This month, we’re kicking off a new blog series that will examine availability in terms of the nines. We’ll provide you with some basic, real world examples to give you a better idea of how one little 9 can make a big impact. In this installment, we’ll look at what this means for your favorite social media sites – Twitter and Facebook.

Any discussion of server availability and downtime will inevitably lead to a conversation about the nines, or the percentage of uptime that can be expected from the server environment. For our purposes, we’ll look at how two social media sites measure up in five different levels of uptime – from the lowest at 99 percent, to the highest at 99.999 percent (which Stratus ensures with our fault-tolerant ftServers).

According to The Social Skinny, Twitter now has more than 140 million active users, who send 340 million tweets every day. How many tweets would fail to be sent if the site experienced downtime?

Level of Uptime 100% 99.999% 99.99% 99.95% 99.9% 99%
Tweets that would be sent 340 Million 339,996,600 339,966,000 339,830,000 339,660,000 336,600,000
Tweets that would go unsent 0 3,400 34,000 170,000 340,000 3,400,000

What would you do if the tweet announcing your new product was one of the 3 million plus that didn’t make it up due to a 99 percent availability rate?

Over the years Facebook has evolved from a social network for college students to a platform for businesses to connect with consumers and partners, and a way for family and friends to stay connected even though they may be many miles apart. Needless to say, one of the best ways to do all of this is through sharing pictures. In fact, according to GigaOM, on average more than 300 million photos were uploaded to Facebook per day from January – March, 2012.

Level of Uptime 100% 99.999% 99.99% 99.95% 99.9% 99%
Pictures that would be uploaded 300 Million 299,997,000 299,970,000 299,850,000 299,700,000 297,000,000
Pictures that wouldn’t be uploaded 0 3,000 30,000 150,000 300,000 3,000,000

Wouldn’t you be upset if the picture of your CEO giving his keynote speech at an industry show wasn’t able to be uploaded, due to downtime? How about missing out on some major milestone pictures of your grandchild, niece or nephew that lives across the country?

Now imagine that, instead of photos or tweets, these are dollars, dollars that your business looses when critical IT systems go down.

For more information on how much data center downtime costs, download our most recent report with Aberdeen Group, “Datacenter Downtime: How Much Does It Really Cost?”