Data center outages are linked to supply chain shortages, according to the annual State of Data Center 2023 report from AFCOM.

supply chain
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AFCOM conducts market research in the IT and data center sectors by surveying their industry members.

The report found that 44 percent of data center operators surveyed suffered an outage because they couldn’t get the necessary parts, while 94 percent said they had faced supply chain issues of one kind or another.

According to Bill Kleyman, program chair for AFCOM, outages caused by supply chains have dramatically increased, with only 25 percent of companies reporting that issue last year.

The majority of issues were found in acquiring IT equipment such as servers and switches, accounting for 59 percent of respondents, while power systems including generators and UPSs covered 51 percent.

With demand for data centers continuing to be high and global construction and development projects underway, as found in research by CBRE, it is unsurprising that supply chain restrictions are ongoing.

“I think we are realizing just how fragile the supply chain really is. The demand is just huge. So a lot of these manufacturers simply trying to catch up to what the requests are. The pandemic really was an accelerator. And now we're trying to sort of dig out from the supply chain issues,” Kleyman said.

Kleyman added that the problem is more notable in hyperscale data centers than in colocation or enterprise facilities as they are more willing to extend the lifespan of their equipment.

Kleyman’s advice, going forward, is for companies to stockpile critical parts where possible, consider using recycled IT equipment, and source from multiple vendors.

Uptime Institute’s June 2022 Outage Analysis found that outages were lasting longer and costing more than previously, though noted that frequency hadn’t increased.

2023 has already been witness to several data center outages. Hospitals in Australia, the US, and New Zealand have been affected, while several other data centers have faced outages after fires broke out including the Paris’ Global Switch data center, a Digital Realty facility in California, and a data center in Nigeria.