Covering Disruptive Technology Powering Business in The Digital Age

Home > DTA news > Blog > Forget the Six Nines, Here’s How You Can Achieve 100% Data Availability
Forget the Six Nines, Here’s How You Can Achieve 100% Data Availability
June 19, 2020 Blog


Recent global events have taught many businesses about the importance of being prepared for the unexpected. When setting up mission-critical systems, the biggest priorities are placed on minimising downtime and service interruptions. However, no matter what industry you’re in, problems can still occur; which can bring down your applications and servers, or accessibility to your data.

In order to reduce the impact of such occurrences, there’s now a greater need for the implementation of highly available systems that can automatically recover from failures or outages. Modern Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for IT systems are typically based on percentages of guaranteed uptime, to help businesses choose the “acceptable” amount of downtime they could realistically handle.

The most common ones include:

  • The four nines (99.99% availability, 52.60 minutes of unscheduled downtime per year);
  • The five nines (99.999% availability, 5.26 minutes of unscheduled downtime per year);
  • The six nines (99.9999% availability, 31.56 seconds of unscheduled downtime per year), and so on.

Improvements in technology have certainly helped vendors drive up the numbers to inch ever closer towards achieving 100% availability, or zero downtime.

Many different studies have explored the significant costs that downtime could have on modern businesses, so we won’t go into that in this article. However, while you may think that a few minutes of unplanned downtime a year doesn’t sound too bad, an outage occurring at just the wrong time – when you’re broadcasting at a live event or controlling remote machines in real-time for example – could have disastrous consequences.

Of course, in an ideal world, every organisation would welcome the peace of mind from having an always-available system. But for a long time, it required highly complex and costly setups. The teams at IBM continue to innovate and come up with new ways to help organisations address their IT challenges.

In terms of providing the simplicity required where it matters most; where and how you store your data, IBM has consolidated its storage offerings for customers. The new IBM FlashSystem is a family of products that were designed to address the varying storage requirements of organisations, ranging from startups to large-scale enterprises.

What’s truly innovative and powerful about IBM’s latest offerings is that each system is able to run the same software stack. With the IBM Spectrum Virtualize, you can enjoy consistent enterprise-class data services regardless of the type of storage you’re using (even those from other vendors). It also enables non-disruptive data movement, as well as container and cloud deployments.

Why is that important? For one, the future of storage is looking to be increasingly flash-centric. But flash isn’t just about speed. Because they do not contain moving parts, SSDs are more reliable and durable than spinning disks. When you do decide to make the upgrade (if you haven’t already), with IBM’s FlashSystem family, you can rest assured in the knowledge that your flash storage will integrate well with any legacy infrastructure. In addition, you can avoid the complexity that comes with using different management systems.

Here’s where the FlashSystem truly shines. Be it for the entry-level, mid-range or high-end arrays, IBM further promises “six nines” availability for its flash offerings with two- and three- site replication. When you pair that with the (optional) HyperSwap feature, you can even achieve a guaranteed 100% data availability – the following diagram details how HyperSwap does this.

If cost is a concern, IBM Spectrum Virtualize also offers advanced data efficiency features such as thin provisioning, compression and deduplication that can be used along with HyperSwap to minimise your total cost of ownership while maintaining two copies across sites.

With these capabilities from IBM, they not only make storage and constant data availability possible, they also help eliminate much of the complexity and cost issues that have made the adoption of such technologies out of reach for many companies.

To find out more about how your business can make storage simple and achieve 100% data availability, click here.