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In a recent briefing with Stratus Technologies (http://www.stratus.com) about the company's fault-tolerant, high-availability Stratus ftServer product line, Larry Sherman, vice president of business development, provided information about the Stratus Uptime Meter. For almost 2 years, the Uptime Meter has been tracking the availability of installed ftServer systems worldwide that run Windows. The company prominently displays the current uptime percentage on its Web site. The meter recalculates uptime every day from all reported service incidents (both hardware- and nonapplication software­related incidents) over the preceding 6-month period from 1500 systems attached to the company's service network. The results consistently report that ftServer systems surpass five nines of uptime.

What does this mean in terms of cost? At press time, the reading was 99.9997 percent uptime, or an average of only 1.5 minutes of downtime per server per year. "Gartner puts the average cost of downtime at $108,000 per hour," Larry said. Based on this figure, the average cost per year of downtime per ftServer comes in at $2700.