New Survey Identifies Escalating Costs in Web Application Configuration and Deployment

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70 percent of organizations lack tools to automate management processes.

According to a new survey by research and consulting firm Hurwitz & Associates, manual configuration errors are wreaking havoc across IT organizations, not only impacting developer and staff productivity, but also causing significant delays in the roll out of customer-facing web applications. These errors are resulting in application downtime costing companies as much as $72,000 per hour.

Commissioned by Phurnace Software, the study The Sources of Web Application Downtime, Configuration Errors are the Road to Ruin, reflects the responses of 249 IT professionals who report that application maintenance costs are increasing at a rate of up to 20 percent annually, despite the fact that companies are spending nearly $900,000 per year in personnel costs to create, maintain and support deployment scripts. A key factor in this cost is the incidence of manual transcription errors that unnecessarily occur during the modification of deployment scripts. This custom scripting was identified as a key pain point by survey respondents and represents a significant portion of hidden costs not previously quantified by IT departments.

Nevertheless, 70 percent of respondents indicated they do not employ an automation framework to launch their application deployment scripts, and 40 percent said they had no automation whatsoever.

"The constant need to modify customer-facing applications, combined with the complex configuration requirements of web servers, requires a heavy workload," said Judith Hurwitz, president of Hurwitz & Associates. "IT management needs to have more predictable processes for managing web application changes to avoid unexpected downtime. We recommend that companies minimize or even eliminate the use of scripting by automating their deployment processes. Automation will make a significant difference in the IT organization's ability to manage rising costs and keep critical web applications fully operational."

Key findings of The Sources of Web Application Downtime include:

Web Applications are Critical to Business Operations:

  • 86 percent of companies reported their web applications were now either very important or mission-critical.
  • Web applications are now viewed as one of the primary methods for interacting with customers, partners and suppliers. When errors occur, critical customer-facing web applications fail.

Manual Scripting is Killing IT Budgets:

  • The average company is spending $852,187 per year in personnel costs to create, maintain and support deployment scripts.
  • 56 percent of organizations have 11 employees or more dedicated to the ongoing configuration, installation and deployment of web applications.
  • 14 percent of respondents were shown to have more than 81 employees assigned to this task.
  • 38 percent of organizations employ 11 or more employees to write and maintain custom deployment scripts.

Downtime is Costly and Unnecessary:

  • Internal costs for large sites were shown to be as high as $72,000 an hour for downtime.
  • Almost 35 percent of respondents said that at least a quarter of their downtime was caused by configuration changes and errors. In addition, 72 percent of respondents regarded this downtime as "significant".
  • Many errors are caused by the inability to keep track of what changes have been made to configuration and deployment scripts.

The Problem is Getting Worse, Not Better:

  • Organizations with large web applications are seeing up to a 20 percent increase in annual maintenance.
  • As more companies move to virtualization, the workloads of existing web applications are increasing. 58 percent acknowledged this as a serious problem.

Alarmingly, many respondents noted that these problems are compounding due to the intricate configuration requirements of web servers and the proliferation of inherently complex Java EE web applications.

"This survey reinforces many of the trends we've seen with our customers," said Larry Warnock, CEO of Phurnace Software. "Organizations realize manual processes such as deployment scripts are not the answer. Instead of solving problems, they are perpetuating or even compounding the issues and adding unnecessary costs. With Phurnace software, our goal is to help customers reduce their dependency on deployment scripting and eliminate configuration-related errors."

To download a copy of the complete survey findings The Sources of Web Application,Configuration Errors are the Road to Ruin, visit:

About Phurnace Software, Inc.:

Phurnace Software helps companies drive revenue and dramatically reduce costs by accelerating the deployment of business critical applications into physical environments, virtual images or to cloud computing providers. Leveraging patent-pending technology, Phurnace automates web application deployments - from installation to deployment to upgrades - eliminating manual, error-prone processes and delivering tangible ROI within weeks. Based in Austin, Texas, Phurnace is funded by S3Ventures, DFJ Mercury and other private investors.

Phurnace and the Phurnace flame logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Phurnace Software, Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other names are the trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.


Jessica Gass
Phurnace Software


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