’s a company has in place, it all becomes immediately irrelevant if the data center building is inaccessible, damaged or worse, destroyed.”

Interestingly 64% of those that already outsource some data center operations are considering outsourcing more to further reduce exposure to natural disasters and 36% of those that do not outsource are also considering taking this same route.

It is also worth noting that 88% of those considering outsourcing to reduce risk would still prefer to host data within national borders and, interestingly, more IT professionals in the UK (86%) and Turkey (87%) feel this way, compared to Germany (75%).

“I think it’s fair to say that it is highly likely that the demand for robust and resilient space to combat natural disasters will grow alongside an increasing preference to partner with a local data center operator,” suggested Sodzawiczny. “The report found that 83% of respondents believe they will have to lease more data center space from domestic providers as a result of the EU Data Protection Directive so making the right decisions about the data center will continue to be about ‘location, location, location’ in the long term.”

About the Research:
The survey was conducted by Dynamic Markets and a total of 301 interviews were collected in the UK, Germany and Turkey with senior IT professionals across a wide variety of industry sectors and in large organisations with 250 or more employees. All respondents confirmed prior to interview that they were an IT professional with responsibility for the company’s data centers from an operational and / or strategic perspective.



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