Applications are at the center of business. The IT systems that underpin the modern economic landscape are used via applications that staff and customers expect to be available 24x7. Keeping these applications online and responsive is vital to all organizations' financial, reputational, and operational health. Maximizing application availability is foundational to delivering a good user experience for staff and customers.
The Risks of Application Downtime Your Company Cannot Ignore
If staff cannot perform their job function due to applications being offline, then there is an obvious hit on productivity. This downtime will often have additional knock-on effects for others in the organization or business partners when workflows get blocked by an offline application. In extreme cases, application downtime can lead to shutdowns on the factory floor in manufacturing businesses. Incidents like this are very costly both in direct lost production, and there can be additional costs restarting a production line.
Downtime to an application that clients or business partners rely on can result in significant reputational damage. People using applications expect a seamless experience, and any interruption to services can (and will) drive them to other services and competitors. This is especially true if outages are frequent. Reputational damage gets compounded if the downtime is due to a cyber attack that also results in a data breach.
A direct result of the statement above about people moving to other services when they don't get the experience they expect is lost sales in an online shopping application. Information shows that 50% of customers will abandon their online shopping carts if web pages don't load in six seconds (ref 1). This shows that an application doesn't have to be offline completely to have an adverse impact. It can also lead to lost sales and revenue if the application is slow to respond. If an application is slow, that's equivalent to downtime.
Missed business opportunities
In addition to direct loss of sales, an offline or slow application with a poor user experience will lead to missed business opportunities. Potential clients using your web application as part of their product evaluation process will move on to competitors if their user experience is not top-notch. The same is true for potential B2B partners using your online applications to see if they could work with your organization.
On top of lost sales, there are many other costs that accrue when there is unplanned application downtime. One cost often overlooked is the IT team's time and resources to analyze, troubleshoot, and fix any issue. When doing this in response to an emergency, they are not doing other planned activities and projects designed to improve the business. Downtime often results in staff working in manual ways via paper records for the duration of the outage, and then having to revisit activities that they recorded on paper to input them into the applications when they are available again. The costs of a downtime incident in dollars can range from low five figures up to high six-figure sums for larger organizations if the outage is severe. For Fortune 1000 companies, downtime costs can even be millions of dollars per hour (ref 1).
High Availability Greatly Reduces the Risk of Downtime
By deploying LoadMaster load balancers to manage access to your application servers, you can essentially eliminate the risk of unplanned downtime for on-premise applications. Also, by deploying Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB), you can load balance applications across geographically spread data centers to mitigate the risk of a disaster taking a complete location offline. See ref 2 linked below for more details on Kemp LoadMaster.
LoadMaster Delivers High Availability
I’ll highlight two here.
- Texas A&M selects Kemp for "headache-free load balancing & no client downtime" - Texas A&M University is the sixth-largest university in the country with 50,000 students. Its management team was looking for a solution to work across their 40+ departments and multiple campus locations to deliver a seamless and always-on application experience for the staff and students. After an extensive evaluation, they selected LoadMaster, and haven't looked back (ref 4).
- Irish National Broadcaster (RTÉ) uses LoadMaster to broadcast Irish Rugby triumph - When Ireland played France in a nail-biting match to win the rugby Six Nations Championship, tens of thousands of viewers watched the game via the internet on RTÉ Player – the web-based portal for Ireland's national public-service broadcaster. For RTÉ, they knew this match would also be a severe test of its recently upgraded internet systems, comprising some 300 servers to deliver the action in real-time worldwide. With the help of newly installed LoadMaster load balancers, online Irish rugby fans could watch their team beat France and take the championship. It's hard to overstate how important keeping this broadcast online was to RTÉ and to Ireland as a whole (ref 5).
- Progress: Application Experience landing page - https://www.progress.com/application-experience
- Kemp: What is Load Balancing? - https://kemptechnologies.com/what-is-load-balancing
- Kemp: Case Studies and Customer Success Stories - https://kemptechnologies.com/customers-success-stories
- Kemp: Texas A&M selects Kemp for "headache-free load balancing & no client downtime" - https://kemptechnologies.com/customers-success-stories/texas-am-university
- Kemp: Proper load balancing ensures uninterrupted viewing of championship rugby game - https://kemptechnologies.com/customers-success-stories/kemp-helps-irish-tv-broadcaster-deliver-six-nations-championship-win