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ITIC survey finds that corporate application availability requirements are increasing; 50% of businesses lack funds for new reliability technology.

BOSTON, MA (April 6, 2009) — Eight out of 10 businesses — 81% — report that their major business applications require higher availability rates than they did two or three years ago. However, nearly three-quarters of companies — 73% — are unable to quantify the cost of downtime or the impact that unplanned outages have on the business. Those are the results of a new survey from Information Technology Intelligence Corporation (ITIC), a high-tech research and consulting firm.

The survey polled 300 C-level executives and IT managers at 300 corporations worldwide. However, the survey findings also indicated that approximately half of all businesses — 49% — lack the budget for high availability technology. Additionally, 40% of the respondents said they don’t understand what qualifies as high availability. Eight out of 10 IT managers can’t quantify the cost of downtime to their C-level executives.

“The demand for application availability has grown, particularly with the emergence of Virtualization 2.0. However, network uptime isn’t keeping pace. Only two out of 10 companies understand that four nines — 99.99% availability and above — is what they need today. The inability of users to put valid metrics and cost formulas in place to track and quantify what uptime means to their organization is woefully inadequate,” said Laura DiDio, Principal at ITIC.

Survey Results Summary:

  • 54% of IT managers and executives surveyed said more than two-thirds of their companies’ applications require the highest level of availability. Yet, 41% said would be satisfied with conventional 99 to 99.9% availability for their most critical applications, which does not qualify as a high-availability or continuous-availability solution.
  • 81% said the number of applications that demand high availability has increased in the past two-to-three years.
  • Of those who said they have been unable to meet service level agreements (SLAs), 72% can’t or don’t keep track of the cost and productivity losses created by downtime.

End User Comments:

  • “We are continually being asked to do more with less. We are now at a point, where the number of complex systems requiring expert knowledge has exceeded the headcount needed to maintain them … I am dreading vacation season.”
  • “We are an Application Service Provider. While our SLA guarantees are fairly modest – 98% uptime – We have found that we have to compensate our larger clients for any significant downtime. We had a half day outage a couple of years ago which cost us in excess of $40,000 in goodwill payouts to a handful of our clients, despite the fact that it was the first outage in 5 years.”
  • “If people knew the actual dollar value their customers represent, they’d already have the necessary software availability solutions in place to safeguard applications.”
  • “Most of the time, our biggest concerns center around keeping what we have running and available. Change usually costs money, and at the moment our budgets are simply in survival mode.”

Survey Methodology and Background

The ITIC survey was commissioned by Stratus Technologies in Maynard, MA. ITIC conducted a blind, non product-specific survey of 300 IT professionals and queried them on their application availability requirements, virtualization and service level agreement compliance. None of the respondents received any remuneration. The Web-based survey consisted of multiple choice and essay questions. ITIC analysts also conducted two dozen first person customer interviews to obtain detailed anecdotal data.

Respondents ranged from SMBs with 100 users to very large enterprises with over 100,000 end users. Industries represented: academic, advertising, aerospace, banking, communications, consumer products, defense, energy, finance, government, healthcare, insurance, IT services, legal, manufacturing, media and entertainment, telecommunications, transportation, and utilities. None of the survey respondents received any remuneration for their participation.

About Information Technology Intelligence Corporation (ITIC)

ITIC, founded in 2002, is a research and consulting firm in suburban Boston. It provides primary research on a wide variety of technology topics for vendors and enterprises. ITIC’s mission is to help its clients make sense of the technology and business events and provide tactical, practical and actionable advice. For more information visit ITIC’s website at http://itic-corp.com.

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