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System availability is calculated by dividing uptime by the total sum of uptime and downtime. System availability is used to gauge if an asset’s production potential is being maximized, which has a direct impact on the financial health of a business. A software release life cycle depicts the stages of development and maturity for a piece of a software product. As we have seen, general availability is when a company releases a product for public use.

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Early Life failures can often be very frustrating, time consuming, and expensive, leaving a poor first impression of the system’s quality. Thus, before the completion of deployment and “going live” with a production system, you should test it in its actual target environment under the intended production usage profile first. This Early Life testing is basically testing to ensure there are no damaged products. In addition to potential manufacturing errors not covered by manufacturing test, products can be damaged in shipment, storage, installation, or deployment. High availability software can help engineers create complex system architectures that are designed to minimize the scope of failures and to handle specific failure modes.

Availability: System Design Concept

That means that the product is live and good enough for people to purchase. So imagine a client or customer sues the provider saying they promised “2 nines” of uptime in the SLA, while arguing using the latter definition that they only are providing one nine of uptime. To give an example of how these two definitions can differ, consider a hypothetical company which takes down it’s servers for 8 hours every Tuesday in order to do maintenance which is accounted for in their SLA.

  • Effective data backup prevents catastrophic loss of critical information and maintains data integrity.
  • This information is valuable for developing preventive maintenance and replacement strategies as needed during Wear Out.
  • In IT terms, availability means how easy it is to access data or resources in a usable format.
  • As we have seen, general availability is when a company releases a product for public use.
  • There may be several ways to measure the probability of failure of system components that impact the availability of the system.
  • This increasing failure rate is due primarily to expected part wear out.

Software Update means a package used to upgrade software to a new version including a change of the configuration parameters. General Availability means the date a version of Software was first made available to be licensed by Sandvine customers.

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This characteristic is commonly measured using a KPI called mean-time-to-repair . MTTR is a maintenance metric that measures the average time required to troubleshoot and repair failed equipment. It reflects how quickly an organization can respond to unplanned breakdowns and repair them.

availability software definition

A system with 5 nines (i.e., 99.999%) of availability is said to have a Gold Standard of Availability. Many of us may have experienced moments where we could not access certain applications due to an outage or unavailability. Recently, YouTube faced a global outage that stopped users from streaming videos for about an hour.

Availability vs Durability vs Reliability vs Resilience vs Fault Tolerance

An organization may consider service outage to occur only when a certain percentage of users have been affected. MTBF and MTTR can be used to predict both reliability and availability during Useful Life and, along with usage profiles, can help predict the number of spares needed. Pre-Life is focused on understanding the level of availability needed and planning for it. This paper addresses the basic concepts of availability in the context of downtime avoidance.

The cloud infrastructure may provide simple fault detection and restart at the virtual machine level. However, restarts can take several minutes resulting in lower availability. Additionally, cloud services cannot detect software failures within the virtual machines.

What is the definition of ‘Availability’?

It is important to note that redundancy alone is not enough to guarantee high availability. Failure detection mechanisms must also be in place to identify failures. This requires regular high-availability testing and the ability to take corrective action whenever one of the components in the system becomes unavailable. In high-demand applications, we usually measure availability in terms of Nines rather than percentages. If availability is 99.00 percent available, it is said to have “2 nines” of availability, and if it is 99.9 percent, it is called “3 nines,” and so on.

availability software definition

At the low end, there was a PC server platform with availability below 97.5%, which is a poor level in availability measurements. It is also related to the recovery strategies, service responsiveness, and maintainability of the system. Scheduled uptime is a statement of the customer’s business requirements of system availability. Excluding scheduled maintenance, the 7 x 24 shops require continuous system availability.


Applications are run on a primary server and in the event of a failure, application operation is moved to secondary server where they continue to operate. Because availability is so tied to the financial What does availability mean software health of a company, it is commonly used as a key business metric in production-heavy organizations. However, it’s also heavily connected to what several other departments do, including maintenance.

That’s why at PagerDuty, reliability is at the heart of how we help our customers elevate work to the outcomes that matter. General availability is when a product is made widely accessible to the consumer . We help your organization save time, increase productivity and accelerate growth. Everything fails at some point so the best way to optimize system availability is to plan on when and how your assets will fail. When building your system, consider availability concerns during all aspects of your system design and construction.

Why Are Availability and Reliability Crucial?

High Availability Software running inside the cloud virtual machines can detect software failures in seconds and can use checkpointing to ensure that standby virtual machines are ready to take over service. Business applications at major corporations require high levels of software quality and overall system availability. Servers with system availability less than 99.9%, which is the threshold value for high availability, may not be adequate to support critical operations. As reported in Business Week (“Software Hell,” 1999), at the New York Clearing House , about $1.2 trillion in electronic interbank payments are cleared each day by two Unisys Corporation mainframe computer systems.


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