Is Your High Availability Solution Switch-Ready?
Since you’re reading this article, it’s likely you’ve either purchased a high availability (HA) solution or are seriously considering one. HA is a wise choice that, if used properly, will benefit your business by significantly reducing or even eliminating downtime and data loss from a hardware failure or site disaster. HA will also minimize downtime from planned maintenance events.
So, once you’ve installed HA, you’re all set, right? Wrong…so wrong.
For your HA solution to be switch-ready and thus protect your business from both planned and unplanned downtime, it requires giving it some regular TLC. Of course being switch-ready means having the ability to reliably switch workloads from your production server to a fully synchronized backup server. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out for yourself what you need to do to ensure the switch-readiness. Our newest e-book, 5 Best Practices for Ensuring Your High Availability Solution Is Switch-Ready, is available to help guide you.
Monitoring and Maintenance Is Key
Everyone knows that, if you expect your car to work when you start the ignition, you need to perform regular maintenance and pay attention to any warning lights that appear on your dashboard. If you don’t, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise (and Murphy’s Law means this will likely happen at a particularly inconvenient time). Your HA is no different. Yes, it’s true that advanced HA solutions like those we sell include a number of self-healing and self-optimizing capabilities along with easy-to-understand dashboards so you can see HA health at a glance. But even with these useful features, you can’t simply install HA and ignore it. Prudence dictates checking on your HA health each day and being prepared to respond to any situation that might require manual intervention. In addition, there are periodic maintenance tasks that must be performed to optimize HA switch readiness. Our e-book outlines all of these important maintenance tasks.
Suppose the unthinkable really does happen. You need to be confident that you’ll be able to quickly, calmly, and efficiently switch from the production server to the backup server in order to minimize impact on your business-critical applications. But achieving this requires repeated testing of the switch process so you can resolve in advance any issues that might prevent its smooth functioning at the time you most need it. So, test the switch process, and do it frequently! Our e-book gives you several great tips on switch testing.
Backups to Your Backup
It’s one thing to have a backup server, but what about backup personnel? Who is going to perform essential HA tasks when the person responsible for HA leaves the company or is unavailable when needed? An important best practice is to make sure there is more than one person trained on HA monitoring, maintenance, and switch processes. In addition to having backup personnel on staff, it can be invaluable to bring in a certified HA consultant on an annual basis to audit your HA environment. Your staff certainly means to do its best, but a professional audit by an expert whose sole job it is to know the ins and outs of HA health will likely reveal any underlying issue or critical maintenance steps that may have been missed.
In addition to backup personnel, it’s important to have backup documentation that details the switch process (as well as HA configuration, monitoring, and maintenance). Having comprehensive documentation on hand dramatically improves the odds of a successful HA switch, particularly when tensions are running high.
Protect Your Investment
Your company has made an enormous investment in its business-critical systems, which is why it’s wise to also invest in an HA solution to minimize downtime of these systems. The key to maximizing the ROI on both of these investments requires that your HA is always switch-ready. Learn more by downloading the free e-book 5 Best Practices for Ensuring Your High Availability Solution.