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Why Do Software Applications Fail and What Can Software Engineers Do About It? A Case Study

Why Do Software Applications Fail and What Can Software Engineers Do About It? A Case Study
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Author(s): Peter Kueng (Credit Suisse, IT Architecture, Switzerland)and Heinrich Krause (Credit Suisse, IT Architecture, Switzerland)
Copyright: 2007
Pages: 5
Source title: Managing Worldwide Operations and Communications with Information Technology
Source Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-929-8.ch074
ISBN13: 9781599049298
EISBN13: 9781466665378


In many of today’s companies application software has become a vital resource to successfully run the business. Since outages of application software may lead to operational and financial difficulties, companies have a vested interest to ensure high availability of their application software. In this paper, data from a large commercial bank operating internationally, (we call it Echinacea) is analyzed. As a first step, the main causes that led to outages are analyzed. The analysis shows that administration-related tasks are the largest cause for application software outages. On the other hand, the analysis reveals that outages due to hardware failure plays an almost negligible role, at least at Echinacea. In a second step, selected approaches on how availability can be improved are presented. One of the most important means to reduce outages at Echinacea is to address availability not only with system and platform engineers, but with software engineers in particular, since their awareness concerning availability has proven to be limited. Based on that, a set of key messages to be addressed by software engineers has been developed; a subset of them are presented here.

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