How much will you spend on application downtime this year?

Manual configuration errors can cost companies up to $72,000 per hour in Web application downtime, Phurnace Software survey finds.

Phurnace Software commissions Hurwitz & Associates to survey some 250 IT professionals about the cost of application maintenance, personnel and downtime.

When it comes to mission-critical applications, companies are willing to dole out a lot of cash to see results, but according to recent survey findings, the investment doesn’t always deliver a positive outcome. Yet despite large investments of personnel time and budget dollars, manual configuration errors resulting in Web application downtime can cost some companies up to $72,000, survey data shows.

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Phurnace Software, which provides technology to automate Web application deployments, commissioned Hurwitz & Associates to survey 249 IT professionals on the topic of Web application downtime. The results show the manual configuration errors can wreak havoc on one area of IT that garners much investment of budget dollars. According the results, the average company is spending $852,187 per year on personnel costs to create, maintain and support deployment scripts and dedicates 11 or more employees to the ongoing configuration, installation and deployment of Web applications. Analysts say a key factor to the cost is the frequency of manual transcription errors that occur when staff manually changes deployment scripts.

“The constant need to modify customer-facing applications, combined with the complex configuration requirements of Web servers, requires a heavy workload,” said Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz & Associates, in a statement. “IT management needs to have more predictable processes for managing Web application changes to avoid unexpected downtime.”

While application maintenance costs are increasing at a rate of20% annually, 35% of those polled said at least one-quarter of their downtime was caused by configuration errors. Nearly three-quarters regarded the downtime they experience as significant. And as more companies adopt virtualization technologies, the workloads of existing Web applications are increase, which 58% of survey respondents said was a “serious problem.” One possible option is automation technology, Hurwitz suggests, but survey results show that 70% of respondents do not employ an automation framework to launch their application deployment scripts and another 40% indicated they don’t use automation at all.

“We recommend that companies minimize or even eliminate the use of scripting by automating their deployment processes,” Hurwitz added. “Automation will make a significant different in the IT organizations ability to manage rising costs and keep critical Web applications fully operational.”

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