Lack of web host resilience blamed for high downtime


Lack of web host resilience blamed for high downtime

Arif Mohamed

More than 40% of corporate websites suffer "miserable" uptime performance, and more than 70% of UK government websites do not offer a high enough level of availability, according to research by Broadband Testing Labs for network monitoring firm MyWebAlert.

Steve Broadhead, director of Broadband Testing Labs, said, "One wonders why websites are still experiencing significant downtime. We have instances that occurred during peak time and off peak."

With wide area network optimisation and resilience, Broadhead said it was possible to create a completely redundant set-up.

"The fundamental problem appears to be with the hosting company not implementing this technology," he said.

During February last year, many well-known retailers such as Ann Summers, British Airways, B&Q, HMV, Halfords, J Sainsbury, Next and Woolworths, suffered significant website downtime, according to MyWebAlert's tests.

Michael Azoff, senior research analyst at Butler Group, said, "There are excellent tools on the market for monitoring web availability, falling under the heading of application performance management.

"These tools can instantly flag up problems before they affect users. They also monitor the end-user experience, which can be different from the view within the IT department. Application performance management tools are often introduced when the pain suffered is sufficiently bad to call a specialist tool in."

John Earley, managing director of MyWebAlert, said, "Executive management should take more responsibility and interest in the availability of their organisations' new-age shop window, on the premise that they would insist on better performance if they were aware of the failure."

Earlier this month a survey by Vanson Bourne commissioned by managed hosting firm NetBenefit showed that a third of IT directors in mid-sized UK companies do not have a disaster recovery plan in place for their firm's website, even though 75% of them admitted they were doing business through their website.

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