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IT must understand the level of availability that users require, and users must understand the costs of achieving these targets. Often, IT loses users' trust and confidence by dictating availability targets without proper consultation. Conversely, users often make unrealistic demands on IT, failing to recognize the cost implications.

Of all availability levels, continuous availability is the most challenging and expensive to provide. More often than not, users are willing to settle for high availability but with committed hours of operations as close as possible to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Availability is a user metric, which means that we must measure it from the point of view of the user's experience. Most IT organizations that lose the support of their users have failed to recognize this, focusing instead on the availability of only a few critical components.

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