2014 was a very good year for uptime … with some exceptions

It’s pretty much undisputed that the cloud can provide efficiency and cost-savings that hosting apps or data on site can’t always match. But there’s always been a big caveat to that: In order to get those benefits, you need the cloud to be available and running smoothly. 

The goal of 100% uptime has always been tantalizingly close, but just out of reach. Brief outages aren’t necessarily common, but they will happen over a long enough time period. But in 2014, those outages were increasingly rare – and some providers touched the elusive “five-nines” mark, or an uptime of more than 99.9990%.

A very good year

Of the largest cloud providers, Google had perhaps the most impressive record, measuring its downtime in minutes, not hours. Its Cloud Platform had only 14 minutes of downtime in the last year, according to tracking firm CloudHarmony. Google Compute Engine was slightly behind with 3.27 total hours of downtime over the last 12 months.

Other standouts among major providers:

  • Joyent (1.59 hours of downtime all year)
  • Hosting.com (1.95 hours)
  • Amazon AWS (2.41 hours) and S3 (2.69 hours), and
  • Rackspace Cloud (4.04 hours).

One major provider that didn’t have such a great year is Microsoft Azure. Azure Virtual Storage had 10.97 hours of downtime and Virtual Machines had 42.94 hours. Both, however, were good enough for more than 99.90% uptime.

Percentages aren’t everything

It may not seem as if there’s a huge difference between 99.9% and 99.999% uptime. Generally, what matters is when that downtime occurs and how long it lasts at a time.

In order to prevent that downtime – however rare or infrequent it may be – from hurting your bottom line or bringing business to a grinding halt, you’ll need to be prepared for outages of any duration.

In order to prevent outages from ruining your day, consider:

  • Looking into refunds. Some providers will offer discounts for not meeting uptime requirements. This may not eliminate all the headaches that come with an outage, but it could help take some of the sting out.
  • Use a variety of partners. Spreading your services an apps across a variety of partners may prevent a single outage from being devastating.
  • Keep some things to yourself. If there’s a business critical app that you need at all times or another service that you can’t do without access to, keeping it in-house may be the way to go – provided, of course, you’re reasonably sure you can maintain it to a high level.

Make Smarter Tech Decisions

Get the latest IT news, trends, and insights - delivered weekly.

Privacy Policy