It’s no secret that system downtime is bad for business. For one thing, it’s expensive. According to a 2012 Aberdeen Group report, the average cost of an hour of downtime is now $138,888 USD — up more than 30% from 2010. Given these rising costs, it’s no wonder that ensuring high availability of business-critical applications is becoming a top priority for companies of all sizes.
When it comes to choosing the right downtime protection, there are a couple of important things to keep in mind. First, deployment of applications on hypervisor software for server virtualization is increasing at a steady pace and is expected to continue until almost all applications are implemented on virtualized servers. As a result, you need to make sure that your downtime protection is able to support virtualized as well as non-virtualized applications. Second, with IT spending and headcount on the decline, downtime protection should be easy to install and maintain since there are fewer IT resources available to manage the assets.
Available downtime protection options range from adding no additional protection other than that offered by general-purpose servers to deploying applications on fault-tolerant hardware. Which option you choose will depend on the type of application in question. If the application is mission-critical, then you’ll need higher levels of protection. A strong segment of companies are choosing to protect each of their mission critical applications with fault-tolerant servers because they provide the highest availability, require no specialized IT skills, and are now priced within reach of even small to mid-size companies. Looking for guidance in choosing the right downtime protection for your “can’t fail” applications? Download the Aberdeen Group report to learn more.
This week Stratus announced the release of Avance 3.1, the newest version of our industry-leading high-availability software solution. The latest update includes virtual-machine load balancing and rolling reboot. What does this mean for users? Here’s a look inside the newest version of Avance:
Load Balancing: This lets customers automatically (or manually) assign virtual machines (VM) to both physical x86 servers that make up the high-availability platform. This speeds up VM migration times, distributes disk reads across both nodes (improving read performance), doubles network bandwidth for writing to disk, and accelerates synchronous write replications.
Rolling Reboot: Built into the user interface, this feature automatically stages and reboots the underlying system resources during upgrades. This means VMs experience no downtime during upgrades.
This latest update underscores why Avance software is part of the industry’s most complete portfolio of products and services designed specifically to prevent downtime and data loss. Check out what the reaction has been by browsing through some coverage of the announcement found below. You can also learn more about Avance by clicking here.
VMblog: Stratus Avance 3.1 Software’s New Features Focus on Business Continuity and Downtime Prevention
David Marshall outlines the major new Avance 3.1 features, including new virtual-machine load balancing and rolling reboot.
ZDNet: Stratus Technologies Avance 3.1 Simplifies Business Continuity
Dan Kusnetzky dives into the benefits of Avance 3.1 for small to medium organizations that all face the need to reduce their costs while also offering their customers competitive products and services.
Similar article: Kusnetzky Group Blog
Stratus Technologies’ high-availability (HA) Stratus Avance Software 3.0 now includes support for Intel Xeon E5 “Sandy Bridge” processor-powered servers. This is an exciting development for companies that use Intel Xeon E5 servers manufactured by HP, IBM, Dell and Intel, as Avance software proactively detects and prevents downtime and ensures that their applications run without interruption.
Avance software is the only HA solution that automatically detects, isolates and handles faults, keeping applications running despite system interruptions. Avance software constantly monitors system heartbeat and the health of drives, fans, power supplies and other system components to predict faults and performance degradation. This system management dashboard gives the IT administrator detailed configurations and alert information as well as guidance on resolving issues.
This next generation of Avance can support up to 24 virtual machines (VM) on a single licensed HA server platform, a 50 percent increase over its predecessor. The improvement in VM density can lower operational, maintenance and management costs by enabling more consolidation of servers and applications.
This is also an important development for our channel partners. Frank Vincentelli, chief technology officer at Integrated IT Systems, a computing services firm and Stratus4Uptime channel partner, feels the development is critical to maintaining healthy relationships with customers. “Adding IT talent is expensive and application downtime is disruptive, and our clients very much want to minimize both,” he said.
Avance 3.0 software is an organization’s best protection against unplanned downtime and data loss for their most important applications. Avance proves that HA can be simple to achieve and manage, and affordable to implement in organizations of any size. No other HA solution offers more.
Some additional features of the newest release include:
Complete product details are available here.
This is the first post in a series that will look at notable outages each month, illustrating the wide array of businesses and industries that are affected by downtime.
While it’s hard to believe that it’s already mid-July, it’s time to take a look back at some of last month’s most notable outages. We’ve handpicked five that directly affect you – the consumer. While many people may not think IT affects their work and personal lives, these cases of downtime show how the summer blues of network outages can affect each and every one of us.
#5 Amazon: While Amazon mostly catches heat for killing off bricks-and-mortar retailers, many were more upset that they couldn’t access their services as the site experienced an outage. On June 14, Amazon reported a network outage caused by a power failure. While the downtime wasn’t as sizeable as the days of downtime reported in 2011, the outage still left many upset.
#4 Google Wallet: There’s seldom an area of our lives that Google doesn’t have a play in. If you’ve tried to use Google Wallet over the past month, you probably noticed there was a spell of downtime that prevented you from making purchases. On June 4, those with NFC-equipped phones found themselves unable to drop any ‘cash’ on purchases. Google restored the services within a few hours and continued to monitor to ensure their users had full spending power.
#3 Spotify: Popular music streaming service, Spotify, was not singing a happy tune as they experienced a brief outage on June 1. While it was difficult for many users to make it through the day without their playlists, the company recovered from the outage within the day and users were able to plug back in and sing their Friday songs without interruption.
#2 Facebook: There’s hardly a day that goes by without checking or posting something to Facebook. But when Facebook went down on June 1, users were looking for a “dislike” button to hit. Facebook’s outage began around 7 p.m. EDT, and was apparently so traumatic that the hashtag #RIPFacebook began trending on Twitter.
#1 Twitter: Speaking of Twitter, we’re giving them the #1 spot for this month. On June 21 the micro blogging site experience its largest outage in nearly eight months. According to tracking site Pingdom, Twitter had been enjoying 99%-plus uptime for every month this year and hit 100% in April. However, when this outage hit, users were left to contemplate how much they used the site as they were unable to tweet their frustrations for a few hours.
Are you doing all that you can to make sure your business is protected against downtime? According to a recent survey we did in partnership with IndustryWeek, the majority of manufacturers are not. The last post, (Most Businesses Rely on Server Backup Instead of Downtime Prevention) the final in a 3-part series, reveals that most companies are using backup as their high availability solution of choice. What does this mean? It means 64 percent of those surveyed would rather wait for problems to occur and react to them, than proactively protect their infrastructures from outages.
Manufacturing businesses aren’t unlike other companies, in that even one minute of downtime can result in significant financial loss. In fact, we found that the average manufacturing IT system will experience 3.6 instances of downtime at a cost of $65,830 annually. However, the number of IT downtime incidents per year, as well as the financial impact per incident increases as revenues do, so we’re looking at 4.5 incidents per year costing a total of $146,250 for companies bringing in over a billion dollars.
Now, we already know that most companies are choosing to use backup instead of a high availability solution, but what makes us even more uneasy is the fact that less than half of those surveyed even have a strategy in place for high availability. It’s even worse for small businesses with revenue of less than $100 million, where only 23 percent reported having a plan in place. This begs the question again, why are we looking at downtime as inevitable instead of preventable.
For this industry, there are a lot of different factors that may be causing the resistance to high availability solutions. One thought is this industry may simply be behind the curve when it comes to implementing technology solutions of this nature. Take virtualization for example. Our survey revealed that fewer than one in five manufacturing companies currently run production applications such as SCADA, MES, Historian, Batch or OPC in virtual environments. This is clearly behind the curve where, in general, one in five companies run 80 percent of all applications on virtual machines, and one in two companies have virtualized 40 percent of all applications. No matter what the reason is, I urge all manufacturers to look at these statistics closely. Put the plan in place that’s going to save you money and sleep in the long run.
What do you think? Take a closer look at all of the survey data below:
• Stratus Technologies’ Survey Shows 64 Percent of Businesses Use Backup as Their High Availability Solution
• Stratus Survey Says: Costly Downtime Plagues Manufacturing IT Systems
• Stratus Technologies’ Survey Shows Manufacturers are not Putting Virtualization to Work