There was a point in our history when experiencing unexpected downtime was considered unavoidable. Back in 1996, the primary internet provider AOL went offline for 19 hours. The outage inconvenienced more than 6 million subscribers and was a wake-up call for organizations that had come to depend on the connectivity to earn money.
And yet, the Chairman and CEO, Steve Case said that the outage, caused by a maintenance error, might very well happen again. He offered no promises that the internet would continue to run 24/7 and in fact, cited the outrage as evidence of just how important AOL was to people.
Imagine That Same Scenario Playing Out Today
Preventing downtime is becoming a top priority for organizations across all market sectors — from manufacturing, building security and telecommunications to financial services, public safety and healthcare. What’s driving this requirement for always-on applications? It’s partly due to the rapid expansion of users, environments and devices.
Increasingly, however, organizations require high application availability to compete successfully in a global economy, comply with regulations, mitigate potential disasters, and plan for business continuity. All these factors contribute to a growing demand for high-performance availability solutions to keep applications up and running.
What’s the Good News?
The good news is that there are many effective availability solutions available on the market today including standard servers with backup, continuous data replication, traditional high-availability clusters, virtualization and fault-tolerant solutions. But with so many options, figuring out which approach is good enough for your organization can seem overwhelming.
Preventing Downtime: Where You Should Start
Understanding the criticality of your computing environment is a good place to start. This involves assessing downtime consequences on an application-by-application basis. If you’ve virtualized applications to save costs and optimize resources, remember that your virtualized servers present a single point of failure that extends to all the virtual machines running on them, thereby increasing the potential impact of downtime. Depending on the criticality of your applications, you may be able to get by with the availability features built into your existing infrastructure or you may need to invest in a more powerful and reliable availability solution — perhaps one that proactively prevents downtime rather than just speeding and simplifying recovery.
The availability element is not the only factor to consider when selecting a best-fit solution to protect your applications against downtime. Stratus has created a Downtime Prevention Buyer’s Guide to streamline the evaluation process and, ultimately, help you choose the right availability solution. The guide presents six key questions you should ask vendors along with valuable insights into the strengths and limitations of various approaches. You can use vendors’ responses to objectively compare solutions and identify those that best meet your availability requirements, recovery time objectives, IT management capabilities, and return on investment goals. All while integrating seamlessly within your existing IT infrastructure.