Iris Zarecki

Is It The End of “Five Nines” Availability?

  • July 21, 2015
  • 2 min read

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In the aftermath of the trio of high profile outages that hit NYSE, Wall Street Journal, and United Airlines earlier this month, some industry analysts raised the question of whether such outages are inevitable in today’s IT environment.

In the days of Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), it was common for phone companies to offer 99.999% reliability, which allowed for about five minutes of downtime a year. As the WSJ article states, today’s networks are far less expensive, infinitely more capable and nowhere near as reliable. The NYSE outage lasted about four hours, or nearly 50 years of allowable downtime using the “five nines” standard.

Today’s reliability problems are a reflection of the complexity and interdependency of computer systems, the pace of change, and insufficient organizational and cultural practices, according to former NYSE Euronext CIO Paul Cassell, now CIO of Pico Quantitative Trading LLC.

Our own survey results show that even “four nines” is a tough goal. As many as sixty three percent (63%) of the respondents that have this goal for their critical systems have not been able to meet it.

What do you think?

Is “five nines” availability a realistic expectation in today’s environment?

Respond to our poll question and see what other readers think.

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