Cloud versus On Premise Availability

Cloud versus On Premise Availability

Availability is a critical component of service delivery excellence for IT. When systems are down, companies experience business disruption, lost productivity, lost revenue, etc. Thus, IT always wants to ensure that the systems that it has or puts in place are rock solid, whether on premise or in the cloud.

When evaluating cloud solutions, the provider’s service health history should be evaluated, including its track record of performance disruptions and service outages. The provider’s service level agreement (SLA) should also be evaluated for availability/up-time guarantees and when service credits will be applied.

For example, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) from AWS has an SLA of 99.95 of availability before service credits are provided to customers. EC2’s SLA translates into 4.4 hours of downtime per year; 21.6 minutes per month; and five minutes per week. Relational Database Service (RDS) from AWS has the same SLA.

Running an application on EC2 (server) and RDS (database) would provide high availability infrastructure services to an organization and its users. In fact, Nucleus Research recently conducted a study that found companies experience 32% less downtime (1.4 hours) running their infrastructure on AWS versus on premise.

In 2011, CA Technologies surveyed 200 businesses and found overall IT downtime (applications, infrastructure, etc.) cost companies $26.5 billion each year. The average downtime per year was 14 hours (less than “three 9s”) and cost “large companies” $1 million in lost revenue or $75,249 per hour of downtime. Downtime is expensive.

In general, cloud vendors are committing to and meeting 99.9% uptime availability thresholds (8.8 hours of downtime per year); service levels that cannot be easily replicated by on premise solutions. When outages happen – and they will – the most important thing for maintaining trust is transparency from the vendor, both communication and action.

All contents copyright © 2013, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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