Jun 1, 2012

No compromises: performance and reliability


No compromises: performance and reliabilityA couple of my previous blogs have focused on two key aspects of the sport of Formula 1 racing: testing and teamwork. Both of these points lend themselves to better performance, and F1 is all about performance — but just as important is reliability.

Specific manufacturing methods can give an F1 team parts that will have the best performance available but can only be used one or two times. This means the part is high on performance but low on reliability. On the other hand, F1 teams can also have very reliable parts manufactured, but not gain all the performance from the part needed to win races. This results in high reliability and low performance.

F1 teams need to balance the need for performance (optimization) with the required reliability (durability), based on the FIA rulebook. Here are a couple examples from the FIA rulebook:

Engine limitations: The FIA rulebook states that teams are allowed eight engines total during the season, and that each engine must be used a minimum of two races. If the team tries to use more than eight engines during the season, or switches out an engine after one Grand Prix weekend, the team is penalized. The penalty is usually in the form of the car being pushed down 10 places on the starting grid.

Transmission limitations: The teams are also required to use the same transmission/gearbox for four races. If the team trades out a transmission before the allotted number of races, they are penalized. The penalty is usually in the form of that car being pushed down the starting grid a certain number of positions, usually five.

In each of these scenarios it is all about being able to master this delicate balance of getting the most performance available out of each part and have the part last to gain an edge over other teams. The job of the IT professional is not unlike that of an F1 team – it’s a constant challenge to maintain the right levels of performance while still ensuring your infrastructure is reliably supporting your business. And there really isn’t much room for compromise when it comes to your critical infrastructure. When looking for an IT provider to help you meet those challenges, it’s important to keep a few questions in mind:

  1. What level of availability do they offer? Meaning what is their uptime percentage?
  2. What sort of uptime guarantees do they offer in their Service Level Agreement (SLA)?
  3. Do they offer proactive credits in the SLA? Or do they require you contact them first?

These prospective provider questions and more can be found in many of our buyer’s guide eBooks. Whether you are looking for advice on cloud, colocation, hosting, content delivery or accelerated IP, we’ve got you covered. Just scroll down to the eBooks section on our resources page for some useful summer reading.

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