For example, a unit that is capable of being used 100 hours per week (168 hours) would have an availability of 100/168. However, typical availability values are specified in decimal (such as 0.9998). In high availability applications, a metric known as nines, corresponding to the number of nines following the decimal point, is used. With this convention, "five nines" equals 0.99999 (or 99.999%) availability.
Reliability needs to be evaluated and improved related to both availability and the cost of ownership (due to cost of spare parts, maintenance man-hours, transport costs, storage cost, part obsolete risks etc.). Often a trade-off is needed between the two. There might be a maximum ratio between availability and cost of ownership. Testability of a system should also be addressed in the availability plan as this is the link between reliability and maintainability. The maintenance strategy can influence the reliability of a system (e.g. by preventive and/or predictive maintenance), although it can never bring it above the inherent reliability. So, Maintainability and Maintenance strategies influences the availability of a system. In theory this can be almost unlimited if one would be able to always repair any fault in an infinitely short time. This is in practice impossible. Repair-ability is always limited due to testability, manpower and logistic considerations. Reliability is not limited (Reliable items can be made that outlast the life of a machine with almost 100% certainty). For high levels of system availability (e.g. the availability of engine trust in an aircraft), the use of redundancy may be the only option. Refer to reliability engineering.
Availability, achieved (Aa) The probability that an item will operate satisfactorily at a given point in time when used under stated conditions in an ideal support environment (i.e., that personnel, tools, spares, etc. are instantaneously available). It excludes logistics time and waiting or administrative downtime. It includes active preventive and corrective maintenance downtime.