Why is it important to have server redundancy and how it can improve your business response time?
Before going more in-depth about the importance of setting Redundant Servers networks in a company, we need to understand what uptime is and why great uptime is crucial for your business.
What is Uptime?
Uptime is the indicative showing how stable and consistent your website is; in an ideal world the uptime should always be 100%, and your network would have zero downtime. Unfortunately, we live in a less than perfect world where 0% downtime would be extremely difficult, if not impossible to achieve!
Uptime is represented by the number of milliseconds/seconds/hours/days/weeks where your services are up and running and available for your end-users, your clients, that is.
Network Redundancy and its importance
This is where network redundancy plays a crucial role as we stated before. Nowadays, reliable networks are becoming increasingly important with businesses using them to easily gain access to corporate and cloud resources.
More than ever users are constantly connected through mobile devices no matter the time of day or night. That is why, for a large number of companies, these networks have turned into the primary point of contact used for delivering information about products and/or services to their customers.
Servers or infrastructure components failure, an unexpected cyberattack, or some form of human error can cause a network outage, and this can be devastating for a business, because as we know, every moment of system downtime translates into financial losses like lost revenue, diminished brand reputation and missed opportunities.
Organizations are becoming more reliant than ever on round the clock data availability, therefore it’s also important to discuss about redundancy types.
Network Redundancy types
Fault-tolerance vs. high availability, are both redundancy systems and they describe methods of delivering high levels of uptime under SLAs as they achieve those levels in different ways.
The fault-tolerant computing is a form of full hardware redundancy, in which a minimum of two systems can operate in tandem, mirroring identical applications and executing instructions in lockstep with one another.
If any type of hardware failure occurs in the primary system, the secondary system that is running an identical application is able to simultaneously take over the first one’s processes without loss of service and zero downtime.
This type of redundancy system requires specialized hardware able to immediately detect any faults in components and keep the mirrored systems running in perfect tandem, able to completely eliminate server downtime with the benefit of this solution being that the in-memory application state of any program isn’t lost in the event of a failure and access to other applications and data is maintained.
It’s important to be careful when implementing this type of redundancy. Taking into consideration that any software problem that causes one server to fail will spill over into the mirrored system, this holds great risks in making fault-tolerant computing vulnerable to the operating system or application errors able to result in a specific server downtime or even data center outage.
High Availability Architecture
If beforehand we were discussing about a more hands-on approach, the high availability solution represents a software-based approach meant to minimize server downtime.
This solution, therefore, clusters a set of servers together that monitor each other and have failover capabilities, therefore being always prepared to spring into action and restart the applications that were active on the crashed server, when something goes wrong on the primary server, like a software error, application failure, or hardware fault.
High availability architecture is able to quickly recover from failures.
Another important aspect that comes into play when talking about this type of redundancy system is the fact that given the situation in which a primary server goes down due to an operating system error, the problem won’t be replicated in the independent backup server.
A server downtime lag can result in critical data loss and applications being unavailable while the system reboots whilst using this system.
Unfortunately, in-memory application states are often lost, but since the backup servers are independent of one another in this type of architecture they offer substantial protection against software failures and data center outages.
Which One is Better?
Most likely you’re asking yourself… which one is better or more suited to your needs?
The answer is a little bit more complicated, as fault-tolerant systems are providing excellent safeguard against equipment failure, but can be expensive to implement as they require a fully redundant set of hardware.
Keeping in mind that high availability architecture doesn’t require every piece of physical IT infrastructure to be replicated and integrated, it can represent a much more cost-effective solution.
Why does your data matter?
Data has recently turned into a new type of currency; therefore, we can say that data is the new currency. Extracted data can be and it is sold on the Dark Web going for as much as 50 million dollars – if not more. It’s quite important to understand its value and make sure that it's properly protected.
All data is valuable data, and all valuable data should be backed up regularly. By working with a trusted partner, you can protect your data efficiently whilst being able to easily access it in the event that other redundant systems fail.
Test Backup Systems frequently
Data centers conduct tests on a regular basis to assess the integrity of their backup systems and redundant networks. That’s how they are able to test different connections by physically disconnecting the hardware and making sure that failover occurs as anticipated.
The Risk of Cyberattacks
Sometimes, networks can be brought down by malicious actors that are targeting the businesses.
Considering possible cyberattacks and having efficient incident response plans in place can counter them and represents a crucial step to ensure network resiliency.
At the end of the day…
At the base of any efficient network redundancy plan can be found a good network strategy that reviews an existing infrastructure. That is why a solid data center should be able to keep your business running; they should have extensive backup systems in place purposely created to ensure your business will always have a proper fallback plan, and that is thanks to the redundancy strategy you’ve put in place.