By Tom Shanley
In an advisory letter to a young tradesman, Benjamin Franklin purportedly coined a phrase that, to this day, is adhered to by small and large businesses alike: “Time is money.” Now, perhaps more than ever, “time” can be attributed to the reliability of a business’ network services and the ability to access documents, applications and customer data in the office or on the go.
The availability of these services and the interdependencies required to keep them operational at all hours can become challenging to manage. The inability to access tools during a system outage, whether planned or unplanned, can mean a substantial loss of revenue. However, it is possible to mitigate or avoid downtime altogether through the use of high availability.
In information technology, high availability refers to the continuous operation of computing systems in the event of an interruption. Many businesses maintain system uptime in the event of a power outage through the use of generators or battery backup devices, which maintain power to critical systems. However, computer system outages result from much more than the loss of power.
What can be done in the event of a server crash or loss of Internet connectivity at your office? Depending on the business case and environment, it is possible to configure pre-existing services to automatically fail over to a secondary backup system in the event of an outage. When an office loses Internet connectivity, production can come to a standstill. Businesses which utilize a firewall appliance for security, depending on the model, can configure an automatic failover to a secondary Internet connection to keep users working efficiently.
The same is true for your documents and applications which, if not hosted in the cloud, are most often provided by on-premises servers using local storage. Business owners often are confronted with identifying solutions that keep their servers active in the event of software or hardware problems. An effective contingency is the implementation of shared storage between two identical systems. Imagine a scenario in which a server hosting all your company’s files crashed. Employees inside and outside the office are unable to create, edit or distribute documents, resulting in lost revenue. By implementing a secondary host server, capable of taking over the primary server’s roles, it is possible to configure an automatic failover to the secondary server in the event the primary were to fail, resulting in a seamless transition from the user’s perspective.
The need for high availability across industries and businesses of all sizes is diverse and limited by the systems you already have in place. Consultative services and proper budgeting are essential for planning and implementing redundant solutions to keep your business running smoothly despite system interruptions.
Tom Shanley is the director of professional services for IQ Systems, Inc.