New Research Shows Zero Downtime Important to IT But a Work in Progress

September 18, 2014

SUSE commissioned study says most organizations working to reduce downtime by upgrading hardware, applications and operating system functionality

Nuremberg, Germany

Nearly three-quarters of IT professionals surveyed said their organization considers achieving zero downtime for their enterprise computing systems an important goal, while a full 89 percent currently expect to experience downtime for their most important workload. That gap between the need for zero downtime and what enterprises are currently experiencing was uncovered in a recent study commissioned by enterprise Linux provider SUSE.

The good news is more than half (54%) of respondents indicated they are executing on a strategy to significantly reduce system downtime in the coming year, and another 17 percent have a strategy but haven't yet begun to implement it. Those strategies including upgrading or changing hardware (55%), applications (42%) and operating system functionality (34%).

"System downtime – particularly unplanned downtime – negatively affects organizations of all types and sizes, limiting growth, reducing revenue and affecting productivity," said Ralf Flaxa, vice president of engineering for SUSE. "CIOs and IT professionals recognize the need to reduce downtime, and they should work with software and hardware vendors who share their commitment to making near-zero downtime a reality."

To reduce unplanned downtime, respondents cited "leverage redundancy such as high-availability cluster" (51%), "snapshot and rollback function" (35%) and "upgrade OS" (32%) as likely steps. For reducing planned downtime, plans include snapshot/rollback (51%), better patching tools (40%) and live patching (36%).

Other key findings include:

  • The most important workloads to safeguard against downtime are email, virtualization hosts and Web servers, followed closely by industry-specific workloads unique to respondents’ industry or market.
  • In contrast, workloads most vulnerable to downtime threats are industry-specific workloads, virtualization hosts, Web servers and ERP, most likely due to its organization-wide impact.
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents said their most vulnerable workload was Web servers, making it the most at-risk workload.
  • Most respondents schedule planned downtime for their most important workloads, either monthly or quarterly.
  • Unplanned downtime, however, was experienced by 80 percent of respondents. Those that did suffer unplanned downtime encountered the problem an average of more than twice a year on their most important workload.
  • Technology failure was far and away the most prevalent source of unplanned downtime.

The study surveyed 105 IT professionals. The complete study results can be found at For more information about the zero downtime benefits of enterprise Linux, visit

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