The Importance of Uptime for Modern Business Operations
Talking about modern business operations means talking about what is called uptime. As businesses have become more and more reliant on technology, the concept of uptime — and downtime — is becoming increasingly important, and today’s businesses are urged to design and build their IT infrastructure and technologies with maximum uptime in mind.
What is Uptime?
Essentially, the term uptime refers to the amount of time which a server is working and available uninterruptedly in a year; it’s usually measured as a percentage of time. The ideal uptime of a server or data center would be at 100% or equal to zero downtime; however, in the real world this is extremely difficult to achieve. Even the most advanced enterprise-level data center type — a Tier 4 — has a guaranteed uptime of “only” 99,995% which means there’s still a 0,005% chance of downtime.
Are 99%, 99,95%, and 99,995% That Much Different?
Superficially, the difference between 99%, 99,95%, and 99,995% might seem like a little. However, 99% uptime means being down approximately 3,65 days (87,6 hours) annually, while 99,95% uptime is equal to being down about 4,4 hours a year. Meanwhile, a Tier 4 data center offers only 0,005% downtime or only about 26 minutes a year. For businesses, there is a big difference in lost revenue between three days down, eight hours down, and 26 minutes down. According to Tammy Everts, the author of Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance book, Google’s home page once briefly went offline, and it cost the company more than half a million dollars in lost ad revenue in just five minutes. That is why even 0,001% matters.
Why is Uptime Important?
Uptime means that a business and its online channels are available, not only for its customers and their needs (making online purchases, downloading or uploading content, etc.) but also for its employees to complete their jobs. To understand why uptime is so important, we need to understand the cost and consequences of downtime.
When a business is experiencing downtime, they aren’t able to provide service to their customers. For example, if a business sells products online and their website goes down, customers who attempt to access the website will receive an error message and won’t be able to purchase the products they are looking for. Customers aren’t usually that patient, and when they experience such a thing, they will simply go to a competitor. Even a business’ loyal customers may opt for another alternative if the business fails to provide service to them when they need it. For that particular business, this means lost revenue, conversions, and leads.
Losing customers doesn’t only mean losing revenue; it also means losing reputation. Website downtime affects how customers and potential customers feel about a brand and its company both online and offline. It destroys customers’ trust in a brand and may even affect their perception about the brand’s products. What’s worse is the fact that customers tend to share their experience with brands on social media. Take Twitter as an example. Twitter has become the most popular social platform for people to complain and rant. Everytime a website, an app, or an internet provider is down, we can read how people feel on the platform, often with a hashtag. By doing so, people further damage the perception about a brand.
Besides losing customers, another typical problem which happens to a business experiencing downtime is a loss of productivity. During its unavailability, a business is often unable to function internally. The employees of modern businesses rely heavily on technology,so they won’t be able to work if that technology is down. This means that, for every minute of downtime, a business is paying the majority of its employees to do almost nothing. Moreover, any goals or timelines that the business has in place may need to be pushed back if a period of downtime throws the employees significantly off schedule.
Due to these reasons, it’s important for businesses to keep uptime in mind when they are building or upgrading their IT infrastructure including when choosing a data center service provider. Businesses need to ensure the data center provider they choose meets their uptime requirements to ensure continuous business operations and revenue.