• How much Downtime is acceptable?

Customers need to evaluate how much downtime are they experiencing today and how much is acceptable to their business. Downtime occurs due to planned activities (e.g. hardware maintenance and software upgrades etc.) and unplanned activities (e.g. power failure). Customers should consider how much the proposed solution reduces the downtime or even eliminates key types of planned and unplanned downtime.  What is the payoff versus the payout?

  • Is it simple?

SMB customers have very small IT departments -in some case it is just one person. Also, maintenance is mainly done by reseller. Customers must be able to easily understand how to install, maintain and use the proposed uptime solution. How much initial training is required? Does it require application customization for each application? Does it have remote management capabilities so that IT person doesn’t need to be on-site every time there is a fault?

  • Is it affordable?

Considering the initial acquisition cost and long term cost (or total cost of ownership) is also important for comparison with the total cost of downtime within that time period. What all hardware and software is required for the uptime solution? For hardware, how many servers are required? Does it require an external storage? For software, does it require additional management software to manage on top of uptime software? Also should customers consider annual maintenance costs they are paying for the software and also to reseller? If the uptime solution has built-in features that reduces your other costs e.g. built-in virtualization, those features should factor into the equation.

I have been talking to a lot of SMB customers and partner and these are the top three things they consider prior to purchasing an uptime solution. Finding the cost of downtime can be tricky, and creating an equation for the cost of an uptime solution can be just as complicated. What are you doing for an uptime solution, and how did you come up with answers to these questions?