Reliability: Part II of the hidden costs of Exchange providers
The other night, my Internet provider suddenly went down. This rarely happens, but when it does, it can bring the worst out of me. Especially when I was just getting ready to use that promotion I received in the email from L.L. Bean. I really wanted this pair of fuzzy warm slippers before winter comes.
When an essential service like the Internet is down at home, it can be frustrating. But if one of your essential infrastructure services is down in a business scenario, it can mean losing a sale. Missing your quota. Seeing your projects delayed. Not to mention IT staff dropping productive tasks to take care of the disruption.
That’s why you shouldn’t view service outages as an act of nature—you should view them as hidden costs of choosing the wrong provider.
Hidden cost #2: reliability issues
When you consider an IT service provider for email, phones, or other essential services, look closely at the service level agreement (SLA).
This is an important clause in the terms and conditions that you agree to when you sign up. The SLA defines what percentage of the time a provider commits that aservice will be available to users, excluding planned downtime.
Google Apps, for example, offers you a 99.9% uptime guarantee. And that could certainly sound like it’s reliable enough—that is, until you do the math.
Because over the course of a year, 99.9% uptime—or “three nines,” in industry terms—adds up to more than eight hours of unplanned downtime. Think about it this way: over the next year, your email couldbe unavailable for four-hour stretches at a time…not once, but twice… and the provider would still be within its 99.9% SLA.
Compare this to a 99.999% SLA. This uptime guarantee means that your provider stands behind an agreement to deliver less than six minutes of unplanned downtime over the course of a year.