What is Real Availability in Your Cloud?

The way the cloud industry measures availability needs to change. It is not acceptable to use a blunt tool that measures the availability of a cloud service up to the edge of the cloud service provider’s infrastructure. It has to start from the customer’s perspective. Seeing availability from their lens takes into account all issues that could affect service. “Real Availability” is a new term that we have defined and anticipate other cloud providers adopting in the near future.

Incidents Affecting Cloud Availability

Real Availability is the true measure of customer availability by looking at every incident that results in a customer outage (a Priority 1 or P1 incident). We see four groups of P1s:

  1. incidents caused by our infrastructure
  2. incidents caused by the software on our Service Automation Platform
  3. incidents caused by a third-party provider
  4. incidents caused by our customer.
P1 Incident Root Causes

P1 Incident Root Causes Over Last Year

Looking at the root causes of our P1 incidents for the past year, we see 27% caused by our ServiceNow infrastructure, 28% caused by software issues on the our ServiceNow Platform, 4% caused by Third Party Providers, and 42% caused by our customers.

What’s interesting here is that we’ve expanded the definition of what availability is, by shifting our focus to see as the customer sees it. We take the traditional view and then make it more inclusive of all the real world inhibitors to availability.

Owning Availability

All P1 customer incidents indicate an outage or critical business situation and are included in our Real Availability calculations. Because of our multi-instance architecture, we have the ability to examine the affect of each P1 incident against every individual customer instance and calculate Real Availability for each customer instance.

We publish Real Availability for each customer covering the last 90 days on a Dashboard built within the ServiceNow platform (see graphic below).

ServiceNow Availability Dashbord

ServiceNow Availability Dashboard

I go into greater detail in my ServiceNow Community blog post on how we calculate availability.

When it comes to owning the Real Availability, we partner with our customers and focus on their perspective. This partnership and transparency is critical to our customer’s experience of availability and our customer’s experience when working through incidents with our Customer Support team. Real Availability changes the game for the industry when talking about customer experience.

We look forward to other cloud providers matching the Real Availability experience on the enterprise cloud.

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Allan Leinwand
Allan Leinwand has built a reputation for managing the world’s most demanding clouds – in B2B and B2C. He is the chief technology officer at ServiceNow responsible for building and running the ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud – the second largest enterprise cloud computing environment on the planet. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing all technical aspects and guiding the long-term technology strategy for the company. Before joining ServiceNow, Leinwand was chief technology officer – Infrastructure at Zynga, Inc. where he was focused on building one of the largest consumer cloud computing environments used in the delivery of the company’s social games to more than 80 million players daily. He got his start as a cloud pioneer at Cisco before “cloud computing” was a term and the idea of accessing applications from anywhere was still very new. In addition to expertise in running large enterprise cloud computing environments, he also provides expertise in software engineering, quality engineering and product-market fit to companies including Spoke, Inc.; Bulletproof 360, Inc.; MapAnything, Inc.; Founders Circle Capital; and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is a Board member of Marin Software. Leinwand has served as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught computer networks, network management and network design. He holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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