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High Availability and Disaster Recovery: Expect the Unexpected

As summer moves along, we continue with our latest summer school session. Last week we kicked off with Capacity Management. Today, we’ll take some time to recap High Availability.

What Is High Availability?

High availability refers to the ability of an application, service or other IT resources to remain constantly accessible, even in the face of unexpected disruptions.

In most cases, when people talk about high availability, they’re thinking about applications and services. Using automated server failover, redundant nodes and other strategies, they design systems that allow applications and services to continue running even if part of their infrastructure fails.

Yet, the high availability concept can and should be extended to data. After all, without data to crunch, many applications and services are not very useful. If you plan a high availability strategy that addresses only your applications, you fall short of ensuring complete business continuity.

Making Your Data Available

You can think of data availability as the data equivalent of application uptime. Data availability is similar in that it is a measure of how long your data remains available and usable, regardless of which disruptions may be occurring to the infrastructure or software that hosts the data.

If you depend on data to power your business, you want to keep that data available so that your business can continue to operate normally. It also matters beyond your own organization, too. In many cases, your relationships with partner companies depend in part on the sharing of data, and if the data you are supposed to provide is unavailable, it could harm your partnerships.

Make sure to check out our Data Availability 101 for a more in depth look!

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Data Availability and Recovering from Disaster

In most cases, data availability should be one component of your business’s disaster recovery and business continuity plan. This involves making sure that all of your infrastructure, applications, and data are protected against unexpected disruptions.

To prepare fully for a disaster, you should not only back up data somewhere, but also do the following:

  • Ensure that all relevant data is backed up
  • Secure your data backups
  • Determine how frequently backups should be performed
  • Include your personnel in the plan
  • Have a process in place for recovering data
  • Ensure the quality of data backups and recovered files

Any business hoping to survive a major unexpected event that impacts its software or data needs a complete disaster recovery plan in place. Check out our post on Disaster Recovery for more tips on preparing for downtime.

Backing Up Your Data

Do you back up your data with high availability in mind? Or do you just back it up to back it up? A backup strategy that doesn’t lead to high availability falls short of its full potential and is not necessarily enough to achieve your goals.

For a full list of backup strategies make sure to read this blog post.

Setting a Recovery Point and Recovery Time

The first, the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the threshold of how much data you can afford to lose since the last backup. The second, the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the threshold for how quickly you need to have an application’s functionality restored.

Calculating RPO and RTO will help you estimate your cost of downtime to better define your budget for an IT system continuity plan.

For a full selection of posts on High Availability and Data Availability you can visit here. Also, make sure to watch our webcast about the latest on our High Availability offerings.

To learn even more about the state of disaster recovery preparedness in organizations today, read Syncsort’s full “State of Resilience” report.

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