Do you know about the myth of 100% uptime and the conflict it creates between technical reality and customer expectations? Is downtime actually that bad? A surprising question for a company that claims to offer Uptime-as-a-Service? Not really. Let me explain why.
In the “always on” world that we live in, e-commerce companies, online service providers and large enterprises have come to expect that tjeir websites and online applications are available 100% of the time.
Monster of Loch Ness?
Because any IT professional can tell you that achieving 100% uptime is comparable to finding the Loch Ness Monster. There is the chance it might happen one day, but it’s not very realistic. And yet, today companies expect hosting companies to offer 100% uptime. Or at least 99.999%. The latter translates to a downtime of less than 6 minutes over the entire year.
How do you approach that challenge as a hosting company? With a top-class infrastructure and excellent engineers, but also by making customers aware of what downtime actually entails. Not in general terms, but in regard to their specific situation.
Often when the topic of downtime is discussed, the financial impact is the first aspect to be mentioned. And then international numbers are thrown about. According to a study by Gartner from 2014 for example, downtime supposedly costs companies 5,600 dollars per minute and 140,000 dollars per incident. But is this the case for each and every company? Our Downtime Cost Calculator attempts to provide a clearer answer for this question.
It is more difficult to measure the impact on your reputation. Internet users are increasingly demanding and a few minutes of downtime of services such as Amazon, Facebook, Twitter or Microsoft Office 365 will cause scenes of hysteria on the Internet. But again, you must ask yourself the question: Is this the case for each website, every application and each company? Not everyone receives hundreds of thousands of visitors on a daily basis, not everyone is serving customers 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
Of course, we always want to be online, but the most important thing is to be online when it really matters. You do not want to have the reputation of being poorly accessible, but at the same time you must ask yourself how many people will actually be affected by possible downtimes, who they are and what impact it has on them. This helps in performing an estimation of possible damage to your reputation.
The right price
Once you know which impact possible downtime actually has, you can see which guarantees you really want. After all, each additional 9 behind the decimal point coincides with an exponentially growing cost. By performing a good estimation of the risks posed by downtime, you can make a better decision with more insight into which solutions, budgets and guarantees you actually need.
The limitation of downtime depends on a number of factors. First of all, with the set-up of your infrastructure and the corresponding network. This of course also includes security and business continuity. However, good management, maintenance and monitoring of your systems are at least as important. This allows you to map risks more clearly, to continuously optimize your infrastructure as well as to anticipate possible problems, irrespective whether these are caused by people, technology or arise as a result of problems or calamities originating from outside.
Because the minimization of downtime has turned into such a complex matter, in which so many factors come into play, Uptime-as-a-Service becomes an interesting option. You outsource the management of your infrastructure and get a guarantee of maximal uptime in return. You decide how close you want to reach the magical 100%, taking the impact of downtime on your business into account.
You can read about Uptime-as-a-Service and what it entails in this blogpost.
How crucial is downtime for your company? Do you believe in Uptime-as-a-Service? Let us know in the comments below.
This blogpost is part of a free eBook that covers all aspects of uptime.