As the Internet has extended its reach into all aspects of our lives, so, too has our dependence upon it grown. As of 2012, the average U.S. consumer spends just over three hours each day online, much of it using data-hungry applications like games and media streamers—and this value is only expected to grow as more and more people come to rely on the Internet for entertainment as well as news, data and work. Thanks to the rise of tablets, smartphones and other mobile Web-enabled devices, some experts estimate that, by 2020, consumers will rack up over seven hours of streaming video each day (which does not, naturally, include all the data required to support GPS, social media and online gaming services).
With so many people using so many devices to move so much data, any downtime in the data centers that organize, route and store all this information has gone from a minor irritation to a potentially catastrophic event for companies and consumers who rely on the Internet for their news, entertainment, shopping, and social media interactions. When Amazon.com went dark for approximately 49 minutes in January of 2013, it cost the company an estimated $4 million or more in lost sales. Another outage in August of the same year lasted only 30 minutes, but still cost the Internet giant an estimated $66,240 in lost revenue every single minute. While your company might not lose quite as much during a data center outage, every second your site is down is definitely a potentially disastrous one for you and your relationship with your customers.
IT professionals are constantly working to improve both the reliability and redundancy of the machines and networks that form the electronic lifeblood of the connected world. But persistent threats posed by natural disasters, mischievous (or downright malicious) hackers, and even sadistic squirrels mean data center downtime just might remain an inevitable part of life for anyone cruising the Information Superhighway.
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