Businesses across multiple industries are facing a growing number of pressure points as customers and users demand constant online access. These crunch points heighten the possibility and potential damage of downtime, which will become progressively costly as the need to be always-on increases.
With the summer holidays now in full-flow across Europe this is exactly the case for the travel industry. The aviation trade is booming with 3.7 billion passengers set to board flights this year, to the extent that Boeing has forecast that 38,000 new aeroplanes will be required to deal with the demand by 2018.
This need to accommodate passengers and cargo coincides with savvy consumers increasingly demanding more for less from their airlines – as a result the cost per airline ticket is declining while on-time demands increase.
The implications of downtime for companies across the aviation industry are potentially massive. Not only is the cost of just one hour of aircraft downtime due to maintenance failures in excess of £10,000, unexpected periods of downtime could see businesses losing out on millions of pounds per month.
The pressure is therefore building on airlines to ensure they are online and available at all times, but it also impacts on businesses up and down the travel industry chain.
An industry pressure point
Just think about the number of businesses and providers you have touchpoints with when going on holiday. A few minutes of downtime can frustrate and anger passengers, but it also has costly effects on businesses that survive on the ensured smooth running of flights.
IT plays a role in almost every airport operation, from passenger check-in, security checks and flight information screens through to baggage sorting, gate finding and baggage carousels. These processes and workflows are supported by more than 25 mission-critical systems such as security, identity management, Airport Operational Database (AODB) and an enterprise service bus (ESB). These systems are often rooted in niche and bespoke applications, as well as pervasive back-office applications including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Active Directory, SharePoint and Exchange.
So if an airport’s system goes down then this has obvious effects on the companies that provide baggage checking technology in the airport, and the providers of software that power car hire systems at airport stores, both of which will be disrupted by delayed passengers.
Whenever downtime occurs the knock-on effects impact businesses including travel agents and holiday operators, through to technology providers in airports as well as travel providers and hotels when passengers reach their desired destination.
This is particularly troublesome during the summer months, which are usually the busiest time of year for all of these companies. It’s the worst time for IT systems to go down, so it’s vital that businesses do everything they can to ensure they remain constantly available throughout this period.
The challenges are not solely isolated to the travel industry, as businesses across all sectors are coming under increasing pressure to be always-on and avoid downtime at all times.
Put procedures in place early
The average downtime of critical applications for UK companies is five hours, which could be a particularly damaging length of time to have IT systems unavailable. To ensure that services, applications and data are available throughout the holiday season, it is not only important to focus on IT solutions but also routine. Planning for restoring data, in the fastest and easiest way possible, is essential if businesses are to avoid unnecessary downtime and loss of revenue.
However, the average number of failures in modern enterprises remains high, with 84 per cent of senior IT decision makers worldwide admitting suffering an ‘Availability Gap’ between what IT can deliver and what users demand. This gap costs $16 million a year in lost revenue and productivity, in addition to the negative impact on customer confidence and brand integrity (according to 68 percent and 62 percent of respondents, respectively). This cost only increases as time passes, and unless procedures are put in place before the holiday season, there is a high risk of unnecessarily long downtime and high revenue loss.
To avoid these issues, businesses should ensure they have resilient, highly available IT infrastructures and fast VM recovery tools in place.
This will help to prevent the possibility of costly downtime, data loss and delays and ensure 24.7.365 availability of IT systems.
Richard Agnew is Vice President of North-West EMEA, Veeam