Why do organisations need high availability?
Availability of critical online systems and services is key to the longevity and success of the modern organisation. Your customers expect your IT infrastructure to be available when they need to interact or transact with you. Your staff, who are another significant stakeholder in your organisation, also require a stable and accessible platform to perform their duties in ensuring your organisation is functioning at peak efficiency levels to meet your strategic goals and operational objectives.
High availability is no longer just about protecting revenue stream
Unplanned system downtime, no matter what the reason, is inexcusable in the modern business world where technologies exist to minimise this key business risk. In the past, the strategic objective of high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) was to safeguard the organisation’s revenue stream.
Organisations would develop service catalogues and based on these develop strategies to ensure revenue generating systems were protected from downtime. In modern organisations, this methodology is becoming obsolete as more systems are now online and need to be accessible 24 x 7 x 365.
Organisations now need to build HA and DR designs which mitigate the reputational harm of system unavailability while continuing to protect their revenue stream.
High availability has a high return on investment
Building high availability into IT systems does incur additional cost to the organisation by increasing financial, operational and human resource overheads. However, the returns achieved by investing in HA solutions make this a sound financial investment. There are many direct and indirect benefits associated with HA solutions. Let’s look at a few of these.
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5 key benefits of high availability
1. Mitigating the risk of downtime
In today’s connected world, downtime in any public-facing system results in reputational harm to the organisation. As society has become more reliant on online systems, any downtime is perceived as organisational instability which can result in an erosion of customer confidence. Not to mention the direct opportunity cost and lost productivity when systems are not available for commercial transactions and operations.
2. Mitigating the risk of lost revenue
Even if your business is not involved in any form of e-commerce, system availability directly affects your organisation’s ability to generate revenue. Systems are tightly integrated in modern organisations and dependencies exist between all operational applications be they revenue generating or not.
For example, if a non-revenue generating system such as your identity management solution fails, chances are your staff will not be able to login to the financial system. This means no invoice generation and as a result no revenue.
Even if they can log in a day or two later, generating invoices later means a delay in cash collection directly affecting the cash flow lifeblood of your business.
3. Mitigating the risk of data loss
High availability solutions mitigate against the risk of data loss. All organisations must back up their data in terms of operational and legislative compliance. However, in the event of a data corruption or data loss incident, the organisation generally restores their last successful backup.
The last successful backup could have been 24 hours ago which implies 24 hours’ worth of data may have been lost. Over and above this recovery point risk, data restores take time to complete which prolongs the unavailability of the system in question. In a HA scenario data is continuously replicated to the alternate environments so even if a data corruption or data loss incident occurs, the data is secure and immediately available with little to no downtime experienced.
4. Increase in system resilience
High availability creates a systems platform with higher resilience to unplanned events. Should a systems failure occur, a HA platform would be able to absorb this failure and continue to provide systems availability to end users with little to no variation in the system’s performance. In a scenario where an unplanned event affects a system detrimentally and no HA platform is in place, the system will experience either a total failure or a noticeable degradation in performance which would adversely affect the end users of the system which in turn will negatively affect your business.
5. Increase in operational flexibility
Platforms with high availability offer more operational flexibility to organisations because they’re always on. This flexibility provides organisations with the opportunity to perform planned maintenance on production systems without triggering any downtime.
Maintenance tasks such as performing operating system updates and deploying a new version of an application to production can be completed without negatively affecting the availability of critical infrastructure.
High availability is no longer a ‘nice to have’
High availability is a technology which no organisation can do without in today’s online environment.
Investing in a cloud provider who can deliver high availability will give you the peace of mind your organisation’s revenue stream and brand reputation are secure from any incident which would have negatively affected them in the past.
Choose the right technology partner
The material business benefits of high availability are clear. However, deploying a high availability solution is a complex project as there are many variables to consider. Where will I host my second environment? What technology platform should I use? Which systems do I need to enable first?
Choosing the right technology partner who has the track record, skill, expertise and capacity is a key step on your journey to high-availability.
Zettagrid offers Australia’s most advanced self-service cloud hosting platform which is easy to use, super scalable and highly available with availability zones in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Jakarta.
Zettagrid possesses all the key qualities you are looking for in a technology partner for your high availability solution.