Heatwave in Europe and UK putting IT at risk with outages

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London, UK – Mumbai, India: With most parts of Europe and the United Kingdom (UK) experiencing recording breaking heatwave this summer. Experts believe this heatwave in Europe and UK is putting IT at risk and could trigger more outages of services ahead.

London-based data centres used by Google and Oracle had suffered major outages this week. The cloud outages were triggered after the cooling systems and infrastructure were impacted by some technical snags because of record-breaking temperatures.

The UK experienced record-breaking over 40°C (104°F Fahrenheit) temperature on Tuesday.

Typical IT systems, experts say can get impacted by external high temperatures and tend to underperform, triggering outages of services.

“Rising temperatures, such as those experienced in Europe this week, aren’t good news for our IT systems. Data centres, which provide the ‘brain’ of many company IT systems, can only operate efficiently between certain temperatures (typically between 15°C and 32°C),” says Sarah Coop, Thematic Analyst – GlobalData.

“Any higher, and there is a severe risk of overheating—meaning, at best, reduced latency and minor outages, and at worst prolonged outages and downtime for customers. As Europe reached highs of 40°C, that is well into the danger zone,” adds Coop.

Citing climate change, Coop explains that there will be more frequent extreme weather events and data centre outages like the one experienced by Google Cloud will also become more and more common.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two years, the dependency of businesses and organisations on data centres has increased many folds than in the past.

“Data centres underpin organisations’ IT infrastructure. As COVID-19 forced many companies to migrate to the cloud, which typically relies on off-premise data centres, this tech has become indispensable to business operations,” says Coop.

Data centre technology uptake is expected to more than double by 2030, says Coop. The data centres market will be worth $948 billion by 2030, up from $466 billion in 2020, as per GlobalData’s forecast.

Interestingly, the heatwave in Europe and UK is not only putting IT at risk with outages of services. But it is also adding to the operational costs for companies with investment in cooling systems and equipment as well as energy.

The global industrial cooling system market size touched $16.33 billion in 2020 and is likely to expand with a CAGR of 5% during the forecast period of 2018-2027, eventually accounting for $23 billion by the year 2027, as per the Market study report.

“Many companies are now facing extra costs to cool equipment in heatwaves, which will be driven up further by rising energy prices amid the Ukraine conflict,” informs Coop.

While costs can be absorbed for one-off heatwaves, she says that a longer-term solution is needed as data centres’ significance continue to grow.

“It is imperative that effective cooling systems are bought as part and parcel of a data centre, or companies are risking disruption to customer’s services. Further, these should preferably be powered by renewable energy, and deploy energy efficiency techniques,” concludes Coop.

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