Micro-Outages Have Macro Impact on User Experience (& the Bottom Line)

Micro-Outages Have Macro Impact on User Experience (& the Bottom Line)

We’ve all heard about them: pervasive downtime incidents that are so impactful, they actually make headlines.

Take fashion retailer J.Crew, for example: the company’s website crashed on Black Friday in 2018, one of the highest-demand shopping days of the year. Experts estimate that the downtime cost the business approximately $775,000 in sales while shoppers were unable to access the website and complete purchases. Worse still, the retailer isn’t alone, as big names including Walmart, GameStop and Lowe’s all lost out on considerable holiday shopping season revenue due to website outages on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Dayton Daily News reported.

Downtime events like these are highly publicized, as not only do the companies take a significant hit but loyal customers also become frustrated as well. According to an often-quoted Gartner statistic, the average cost of downtime can top $300,000 each hour, totaling as much as $7.2 million in a 24-hour period.

But what happens when downtime doesn’t take place over a long period, and a business instead deals with a smaller blip in performance, a.k.a. “micro-outage”? Are such events even worth discussing?

The short answer here is an emphatic, “yes.” While micro-outages may not pack the kind of punch of traditional downtime instances, they can create significant performance issues that affect the end-user experience and the company’s bottom line.

What’s a micro-outage?

As technology expert and Cedexis contributor Pete Mastin explained, a micro-outage is a shorter-term downtime incident that typically only lasts up to 20 minutes. These outages can be so small, and functionality be returned in such a short time, that they may not even violate the terms of service-level agreements. In some cases, micro-outages may even fly under the radar of IT admins.

These glitches, or temporary blips in performance, are often overlooked, and IT stakeholders may not even seek out the root cause; such activity is reserved for longer-term, more impactful downtime incidents. However, while user productivity may only be affected for mere minutes, if that, these micro-outages are still something that IT teams should be concerned about.

A single minute of downtime

Remember that Gartner statistic we discussed earlier? Let’s break it down further: Gartner experts estimate even a single minute of network downtime can cost a company $5,600.

In this way, even a relatively short outage incident can end up costing the business considerably. Retail giant Amazon learned this tough lesson back in 2013 when its website went dark for just a half hour. Taking the company’s net sales into account, the 30-minute outage racked up $66,240 in losses for Amazon for each minute. During the incident, Amazon lost nearly $2 million, Forbes reported.

However, the impacts of a micro-outage aren’t unique to retail organizations – even temporary performance drops can shake the previously steady productivity levels of employees within any type of business. When applications become unavailable, or don’t function as they should, users are unable to complete important daily tasks to support operations. A micro-outage is akin to throwing a stone into a pond: the ripples might be small at first, but quickly grow and radiate outward, eventually impacting the entire body of water (or, in the case of your organization, the entire business).

How to address micro-outages

While IT admins often overlook micro-outages and only seek out the root cause of a large-scale downtime incident after the fact, this is typically because the business lacks the in-depth monitoring technology required to pinpoint these early signs of performance hangups.

In order to address micro-outages, while preventing these issues from spinning out and creating larger-scale problems, today’s enterprises need advanced infrastructure performance monitoring technology that can offer granular visibility into key IT systems. In this way, any small performance glitches rooted in servers, storage, database, SAN or cloud environments don’t fly under the watchful eyes of the IT team, enabling stakeholders to proactively make adjustments and continually support the top-notch performance of their infrastructure.

Micro-outages may seem like a small issue, but they can have a great impact on your end users and your company. To find out more, connect with the experts at Galileo Performance Explorer today.

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