Although we’ve seen impressive advancements in the information technology sector, hardware, software, database centers, systems, and applications still experience significant downtime.

If it can happen to the United States Government (healthcare.gov), search behemoth Google (which killed 40% of web traffic globally), and Amazon;  you can just about guarantee your business will experience system downtime.  Check out the numbers…They’re pretty alarming.

Average Application Downtime Per Year

A study from Gartner claims corporations can expect to face 87 hours of system downtime annually.

Another study conducted by Dunn & Bradsheet, concluded that Fortune 500 companies can expect to see an average of 1.6 hours of system downtime per week.  (thats 83.2 hours annually for those keeping track).

So what can we learn from these statistics? System downtime is inevitable, whats far more important is:

  • Measuring and establishing the cost of downtime

  • Implementing an Application Management Strategy to rebound quickly

  • Realizing uptime threats in advance for quicker recognition of the root problem

  • Have preventative measures in place and a system status page to keep end users up to date

Identify Threats to System Uptime

Identifying potential disruptions to your system uptime will get your team ready for whats bound to happen and prepares them to find a solution quickly – doing less damage to your bottom line.  There are a number of potential threats looming, here are the most common:

  • Human Error:

Statistics vary from study to study but the results all conclude that human error results in anywhere from 50% to 75% of datacenter downtime.  Overloading circuits, accidentally pulling cords, or inadvertently hitting an emergency power off button are common mishaps.

  • Hardware Failure

Hardware failure is another common reason for downtime.  Although predicting hardware failure is difficult; failures typically take place at the beginning and end of a machines life cycle.  Hardware can suffer from manufacturing failures, design flaws, and typical wear and tear which can be prevented with routine maintenance.

  • Software Defect/Failure

Software failure is less likely than the first two, but still a very real threat.  Just like viruses and malware that attack your Windows machine, viruses and malware that servers,databases, and applications.

  • Natural Causes

Fires, floods, and severe storms are the most dramatic disruptor of system uptime and are a very real threat that must be prepared for.

  • Planned Administrative Downtime

Planned administrative downtime is not exactly a “threat” but it still prevents employee productivity and costs money.  Typically, planned downtime takes place in order to upgrade hardware components, configure drivers, and install patches to operating systems.

Cost of Downtime Industry Wide

There have been a slew of studies conducted in recent years to put a numeric value on the cost of system downtime.  Its hard to say because there are just so many variables at play; regardless, the industry wide numbers are sky high.

According to Information Week, which conducted a study alongside CA technologies in 2011- the cost of downtime is a whopping $26.5 billion dollars lost in revenue.  That loss in revenue is equivalent in size to the entire Yoga industry.

A survey conducted by USA Today of 200 data center managers revealed that 80 percent said their datacenter downtime costs exceed a staggering $50,000 per hour.

Another survey, conducted by Emerson Network Power; concluded that the average cost of data center downtime is about $5,600 per minute.  The study also found that the average duration of downtime is around 90 minutes.  Which brings us to – the average cost of a single downtime event is approximately $505,000.

Calculating the Cost of System Downtime

IT outages are expensive, plain and simple.  The costs are- felt immediately and for the long haul, both tangible and intangible.

Tangible

  • Administrators and IT team hands on fixing the issue

  • Administrators and IT team, time away from scheduled work

  • Management team clarifying issue and setting course of action

  • Management team, time away from scheduled work
  • Client resource / data loss

Intangible Loss

  • Reputation / brand damage

  • Sending business to competition

  • Negative effect on relationship to customer

  • Employee morale loss

The intangible cots of application downtime may very well cost you more money in the long run than the immediate tangible losses.  Although reputation damage and potential business lost is difficult to measure directly, it will tap into annual revenue far into the future.

Keep End Users in the Loop with a Status Page

An Uptimely real-time status page acts a communication hub:

For Your IT Team

As if fixing the issue isn’t difficult enough IT teams are unfairly expected to keep everyone updated on a minute to minute basis.  Streamline their focus and allow them to do what they get paid to do, fix system issues-not respond to hundreds of emails and support tickets.

For Your End Users and Coworkers

When systems are down its natural for everyone to want to feel “in the loop”.  Keep them “in the loop” by referring them to your system status page that takes a jumbled up mess of data and technical jargon, and turns it into a well presented dashboard with up to the second information.

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