Data centres and natural disasters: a survey report looks at data centre risks in the UK, Germany and Turkey

Published: Thursday, 18 June 2015 07:45

Independent research commissioned by Zenium Technology Partners has indicated that 50 percent of organizations are not operating a data centre / center environment that could withstand, or continue to operate after, a natural disaster. This lack of perceived preparedness is in spite of 45 percent of respondents stating that their data centre is flood resistant, 43 percent confirming facilities are earthquake resistant and 60 percent declaring their data centre is located in an area away from physical or environmental hazards.

The report, ‘Managing Growth, Risk and the Cloud’, found that in the last ten years, one in two companies questioned has experienced disruption to their data centre operation due to natural disasters. On average, respondents experienced five such incidents in total, which amounts to one every other year. Of the territories included in the survey, Turkey has experienced the greatest number of incidents (65 percent) but the report also pointed to high figures in the UK at 45 percent and Germany at 39 percent.

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

Twice as many of those that outsource (58 percent) have experienced disruption caused by a natural disaster in the last ten years, compared with those that do not outsource (25 percent).

“I’m astounded by these figures but this could well be because companies have not chosen well when it comes to the data centre operator they selected as an outsourcing partner,” said Franek Sodzawiczny, CEO & Founder of Zenium Technology Partners. “Natural disasters are rightly top of the data centre 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 centre should not be underestimated,” he added. “The data centre supports mission critical services and downtime is not only disastrous, but astronomically expensive, in today’s 24x7 business environment.

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

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

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

“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 centre operator,” suggested Sodzawiczny. “The report found that 83 percent of respondents believe they will have to lease more data centre space from domestic providers as a result of the EU Data Protection Directive so making the right decisions about the data centre will continue to be about ‘location, location, location’ in the long term.”

The survey for the report 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 centres from an operational and / or strategic perspective.

www.zeniumdatacenters.com