Why High Availability?
Due mainly to the high costs caused by unscheduled shutdowns. An unscheduled shutdown due to system failures can involve serious implications for the business. These implications can be tangible or intangible and each of them has a different impact, with consequences such as loss of reputation for the company, high penalties, loss a complete production batch, or in some sectors it could even put into risk human lives. According to a survey by the ARC consulting group, the worldwide process industry loses €15,000 million or a 5% or its year production due to unscheduled downtimes. The cost of this unproductive time is approx. €9,500 per hour on average; in industries such as Pharmaceutical and Oil & Gas it is even higher.
High costs due to unscheduled downtimes
In the industry and infrastructure environment, unscheduled downtimes can involve high costs due to:
Loss of revenues
During a shutdown no products are manufactured or hired services are not supplied. This means that the expected revenues are not generated.
Not being able to deliver a product or service according to the schedule or the service level can involve the payment of fines and penalties, from hundreds to millions of euros depending on the industry.
Long restart times
Without a high availability strategy, restart times tend to be excessive since there is no method enabling to recover the system to its previous condition.
Loss of company reputation
A bad image or bad press after a service supply failure or a product incorrectly manufactured can have a very relevant financial impact for the company. It can decrease its shares and its stock value.
Loss of productivity
There’s a loss of productivity since workers are no longer able to perform their duties.
Loss of a production batch
In some cases, an unscheduled shutdown can destroy a complete production batch due to the compliance of norms, especially in the Food, Beverages and Pharmaceutical industries.
Higher equipment TCO
The unavailability of equipment when they are scheduled for production increases the TCO (total cost of ownership). This includes industrial equipment such as machines, HMIs, PLCs and computing devices associated to manufacturing processes: PCs, servers and IT equipment on the whole.
High Availability for Real-Time Control Systems
After the invention of the first machine the concept of downtime was also born. In real-time control systems, the downtimes are so present that they become a key part of the business planning systems.
Technology advances during the last centuries have enabled ever sophisticated real-time control systems, highly dependent on computing systems which are made of a high number of related technologies.
High Availability emerges as a response to this dependency, ensuring that devices, applications and data are operative for the users, anytime and with no interruptions.