Extreme availability may become a competitive differentiator. Extreme availability must ensure applications can respond in under a second, whether it's supporting a wireless trade on an exchange floor, transferring multi-billion dollar transactions across global infrastructures, or protecting the integrity of integrated applications through a secure infrastructure that extends to third parties.
The financial industry requirements for availability, reliability, scalability, and performance are well beyond what most Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) software provides. Because of this, many financial institutions have developed applications in-house. However, when considering the scale, scope, and cost of changes needed to select, support, and integrate several applications, organizations have discovered the value of leveraging outside middleware to speed future development and decrease development and maintenance costs. With the development of extreme availability using commercially available middleware, organizations no longer must choose between their availability requirements or the development and maintenance benefits of standard middleware; they can reap the benefits of both.
Extreme availability is the ultimate form of high availability, when the desired goal is no outages at all because the perceived harm to the business is immeasurably large. How does this differ from high availability? While it might seem initially that the difference is relatively small, achieving extreme availability requires changes throughout the organization. Indeed, the scope of the changes is sufficiently large that it makes sense to think of the needed changes as a culture change. One way to think of extreme availability is to think of it as an "availability culture" added to a standard high-availability operation.