23/11/2015 08:59 GMT | Updated 23/11/2016 05:12 GMT

Black Friday: Data Centres Not Shopping Centres

You've probably noticed that Christmas marketing campaigns started at least a month ago and at this point it's all systems go. We've had John Lewis' 'Man on the Moon', the Coca Cola truck tour has been announced and the vast majority of retail outlets are covered in tinsel and fairy lights already. This can only mean one thing, Black Friday is looming large.

Although it has been going strong for the best part of 15 years in the US, Black Friday only recently made it to the UK thanks to the continued growth of online shopping. With parents wincing as Christmas lists gets longer and longer, it's only natural for them to be on the look out for bargains and Black Friday offers exactly that.

It's beginning to look a lot like Black Friday

With the best deals often found online, it's unsurprising that digital accounted for 21 per cent of total sales during Black Friday in 2014. This is set to grow again this year, with consumers not wanting to take part in the in-store battle for bargains which can resemble a scene from the Walking Dead.

So consumers grab their laptops, tablets or smartphones instead and begin browsing price comparison websites for the best bargains. Once they've found the half price gadget they've been eyeing up all year it should only take a click or two before the gift is on its way - it's that simple. But what if it wasn't?

Deck the data halls

Imagine your disdain if your favourite retail website displayed the dreaded 404 error on Black Friday. Now multiply that anger exponentially when no online retail sites are live and the retail industry would begin to resemble a Christmas turkey - it would be stuffed! All jokes aside, such an awful occurrence is actually what Black Friday would be like without the unsung hero of the technology world - data centres.

You may not realise it, but retailers use data centres to minimise the risks associated with hosting vast amounts of public data. To ensure bargain hunters aren't left pulling their hair out, data centres have systems in place to ensure back-up structures automatically kick in when an outage occurs so any services relying on this data don't suffer any downtime. With the vast range of connections and structures which combine within data centres, providers are continuously asking "what will happen if this element fails?" to guarantee consumers can continue buying the latest gadgets without interruption.

It's this responsibility which makes data centres so important in the digital age, as without them it's likely rare, high profile outages would happen much more frequently. So, when you're doing your Christmas shopping this Black Friday, take a moment to think about the data centres silently ticking over in the background making it all possible.