Majority of IT applications cannot tolerate unplanned downtime

Stratus Technologies, Inc has revealed the results of its Highly Available and Fault-Tolerant Infrastructure Considerations Survey. Commissioned by Stratus and conducted by industry research firm Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), the study examined the viewpoints of more than 250 IT decision makers in North America and Western Europe on topics such as application downtime, recovery time objectives and use of virtualisation, high availability and fault tolerant availability systems.

The research revealed that the vast majority of production servers and services are not intended to tolerate the length of an average unplanned downtime incident, which was reported at 87 minutes. For organisations with critical business applications, each minute of unplanned downtime can have severe repercussions on the company, from lost revenue to not meeting service level agreements (SLAs) to brand reputation damage. This becomes even more concerning when 53 per cent of applications cannot handle more than 15 minutes of downtime, and yet 80 per cent of downtime incidents are reported to last more than 15 minutes.

Furthermore, 71 per cent of respondents admitted that their company is not tracking downtime with any quantified metric related to its cost to the company. This means the majority of companies do not know the cost of downtime until an incident actually occurs, but by that time it is too late to prepare. This exposure to risk is a continual concern to CIOs and COOs, and is a key reason why more IT decision makers are looking to implement fault-tolerant or high-availability systems. In fact, 38 per cent of respondents noted that they plan to increase the number of production platforms protected by always-on infrastructure in the next 24 months.

Jason Andersen, Vice President of Business Line Management at Stratus Technologies says: "Unplanned downtime continues to be a huge vulnerability in today's IT systems and alarmingly, the vast majority of companies are not even tracking downtime with a quantified measure of cost. This means these companies can't plan for how an unplanned downtime incident can affect their business until its damage is already done. High availability and fault-tolerant infrastructure is something we have seen definitively eliminate this risk from the equation. We believe that with the increasing adoption of edge based systems, including Industrial Internet of Things technologies, the costs and risks associated with downtime will continue to trend upward."

Key findings:

The vast majority of IT applications cannot tolerate the average downtime incident

  • 72 per cent of applications are not intended to experience more than 60 minutes of downtime, well below the average downtime length of 87 minutes
  • 53 per cent of applications are not intended to have more than 15 minutes of downtime, but 80 per cent of downtime incidents last more than 15 minutes

IT decision makers do not know the cost of downtime until it is too late to prepare, but the cost is also causing more companies to consider fault-tolerant infrastructure

  • 71 per cent of respondents are not tracking downtime with a quantified measure of its cost to the organisation
  • 47 per cent say the business impact of downtime is the primary cost justification when considering the adoption of fault tolerant or high-availability systems
  • 38 per cent of respondents expect the percentage of their production platforms covered by fault-tolerant infrastructure to increase in the next 24 months

Ensuring application availability in a virtualised environment is still rife with challenges

  • 84 per cent of respondents experience one or more challenges with ensuring the availability of their applications in a virtualised environment
  • About 50 per cent of IT decision makers do not anticipate increasing the number of virtual machines covered by availability technologies in the next 2 years

Survey scope & demographics

  • Online survey responses from 250 IT decision makers involved in purchasing or managing high availability systems for IT or OT platforms in North America and Western Europe
  • In-depth phone interviews with seven IT decision makers in North America, including two Stratus customers
  • Respondents spanned industries including financial, manufacturing, government, healthcare, retail and more
  • Respondents identified themselves according to job responsibility, company size, industry and familiarity with their company's business continuity and virtualisation environment
  • The survey was conducted from June to September 2016 by Enterprise Strategy Group

For more information about the Highly Available and Fault-Tolerant Infrastructure Considerations Survey please visit

Stratus Technologies Systems Ltd

Watermans House
Watermans Court
Staines, Middlesex
TW18 3BA

+44 (0)1784 415220

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