Data center downtime cost averages $7,900 a minute

Unplanned data center downtime cost healthcare organizations $627,418 per incident in 2013, according to a new survey from the Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network Power.

The increasing value of business operations supported by data centers is driving up the cost of downtime, says the report, which looked at an array of costs associated with an outage.

Across industries, unplanned downtime at a healthcare organization cost an average of $7,900 a minute per incident, up 41 percent from $5,600 per minute in 2010.

"With today's data centers providing more critical, interdependent devices and IT systems than ever before, the 41 percent increase in cost from 2010 was remarkably higher than expected," the report states.

Data-intensive industries such as e-commerce companies and financial institutions experienced the highest costs, though those less traditionally dependent on their data centers, such as hospitality, saw greater increases.

Among the findings:

  • The highest cost for a single event was more than $1.7 million.
  • The average reported incident length across industries was 86 minutes, resulting in average cost per incident of approximately $690,200. In 2010 it was 97 minutes at approximately $505,500.
  • Ninety-one percent of respondents said their organization had experienced an unplanned data center outage in the past 24 months, compared with 95 percent of respondents who said so in the 2010 study.

"As there is an increasing need for a growing number of companies and organizations to adapt to a more social, mobile and cloud-based model, the criticality of minimizing the risk of downtime and committing the necessary investments is greater than ever before," the report says.

A crash of Sutter Health's nearly $1 billion electronic health record system in August left its California hospitals and doctor's offices without access to patient records for a full day.

And back in April, Memorial Hospital of South Bend (Ind.) was forced to divert most emergency room patients to other hospitals during a four-and-a-half-hour outage of its EHR system.

To learn more:
- find the report