Network uptime is critical to overall data center performance. As businesses concentrate on digital transformation, they will grow increasingly dependent on anytime, anywhere access to applications and services for both customers and employees.
In that sense, network uptime makes an important contribution to user and customer experience. It also ensures the successful deployment of cloud services and supports the continuing drive for efficient mobile working to support field and remote staff.
However, the increasing complexity of network infrastructures, growing volumes of data and changing traffic patterns can make it difficult to maintain consistent levels of uptime across the organization. Greater insight and control are essential.
Calculate Downtime Costs
Downtime incurs both direct and indirect costs. Industry estimates on the hourly costs of downtime vary. The figure can fall between $100,000 and $300,000 depending on the size of the organization and the importance of the apps and services running on the network. For mission-critical applications where rapid time to recovery is essential, costs can be even higher.
Downtime can have significant indirect costs. Employee productivity falls when apps are not available. This also affects the user experience, which is now a significant measure of IT performance. Customer confidence and the reputation of the business can be affected if customers cannot access services, and this can also lead to lost revenue opportunities.
For IT, network downtime can impact productivity and efficiency. Time spent responding to outages and remediating problems can distract teams from other more strategic tasks.
Set Realistic SLAs
Setting clear, realistic service level agreements is an important starting point. The required level of uptime varies by application or service, so it may be possible to set multiple SLAs. Mission-critical applications will naturally require the most stringent SLAs.
Measuring performance against SLAs also provides a useful basis for planning network upgrades or other initiatives to reduce downtime.
Follow Best Practice
Incorporating best practice in network design and security can help reduce downtime. For example, network design should incorporate levels of redundancy that maintain availability in the event of an outage in part of the network. Network managers can also take proactive measures to respond to problems and maintain uptime.
Consider New Networking Technologies
New networking technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and intent-based networking system (IBNS) can provide greater visibility and control compared to traditional systems.
SDN solutions, for example, can improve the availability of services for users by providing higher levels of control and visibility over all network resources. The technology incorporates intelligent path control. This automatically selects the fastest route for different types of traffic and prioritizes mission-critical data or applications such as voice. This ensures users can access their services and applications with minimal delay, improving the user experience.
IBNS software continuously monitors network status to ensure it is meeting the business intent. It collects network data such as traffic logs to assess the state of the network and determine the optimum route. If necessary, IBNS can take action to dynamically enforce the intent in real time by rerouting traffic, blocking other types of traffic or modifying capacity, for example.
With this level of visibility and control, network administrators can maintain uptime and minimize risk to the business.