SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — A new LogicMonitor study of 300 IT decision-makers examined the impact infrastructure and software brownouts and outages have on organizations in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, and if such events are preventable. The 2019 IT Outage Impact Study found that although performance and availability are the top two concerns of IT teams worldwide, organizations are still plagued by frequent brownouts (where infrastructure or software performs at a degraded level) or outright outages. The typical organization surveyed experienced a combined total of 10 such events over the past three years.
“IT availability has become one of the business world’s most valuable commodities but also the most difficult to maintain,” said Gadi Oren, Vice President of Technology Evangelism of LogicMonitor. “Organizations today are increasingly dependent on the availability of their IT infrastructure. A single IT outage can have huge negative business impacts including lost revenue and compliance failure, as well as decreased customer satisfaction and a tarnished brand reputation. Comprehensively monitoring IT infrastructure is key in detecting the early warning signs of impending IT outages and acting in real time to course correct before it’s too late.”
Downtime Is Expensive
The cost of even an hour of downtime can be staggeringly high, depending on the organization. Companies that have frequent outages and brownouts experience costs up to 16 times higher when mitigating and recovering from downtime than companies that have fewer instances of downtime. The “big six” costs identified by respondents include lost revenue, lost productivity, compliance costs, mitigation costs, damage to the brand, and lowered stock price.
IT Availability Matters
Approximately 80% of survey respondents report that the performance and availability of their IT infrastructure tops their list of concerns. In fact, availability was considered more important than security and cost-effectiveness, which ranked third and fourth, respectively. A DevOps engineer for a technology integration and management company said, “We support finance clients that deal with micro-transactions against the open market, so an outage or even a loss of connectivity to the stock exchange can quickly equate to lost dollars, and they hold us accountable for that.”
Downtime Is Rampant
The typical organization surveyed experienced five outages and five brownouts within the past three years. One in 10 actually suffered through 10 or more outages and 10 or more brownouts in that same three years. Although unified monitoring technologies exist to help mitigate these issues, IT leaders are surprisingly pessimistic about their ability to avoid outages and brownouts, with more than half saying they worry about experiencing a brownout or outage so severe that it makes the news. When such an event does happen, 53% fully expect someone to lose his or her job — perhaps even themselves.
Causes of Downtime
Survey participants report that the most common causes of disruptive downtime, which pose a threat to their key priorities of performance and availability, include network failure, usage spikes/surges, human error, software malfunction, infrastructure hardware failure, and third-party provider outages.
Survey respondents also reported that 51% of outages and 53% of brownouts are avoidable. The top-two missed opportunities to avoid downtime are:
- Failing to notice when usage is trending toward a danger level. For example, this might be more traffic than the network can efficiently handle, or it might be a primary storage share running out of space.
- Failing to notice that critical hardware (or software) performance is trending steadily downward.