System availability means availability of a complete application when some one wants to make use of it (Michael Hawking 2002). Availability is measured end to end for any of the system application. All the components that make up the system or the application should be available to mark it as system available…
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This study aims at identifying the system availability and measuring it; enabling the company to improve upon their own performance.
System availability is normally considered as the uptime of the hardware. But for the users, it is not just the PC hardware that matters; all the components that make the application including software and other networking / printing components also ensure that the system availability is dependent on them. It becomes imperative that the system availability is evaluated under such conditions. According to Piedad and Hawkins (2001), availability of the systems is how it is perceived by the users. Hence users need to be checked out even before drawing the SLAs to ensure that the requirements of the users are driven rather than the thoughts of the CIO. This will ensure that the system is made available to the users in the right form and style. This lack of understanding and not knowing what is expected out of the IT systems is not known to a number of designers. This leads to a problem.
The second issue arises when critical issues are not addressed and in lieu of the right fixes for the critical issues, lean solutions are used to fix them. This increases the probability of a failure at the earliest point of time. The chain is as strong as its weakest link! The four key elements that make up the complete chain needs to be tackled according to Piedad and Hawkins (2001), Processes, Data, Tools and Organization. For instance, a failure in the process could also lead to a downtime. It is not only the hardware that has to be up and running but also the entire system should be up. The software, availability of the data at the right instance, tools to run and use the applications needed and the entire organization of the system should be in line with the availability. A failure to maintain the entire chain up and running would lead to a down time (Robin Sahner 1996).
The third issue comes when appropriate standby facilities are not maintained. This happens when there is no backup of data or the repairing features for the software under fault conditions are not maintained. All these issues need to be sorted out if the uptime or the system availability is to be maintained. In addition to this, the cost of ownership needs to be kept within the budgetary limits (Michael Hawkins 25 May 2001).
Solutions to the Problem
The solutions to the issues listed above:
1. In order to fully understand the requirements of the users and also to appreciate the user standpoint, it is important that they are involved at all levels of system design and implementation. This can be achieved by ensuring that the requirements are individually listed and analyzed after identification. Requirements identification and capturing has taken different perceptions over a period of time (Vinay Shet 2006). Methods like Scenario based requirements capture has been successful particularly in identifying hard and soft requirements of the clients (Carl Olefson 2005).
2. The weakest link is the one that would break first. In the entire system design, the availability has to be taken care of on the whole and not individually. It is therefore, important for the administrator to ensure that the entire system is taken into consideration and the issues concerning all of them are noticed and sent across sorted out (LSI 2006). Only
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