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637 posts

Ultimate Geek

#146789 29-May-2014 10:22
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Just curious after a recent chat with a colleague and a customer.

We (a business application vendor where the hardware and OS is always managed by the customer) have always rather loosely defined downtime as an unscheduled system wide outage.  Which in hindsight makes it easy to claim a 99.99...% uptime.

Some of the points of the chat were that should we be considering planned outages for application hotfixes and configuration changes as downtime.

What would you guys n gals consider as downtime?

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Uber Geek


  #1055734 29-May-2014 10:39
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Downtime is measured periods of unavailability of services, applications, systems due to planned or unplanned events.

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  #1055737 29-May-2014 10:46
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How long is a piece of string? Definitions are open to negotiation and depend entirely on the service you offer.

Good place to start:

ome definitions only include unplanned outages as downtime - i.e. you can have 99.99% but have a 12 hour planned outage - but that is rubbish imo.


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  #1056130 29-May-2014 18:23
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I have always understood downtime of the complete system (or in ITIL terms, service) as being the period of time that the 'user' is unable to use that system/service.   The term complete system may in my mind  also include sub-systems where it may be ok for them to suffer an outage. For example, in a system where two servers perform the same task, it may be ok for one server to be offline for maintenance during a maintenance window (a low load time for example) but the complete system remains available providing the service to the customer.

I would expect an SLA for an application vendor providing support at that level to cover the scope [of the service] for which one is responsible for and for which the 'downtime' would be applicable to.  For example, if one is not responsible for the infrastructure [required to run the application], the downtime might include all outages where the service [provided by the application] was unavailable - in my book, that would include taking the application offline to perform an upgrade (assuming that there was only one server).

It would also be likely that you would have an OLA defined for the relationship between yourself as the service provider and those providing support for the underlying infrastructure. 

99.99% is about 1 day elapsed is it not (or thereabouts).

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  #1056142 29-May-2014 18:34
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If jane bloggs, the receptionist for happy doctor co. cannot open the medical practice program (for any reason) to schedule an appointment for a patient with dr. happy, then thats downtime as far as the company is concerned.


So your planned maintanence for hotfixes or updates needs to be in the evenings when the downtime will least likely affect the staff at your customers office.

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  #1056210 29-May-2014 20:16
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In my experience, downtime is any period in which a system or service is unavailable at a time it normally would be, whether that be by scheduled or unscheduled cause. However, in some cases I've dealt with products that are specifically available at certain times (e.g. 6am - 6pm mon - fri) and is not available outside these times. This unavailability wouldn't be 'downtime'. If it were unavailable within this time period, even planned, it would be downtime.

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  #1056422 30-May-2014 10:58
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Downtime is time when staff dont have access to PC's, email or applications they use .

clients need to be reasonable re- downtime.
If they want app's fixed, security fixes applied, patches applied etc, then they need to know there will be downtime.
Sometimes this can be organised to be done after hours (ie server Win-updates) , sometimes thats impractacle & they just have to put up with some downtime, or they dont want to pay for after hours work.

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