Conquering downtime

Conquering downtime is a battle on two fronts — here’s how to win


Getting towards continuous availability is about more than avoiding the sudden outages that stop your business in its tracks — you also need to tackle planned downtime. But the task is getting easier, as more organizations that rely on SAP services are now discovering.

Today, more than 70% of applications are now deemed ‘business-critical’ and even one minute of downtime can cost an average of $5,600, according to Garner — as explored in our recent white paper, Five Days to Value.

But to achieve continuous availability, IT teams really need to tackle downtime on both fronts — unplanned and planned. So, how’s this done effectively?


Being ready for the unexpected

Unplanned service outages  are disruptive, whether you’re running a factory, healthcare center, hotel chain, government agency, or any other operation that depends on IT services.  Every second that systems are not available results in lost productivity, which negatively impacts customer trust and translates into increased costs and lost revenue. IT staff find themselves pulled off important projects and under intense pressure to get everything up and running again.

Worse still, this can keep happening to a point where outages feel normal. Incredibly, Forrester found that some organizations were experiencing an average of 17 daily outages per day, as we reported in a recent blog. But there is a way to break the cycle and achieve near-zero downtime — by addressing the infrastructure that underpins your SAP services.

With SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for SAP Applica­tions, you can reduce the risk and impact of outages because business continuity and security features are built in.  Organizations like European insurer Achmea have been reaping the rewards. It’s seen availability for SAP HANA on Microsoft Azure rise to 99.9999%.

Meanwhile, Day & Zimmermann increased availability to 99.995% for its SAP HANA database systems. Chris Nega, the company’s Manager for Systems Engineering, tells the story: “With SUSE, the high availability features are built directly into the operating system, so there’s no additional cost or complexity. It’s really a no-brainer. Failover is completely automatic, it only takes a few seconds, and it has already helped us avoid several long outages.”


Planned downtime is a problem too

Unplanned outages can cause havoc, but there’s no ‘good downtime’. Taking systems offline in a relatively orderly way to fix vulnerabilities can still stifle business performance. Planned downtime will also put pressure on SLAs and create extra bureaucracy between IT and business lines that can sometimes prove fractious.

The answer here is live kernel patching from SUSE. There’s no need for system downtime or having to risk waiting until your next maintenance window. You can apply cumulative Linux kernel security or stability patches with no downtime, no performance impact — and no need to reboot the system for up to 365 days.

German-based GESIS, which provides IT services to the Salzgitter Group steel business, took this route. The company was finding it difficult to keep on top of essential system maintenance, operating system upgrades and security patching.

But with SUSE live patching, it can roll out software updates and security patches when required, without any service disruption. It’s potentially avoided about 125 hours of accumulated downtime across all SAP applications for every crucial security patch. It’s a stunning outcome.

Do you want continuous availability?

It’s time to join the growing number of organizations discovering that near-continuous availability for SAP systems can be a reality. Take a look at Say Goodbye to Downtime. Here you’ll find a wealth of insights and resources on how to maintain critical operations to sustain revenues.

Discover more at: Say Goodbye to Downtime.



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