By the DynaSis Team
Availability has become a pervasive buzzword regarding technology, but what does it really mean? More importantly, is it as vital to your operation as IT providers would have you believe?
In the technology world, availability is used as a formal term for uptime—the amount of time, over a year, that a computing system's resources are available. As we discussed in our recent article, "Moving Your Business to the Cloud: Three Top Reasons Why the Time Is Now," system availability is generally measured in "nines." Best practices availability for corporate efficiency is 99.99%. At that level, an organization can expect to suffer less than an hour of downtime per year (52 minutes and 35.7 seconds, to be exact).
On a more general basis, "availability" is a characteristic that enables a resource to be usable, on demand, to perform its designated or required function. From this perspective, businesses measure availability for many resources beyond computer systems. Companies often track availability of portable IT assets such as laptops and tablets; they also track the availability of personnel, conference rooms and more.
For businesses, availability is an irreplaceable driver of productivity. The more resources of all types that are available to a company and its employees, the more the organization can accomplish. Nowhere is this truer than with IT availability. At 99% availability—a mere percentage point from the 99.99% level we mention above, a firm can expect to experience three days, 15 hours, 39 minutes and 29.5 seconds of availability, each year.
Downtime may not be a big deal if it happens when the offices are closed, but if outages occur during the working day, they can be deeply disruptive. Additionally, if downtime occurs during important, off-hour operations such as system backups, it can cause major headaches and potentially data loss. For firms that sell or service customers online, downtime of any amount and at any time can lead to lost sales and reduced customer loyalty.
For this reason, we believe that availability is one of the most—if not the most—important corporate assets. Security and mobility are also pivotal to business success, but unless resources of all types are readily available for personnel and processes to use, an operation will literally be unable to function.
Availability is not automatic. Businesses employ scheduling solutions to ensure availability of people and physical resources. For computing systems, IT providers go even further, using specialized techniques, such as hardware redundancy, load balancing and proactive system monitoring, to sharply curtail the likelihood of downtime. They also maintain and manage the cloud environments that help businesses enjoy the highest possible availability of digital resources, as well.
All of these efforts become woven into the fabric of daily operations—unnoticed until they break down. Prudent business owners do everything they can to ensure that never happens.
DynaSis is an Atlanta IT services and cloud computing provider for small and midsized businesses. All of our solutions focus on helping companies achieve the three fundamental IT necessities of the modern business—availability, security and mobility. We specialize in on-demand and on-premise managed IT services, managed cloud infrastructure, desktops and backups, and professional hardware and equipment installation. For more information about DynaSis’ IT support and services, visit www.dynasis.com.