High Availability Business Scenarios

Business Scenarios for High AvailabilityIn the following blog I present four high availability business scenarios that have been hand selected based on their clear need for some type of high availability solution. Each of the following sections provides a short summary of a business scenario, followed by a much more in-depth description as each business scenario is identified and matched to a particular high availability solution. For each one I describe a complete software and system stack depiction, along with the specification of the high availability primary variables (gauge). Your company may have business scenarios similar to these and, at the very least, you should be able to correlate these high availability solutions to ones that will fit your applications’ high availability needs. All these business scenarios are Microsoft-based applications with various high availability/fault tolerant hardware configurations in place.

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These four business scenarios demonstrate how you can use a business scenario’s requirements to determine the proper high availability solution.


An Application Service Provider

The first business scenario/application centers on a very real application service provider (ASP) and its operating model. This ASP houses (and develops) numerous global, web-based online order entry systems for several major beauty and health product companies in the world. Its customer base is truly global; as the earth turns, the user base accessing the system shifts with it. The company is headquartered in California (Silicon Valley - where else?), and this ASP guarantees 99.00% uptime to its customers. In this case, the customers are sales associates and their sales managers. If the ASP achieves these guarantees, it gets significant bonuses. If it falls below certain thresholds, it is liable for specific penalties. The processing mix of activity is approximately 65% online order entry and approximately 35% reporting.


  • 24 hours per day
  • 7 days per week
  • 365 days per year

Planned downtime: 0.25% (less than 1%)

Unplanned downtime: 0.25% (less than 1%) will be tolerable

Availability possible category: Extreme availability


Worldwide Sales and Marketing - Brand Promotion

A major chip manufacturer created a highly successful promotion and branding program that results in billions of dollars in advertising being rebated back to its worldwide sales channel partners. These sales channel partners must enter their complete advertisement copy (whether it is for newspaper, radio, TV, or other media) and is measured against ad compliance and logo usage and placements. If a sales channel partner is in compliance, it receives up to 50% of the cost of its advertisement back from this chip manufacturer. The dollars being exchanged on a minute-by-minute basis are enormous. There are three major advertising regions: Far East, Europe, and North America. Any other advertisements outside these three are lumped into an “Other Regions” bucket. Each region produces a huge daily load of new advertisement information that is processed instantaneously for compliance. Each major region deals only with that region’s advertisements but receives the compliance rules and compliance judgment from the chip manufacturer’s headquarters. Application mix is approximately 75% online entry of advertisement events and 25% management and compliance reporting.


  • 24 hours per day
  • 7 days a week
  • 365 days a year

Planned downtime: 3%

Unplanned downtime: 2% will be tolerable

Availability possible category: High availability


Investment Portfolio Management

An investment portfolio management application is housed in a major server farm in the heart of the world’s financial center: New York. Serving North American customers only, this application provides the ability to do full trading of stocks and options in all financial markets (United States and international), along with full portfolio holdings assessment, historical performance, and holdings valuation. Primary users are investment managers for their large customers. Stock purchasing/selling comprise 90% of the daytime activity, with massive assessment, historical performance, and valuation reporting done after the markets have closed. Three major peaks occur each weekday, driven by the three major trading markets of the world (United States, Europe, and the Far East). During the weekends, the application is used for the long-range planning reporting and front-loading stock trades for the coming week.


  • 20 hours per day
  • 7 days per week
  • 365 days per year

Planned downtime: 4%

Unplanned downtime: 1% will be tolerable

Availability possible category: High availability


Call-Before-You Dig Call Center

A tri-state underground construction call center has an application that determines within 6 inches the likelihood of hitting any underground gas mains, water mains, electrical wiring, phone lines, or cables that might be present on a proposed dig site for construction. Law requires that a call be placed to this center to determine whether it is safe to dig and to identify the exact location of any underground hazard before any digging has started. This is a “life at risk”–classified application and must be available nearly 100% of the time during common construction workdays (Monday through Saturday). Each year more than 25 people are killed nationwide digging into unknown underground hazards. Application mix is 95% query only with 5% devoted to updating images, geospatial values, and various pipe and cable location information provided by the regional utility companies.


  • 15 hours per day (5:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.)
  • 6 days per week (closed Sunday)
  • 312 days per year

Planned downtime: 0%

Unplanned downtime: 0.5% (less than 1%) will be tolerable

Availability possible category: Extreme availability


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