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Rethinking Network Downtime

by Andrew Lerner  |  December 16, 2016  |  Submit a Comment

mobile-outageNetwork downtime is a hot topic, especially with the recent headlines including Southwest and Peak Web, and as many organizations transition to digital business models. Along these lines, we’ve just updated our written guidance regarding how to reduce network downtime. Overall, we make six specific recommendations in the research, which comprise a mix of modern antifragile practices with “old-school” network hygiene.

For example, we recommend embracing a blameless postmortem culture to network outages. While the concept of blameless postmortems aren’t new (as Gartner wrote in 1996 “During the post-mortem, project goals should be assessed against actual deliverables in an open and blameless environment)— they have not typically been applied to the networking domain yet… Further, organizations should reward people based on the problems they prevent, not the problem they fix. Similarly, as blogger Greg Ferro recently tweeted:


To support this culture shift, senior network leaders must motivate staff to increase the level of automation and identify fragile designs proactively as part of their performance reviews. Other recommendations in the research touch on the details regarding applying antifragile principals for network changes and testing, reducing the networking “blast radius”, reducing technical debt, and generalized good hygiene such as network automation and use of specific tools.  You can access the full research here:

How to Reduce Network Downtime in the Era of Digital Business

Summary: Network outages negatively impact revenue, productivity and brand reputation, and are increasingly impactful as organizations implement digital business initiatives. This research identifies how I&O leaders responsible for networking can reduce the number and duration of network outages.

Regards, Andrew Lerner

PS – Here’s another perspective (and decent playlist) on network downtime.

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Category: culture  in-the-news  just-published  networking  staffing  

Tags: downtime  outages  

Andrew Lerner
Research Vice President
6+ years at Gartner
21 years IT Industry

Andrew Lerner is a Vice President in Gartner Research. He covers enterprise networking, including data center, campus and WAN with a focus on emerging technologies (SDN, SD-WAN, and Intent-based networking). Read Full Bio

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