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Is 0% Downtime Possible?


Is 0% Downtime Possible?

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Steve Jones
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Comments posted to this topic are about the content posted at http://www.sqlservercentral.com/columnists/sjones/is0downtimepossible.asp

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David.Poole
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The problem is that management believes in 0% downtime. Fortunately, they have 50% downtime so its not too hard to sync downtime where they won't notice.

The worst case of downtime was when some muggins switched off a server that had been happily running for 3 years solid. Once it had cooled the raid array had seized solid. Oh, and when they came to do the restore they found it had never been included on the back-up schedule for the network.

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Antares686
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The only thing you should have added is where you measure your downtime, 1 day, 1 month, Mon-Fri 8 to 5. We set our service levels based on tiem frames for each database and it's related applications not a general note of downtime. Other that grat simple article.

"Don't roll your eyes at me. I will tape them in place." (Teacher on Boston Public)



Robert W Marda
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Good article. I agree, 0% downtime is impossible. I liked David.Poole's comments on planning downtime when no one will notice. We do this all the time. Many of our rollouts of new features happen between 11PM an 1AM. This is when we have almost no one on our site and so, no one notices our planned downtime for changes.

Robert Marda

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Steve Jones
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Thanks guys, I have long felt that it was impossible overall and have adopted the items mentioned. There is always some maintenance window, sometimes on the spur of the moment .

I've tried and haven't figured it out. If the telco's can't do it over years, I figure it can't be done.

I agree with Antares that you have to build some downtime into your SLAs to handle this. BTW, I've worked with 7 long haul carriers and 5 co-location/managed service companies. Not one of them has 100% uptime for the network over a year.
Oh well...

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Antares686
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I worked previously with a telco and was suprised by how much the networks went down without anyones knowledge but the techs. A lot tracking goes on to keep in progress calls from dropping when a fiber cut occurrs and it almost instantly reroutes to another available circuit while carrying the call.

"Don't roll your eyes at me. I will tape them in place." (Teacher on Boston Public)



Steve Jones
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They have fantastic rerouting and fault tolerance. BUT, there is still downtime and not just my local circuit. Mostly I deal with data, but I have seen minutes to hours of downtime for links without rerouting, mainly when there are
1. a single route for an area. A good example was about five years ago ATT had a tremendous amount of frame traffic running from CA to the East through Las Vegas. The two fiber lines in the ring were physically close together and both were cut. Hours of downtime for frame customers.
2.Upgrades. Seen numerous cases with colos when a major router upgrade occurs, could be softare or hardware, there is a loop that occurs and the routers flap between themselves, sometimes cutting off large blocks of IPs. The 4-8 carriers supplying connectivity don't help here.

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Serge Shakhov
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Every kid knows that the absolute is unachievable. Question is how long downtime can be for 24x7 system? My record - 1 hour downtime in six months.



Steve Jones
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For SQL? I've run over 5-6 months on v6.5 with no downtime. Haven't really pushed the envelope on Ss2K, though I'd have to check my current box.

I used to run a Novell network (> 1400 nodes) and we had a server used by the Operations department for logging information. Best run I know of, > 500 days.

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jadero
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OK, so we're all pretty much in agreement that true 0% downtime is not achievable. Some have suggested that maybe we need to change the way we measure downtime. This is not just a fancy cop-out, but a recognition that 'downtime' at midnight may not really be downtime because the system is idle. I would like to add to that the idea that planned downtime may not really be downtime. I'm familiar with a few industries where full plant shutdowns are implemented for maintenance and upgrades and nobody counts this as downtime! Presumably, the expense and lost business are more than recovered through more stable, more efficient, and/or higher capacity systems.
What we really need is a way to 'profile' our downtime that takes into account user requirements, business requirments, presumed advantages associated with maintenance and upgrades, workload balancing, etc. Any ideas?



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