Cloud outages cost business $70 million a year

Many companies have yet to move their most critical applications to the Cloud because they’re worried about the stability and reliability of cloud services. And, according to a new report, they may have good reason to be concerned. 

Cloud services are available an average of 99.9% of the time, according to a recent study conducted by a organization known as the International Working Group on Cloud Computing Resiliency (IWGCR). Formed by two Paris-based higher education institutions, Telecom ParisTech and Paris 13 University, the group started its study in March of this year.

That sounds like a lot of up-time, but in actuality, it’s far from the 99.999% availability that the researchers note should be expected for a mission critical system. On average, cloud services are down for 7.5 hours every year, accounting for a loss of more than $70 million to businesses.

To get its data, researchers compiled news about outages from major cloud service providers. Of course, that’s not exactly an exhaustive approach, because many outages, especially those that are shorter, never show up in the news.

Also, many of the outages that were included in the report affected largely consumer-driven services such as Google Docs and web-based email services. If researchers only looked for services meant to deliver critical business applications, the average up-times may have been a lot higher.

Regardless of the data, the report does point out a critical fact for businesses considering turning to cloud services: There’s always a risk of some length of down-time with a cloud-based application. So when choosing a cloud computing provider, it’s important to get as much information as possible about how reliable the service is and what the vendor does when there is an outage.

It’s also important to negotiate cloud contracts that have up-time gaurantees and real repercussions for the provider when those terms are violated.

To learn more about IWGCR’s study, download the report here.

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