outages, quality monitoring, trouble tickets, etc

Matt Zimmerman mdz at netrail.net
Tue Nov 28 23:31:56 UTC 1995

On Mon, 27 Nov 1995, Jon Zeeff wrote:

> Being in the web hosting business, we measure our own "availability"
> and that of others.  The top providers do 99.9%.  The median
> in our sample group is 98.5%.  That's about 15 times worse and
> 11 hours/month.
> It's amazing how many of the companies in the low 98s claim 99.9%.

I'd be terribly interested to know how you obtained these figures...we do 
web hosting services as well.  I had one of our clients complain angrily 
for weeks that his web site was frequently "down" because he couldn't get 
to it from AOL.  I had to sit him down and show that his site was 
operational and accessible from a dozen other sites to convince him that 
AOL was the exception, and that our connectivity and server reliability 
were not to blame.

I find it hard to believe that many providers could offer only 98% 
reliability (assuming, of course, that this is a measurable quantity; 
this is shaky ground); this implies that over an average period of 100 
hours (less than 4.2 days), there exists a total of 2 _hours_ of 
"downtime" (assuming, again, that this, too, is determinable in any 
meaningful sense).

> We also offer guarantees to some of our customers.  If we don't meet
> x% availability, we refund $xx.  It's not enough to break us, but
> it does reassure the customer that we are concerned.

Do you take the customer's word for it?

> If more providers did this, we would probably see much more
> rapid progress towards more reliable networks.  As it is, nobody
> has a quantifiable cost for "unreliability".

I think the reason for this is obvious.  If a customer complains that 
your network is unreliable because he can't reach it from point X, do you 
give him a refund?  Not all of us can afford that...I know we get more 
than a few complaints of this type every month.

// Matt Zimmerman       Chief of System Management           NetRail, Inc.
// mdz at netrail.net                                       sales at netrail.net
// (703) 524-4800 [voice]    (703) 524-4802 [data]    (703) 534-5033 [fax]

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