Multiple short outages can add up to major problems

Preparing for major catastrophes is just one piece of IT disaster planning these days

Since the company adopted the Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or ITIL -- best practices for managing systems and networks -- outages have been cut back to one every three or four months, according to Howard.

"Because we have better incident and change management, when something goes down today, we know what happened," Howard said. "And 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the time, it's our service providers and not us."

Left unchecked, outages could have increasingly dire consequences for businesses, analysts noted.

Consider the fact that, as part of the movement toward data center consolidation and server virtualization, companies are centralizing increasing amounts of equipment in single data centers. "If 60 per cent of your assets are centralized in one data center [and] the data center is down, the business is down, too," said IDC analyst Michelle Bailey.

She said data center managers should use that kind of reasoning to convince wary executives of the potential ROI of new systems that could prevent potential disasters.

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