How to achieve tomorrow’s connectivity today
In the age of the always-on business, downtime is increasingly unacceptable — even when it’s planned
Connectivity is driving a revolution in the way that companies address their IT needs. Gone are the days when businesses could operate from 8:00am to 5:00pm and still be successful. In today’s hyper competitive environment, the biggest challenge for businesses in the Middle East lies in becoming an ‘always-on business’, one that must operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. IT spend is growing with the market expected to peak in 2016, influenced by factors such as government investments for smart city projects, growing connected device usage, and increased corporate investments in software and IT bolstering. But are companies investing their money in the right solutions that offer availability and scalability for the continued change we anticipate in the future?
In the age of the always-on business, downtime is increasingly unacceptable — even when it’s planned and announced in advance. In 2015 any business that has any kind of online component must accept that its customers, employees and suppliers demand constant, uninterrupted availability. Even in the smallest hours of a Sunday morning, someone is going to want to make a purchase, check an account or log in to a system. There are occasions when there’s no alternative to taking an entire business offline for a few hours, but they should be very, very rare. It’s a CIO’s job to deliver the availability that customers and other key stakeholders demand.
The cost of downtime is not just in failing customer expectations - it has a direct impact on turnover. Globally, according to Veeam’s most recent Data Centre Availability Report, enterprises have unplanned downtime an average of 13 times a year, for up to 51 hours of downtime. Depending on whether the downtime affects mission-critical apps or not, that adds up over a year to an average cost of between $1.4 million and $2.2 million in lost revenue, decreased productivity and missed opportunities.
To keep pace with the rapidly evolving IT world, companies must provide services that are faster, more secure, better controlled, and have lower operational costs while increasing business agility. Data centres are being modernised in order to accommodate these requirements, by implementing server virtualisation, modern storage applications, and cloud-based services — but these represent only one aspect of what businesses must consider when updating their IT capabilities.
While the above-mentioned implementations are good at building scale, regional organisations must take into account the demands end users will have. These can include requiring around-the-clock access to data and applications, and the need for services to be 100% reliable, without any downtime or the risk of data loss. On top of this is the fact that data is growing rapidly, at a rate of 30% to 50% per year. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, global mobile data traffic reached 2.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2014, up from 1.5 exabytes per month at the end of 2013. To put that into perspective, last year’s mobile data traffic was nearly 30 times the size of the entire global internet in 2000.