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Recent Trends in High Availability Show Soaring Cost of Downtime

HA reliability survey

Three Tiers of Server Outages

ITIC defines server outages in three tiers. Tier 1 outages are typically incidents that network administrators can resolve in fewer than 30 minutes. Tier 2 outages leave the server offline from one to four hours. Tier 3 incidents are the most severe, with outages lasting longer than four hours. See “Server Outage Classifications” on page 39 for detailed descriptions.

The bottom line is any downtime spells trouble to business operations. Unplanned service outages can end user productivity and disrupt network operations. Higher tier outages can mean an increase in litigation risks and business losses.

The Cost of Hourly Downtime

The past four ITIC reliability surveys show that the cost of hourly downtime has increased. DiDio emphasizes that productivity slows down if the servers, applications and networks are unavailable for any reason.

“Any downtime these days is an absolute anathema to your business operations,” she says. “You have what we call the water cooler effect. What happens if suddenly you have an outage of a few minutes? It’s affecting 50, 100 workers on even one server. People start getting up. They stop what they’re doing.”

When an application is back up, people may still be chatting with others.

Figure 3 shows the cost of hourly downtime for enterprises in 2016, as analyzed by the ITIC. Ninety-eight percent of organizations say that a single hour of downtime costs more than $100,000. For 81 percent of respondents, an hour of downtime costs even more: $300,000.

Imagine the impact of the rising cost of downtime on a small business. Small teams ought to be even more risk averse if they don’t have money stowed away to take such a large hit. Multinational enterprises may have the deep pockets for unplanned downtime, but downtime could literally put a small business out of business, DiDio adds.

What may be the most startling conclusion from this trend is that one-third of enterprises in the survey reported that 60 minutes of downtime costs their firm from $1 million to over $5 million. “That’s huge,” DiDio notes. IT teams must also consider the timing of outages. If the outage occurs at the worst possible time—when a transaction is processed during a peak usage hour where the business is in a vertical market, such as banking—that could result in millions of dollars per minute in outages.

All in all, infrastructure matters. The server hardware, server OS and application reliability have a direct impact on an enterprise’s bottom line.



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