The government coming back “online” this week had me thinking of how little emphasis there is on defining the US Government as a critical resource compared to our demand for technology services. Before you think I am going to get all political, I am not.
I am actually looking at the percentage of time the government shutdown compared to the standards we use to rate value of online service delivery.
When we shop around for services we look at the percentage of availability of that service. Services can be anything from Internet web hosting to phone service who all seem to claim 99% guaranteed uptime. Most people think it is just clever to denote 99.99% uptime, instead of 99.9%. In actuality calculated by the amount of time that they have not been available over the course of a period of time. Service providers display this in their Service Level Agreement, which most people don’t read.
Here is a quick reference chart to see what I am talking about.
|Availability %||Downtime per year||Downtime per month*||Downtime per week|
|90% (“one nine”)||36.5 days||72 hours||16.8 hours|
|95%||18.25 days||36 hours||8.4 hours|
|97%||10.96 days||21.6 hours||5.04 hours|
|98%||7.30 days||14.4 hours||3.36 hours|
|99% (“two nines”)||3.65 days||7.20 hours||1.68 hours|
|99.5%||1.83 days||3.60 hours||50.4 minutes|
|99.8%||17.52 hours||86.23 minutes||20.16 minutes|
|99.9% (“three nines”)||8.76 hours||43.8 minutes||10.1 minutes|
|99.95%||4.38 hours||21.56 minutes||5.04 minutes|
|99.99% (“four nines”)||52.56 minutes||4.32 minutes||1.01 minutes|
|99.999% (“five nines”)||5.26 minutes||25.9 seconds||6.05 seconds|
|99.9999% (“six nines”)||31.5 seconds||2.59 seconds||0.605 seconds|
|99.99999% (“seven nines”)||3.15 seconds||0.259 seconds||0.0605 seconds|
In the world of Web Hosting, we put our most important systems on services with the highest availability rating. If that doesn’t reduce our risk factor enough, we take a website and spread it across multiple resources, or even have a backup server turn on, all to eliminate the need for an outage and to reduce that downtime potential.
Enter the US Government, who is just coming back online after 16 days of being shutdown. Using our 24 hour high availability chart, the US Government now holds a 95.61643836% uptime.
Unfortunately we designed this system we call a government to be able to shutdown without agreeing to a Service Level Agreement. We wouldn’t put our important systems in the hands of 95.6164% service levels. Perhaps we should address the fact that the government can and will shutdown again, before we decide what they should have the control of. I might actually read that Service Level Agreement.
Ok, we’ll call that political “undertone”.