3 min read

Is the 99.999% uptime guarantee coming to an end?

Security & Privacy

LAS VEGAS – The widely accepted 99.999% or “5-Nines” high availability guarantee from the channel or directly from vendors maybe coming to an end.

According to Laurence Guihard-Joly, IBM’s GM, business continuity & resiliency Services Global Technology Services, at some point soon 99.999% uptime is going away.

Customers are today looking for an always-on environment. Guihard-Joly told CDN that some customers can ill-afford even a few minutes of downtime specifically financial traders and healthcare professionals.

It seems very hard to believe that customers no-longer would accept the 99.999% uptime guarantee because 5-Nines over the course of a year would mean that approximately 5.6 minutes of downtime per year and only 25.9 seconds per month.

But Guihard-Joly said in the last 12 months breaches such as the Sony hack have become a hot topic. She said that the hit on a organization’s reputation is being taken more seriously than the financial losses incurred or the cost of the recovery.

“Sony is a big enough company and they can rebound, but not everyone is like that. It can break your business especially if your business is reputation-based,” she said.

With the advent of social media company now suffer from outages and could lead to a poor reputation in the marketplace because clients take it for granted today that it will work,” Guihard-Joy added.

From a channel perspective, she said that solution providers are not doing enough in capacity planning as an example. Suddenly a client runs out of storage and its leads to an outage. An example of this is typical nightly back ups and as data capture and creation increases customers suddenly run out of storage and can’t perform automated back up.

Solution providers need to invest in predictive analytics services for customers, she suggested.

“It may sound funny, but this happens. You need predictive analytics. Look at iPhone users. They get on iCloud and first time users find it magic and then suddenly you can’t back up because you’ve run out of storage. Well, its the same concept. You would rather have a message saying your storage is running out two days prior,” Guihard-Joly said.

To address this IBM has developed an end-to-end business continuity portfolio that includes several third-party alliances for items such as power and cooling, security, surveillance and even security guards if needed. These alliances will include an ecosystem of channel partners.

Guihard-Joly was unable to disclose how many channel partners are now part of this business continuity portfolio but did say IBM wants to grow the base by two times in the next year.

“We are in need for more solution providers to do this end-to-end business continuity solution. We really have business continuity plan and in the market today not everyone has one or its ad hoc. In a survey some said they did not know if they even had a business continuity solution in place. It is our duty provide this as the market shifts to an always-on environment,” she added.

The market opportunity for the channel is estimated at $12 billion in 2015. Guihard-Joly said that is a seven per cent growth rate leading up to 2018. And, she said that 61 per cent of all cloud solutions will be business continuity or cloud resilency solutions.

“Business partners can make a tonne of money here even with existing clients who were happy with (5-Nines) 24 hour turnaround periods. But they too are going to shift to an always-on environment. This business will not disappear and will morph into a consumable cloud service,” she said.

One of the focal points of this new business continuity strategy will be a high availability Z Series mainframe.

Another factor is data sovereignty and Guihard-Joly told CDN that IBM’s business continuity portfolio has been designed to accommodate in-country data protection specifics.