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Press release: Major IT breakdowns: only 3% are a hardware issue, 81% are caused by incorrect software parameter settings

No less than 81% of all IT breakdowns, such as delays or computer and network failures, are caused by incorrect or non-optimized parameter settings. Only 3% of all cases proved to be a hardware problem. Research by Dutch ITPA Group revealed this, in probing the causes of 140 major IT breakdowns. Another significant outcome was that in only 14% of these cases prevention or monitoring of IT performance was in place.

ITPA, specializing in performance management, carries out a yearly analysis focusing on the causes of IT breakdowns, delays and system failures.  The research this year covered 140 cases of IT failures. These included delays, instabilities and breakdowns to complete downtime of  IT systems. Herewith the total IT environment is inspected (hardware and software) as well as the nature of the failures.

Adjusting incorrect parameter settings is relatively easy

Parameter settings are crucial for the efficient functioning of software. Mostly, the ‘default’ parameter settings at first will suffice. This sub-optimal start position, combined with the fact that the IT environment will change (extensions, patches and updates) to cause the settings to become less optimal and will start to cause delays, instabilities and even complete breakdowns of systems.

‘Because parameters are set initially and then are soon forgotten, organizations are short changing themselves. It is relatively easy to optimize the settings and thereby avoid system failures and productivity problems within the organization.’  According to Tjeerd Saijoen, founder and CTO of ITPA Group.

Results analysis:

  1. In 81% of the cases ITPA found incorrect or non-optimized parameter settings. This means that installations of software (OS, applications, databases, etc.) have incorrect or non-optimal parameter settings.
  2. In 9% the main causes were database related, mostly incorrect indexing.
  3. In 6% there were delays caused by applications. For example, resource hungry applications like ERP- and CRM systems.
  4. 4% of IT Performance issues were caused by the amount of data on the network (the network load).
  5. In 3% of the cases there were hardware problems. These could be caused by switches, routers, load balancers or firewalls. This percentage is low because most organizations took measures to  deal with this, such as adding redundancies to crucial systems.
  6. In only 2% of the cases there was not enough infrastructure capacity (for example servers) to handle the transactions with the required speed.

In some cases a combination of factors caused the issues.

Many organizations work reactively

A remarkable outcome of this research is that many organizations wait until there is a breakdown and do not take preventative measures. In only 14% of the researched breakdowns there were precautions taken or (limited) monitoring. ‘Mostly it is not known what the costs are for an hour of downtime. And they save on prevention. At a company with a turnover of 40 million there will be a 19.230 loss for one hour of downtime. When this is known, only then action is taken. The awareness is still in it’s early stages.’ According to Tjeerd Saijoen.

About ITPA Group

ITPA Group was founded in 2014 in The Netherlands. The company offers services to trace and resolve breakdowns, delays and failures of IT systems. ITPA also offers monitoring services to prevent downtime and limit damage for organizations.  The company is mainly active in the Netherlands, but also has an international portfolio.