Manufacturers today are squeezing more productivity out of existing resources by leveraging production automation through manufacturing execution systems (MES) and other mission-critical manufacturing applications. While the added productivity is certainly a plus, this also means manufacturers are making themselves increasingly more vulnerable to downtime issues that may occur due to server failures, especially when you consider the amount that are also adding virtualization to the mix.

System failures or application unavailability can have a serious impact on your business and your bottom line. My colleague Brian McLaughlin touched on this in a recent blog post, but the net-net is there are a lot of things to be considered when downtime occurs. Whether it’s the impact on your customers, the cost of getting your line up and running again or the potential overtime costs you’ll incur, they are all detrimental to your business. Quite frankly, manufacturers are facing enough pressure already and the last thing they need is a breakdown of processes due to a faulted server.

When discussing outages and server downtime, one of the questions we get most often is how we quantify downtime costs. Without doing your homework on this it can be difficult to budget appropriately for IT investments. We recently unveiled our free Cost of Downtime Calculator to help you to determine how much is at stake when your critical applications become unavailable.

Plant managers and manufacturing IT managers need to consider this, as well as ways to secure their IT infrastructure from downtime while reducing the complexity of managing servers at the plant level. We recently spoke to Joe Barkai, research vice president for IDC Manufacturing Insights’ Product Lifecycle Strategies program, about these topics. To view the entire Q&A, download “Ironclad Uptime Reliability for Real-Time Manufacturing Needs.”