Handling increased system load, decreasing downtime, and eliminating single points of failure are all crucial needs of any SMB or enterprise IT infrastructure. High-availability architecture is one method that addresses these needs. Since every business is different, the right approach requires careful development of a strategy that is tailored to the business. Here are 5 things to consider when creating that strategy.
1. A CLEAR PICTURE OF AVAILABILITY NEEDS
Making smart infrastructure choices for high-availability workloads means having a clear picture of the current IT infrastructure. This is the first step to determining which applications and workloads are mission-critical to the business as well as usage peaks as part of understanding availability needs.
2. HOW HYPERCONVERGENCE, HIGH AVAILABILITY, AND VIRTUALIZATION ARE CROSS-SUPPORTIVE
The need for greater performance and scalability paired with simplified management is prompting more businesses to consider hyperconverged infrastructure. Simultaneously, these businesses are looking to high-availability architecture to address mission-critical application and database needs where uptime is crucial.
Finally, virtualization is clearly playing a part in the digital business in ways that intersect with these needs. Consequently, businesses of all sizes must consider how hyperconvergence, high availability, and virtualization are cross-supportive.
To maximize benefit while meeting cost constraints, businesses must understand how and where the benefits of hyperconverged infrastructures and virtualization can support high availability. For every business, there is a point where the benefits of high availability must intersect with:
- Management simplification
- Reduced footprint and power consumption
For example, hyperconverged infrastructure solutions, virtualization, and high-availability architecture all play a part in:
- Integrated backup and recovery with primary storage for faster and more efficient backups, faster restores, and major improvements in achieving faster recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs)
- Improved capacity planning
- The use of VMs in public and/or private cloud scenarios
- Storage snapshots for backup and replication to improve RPOs and RTOs
3. THE INTERCONNECTION BETWEEN REDUNDANCY AND ABSTRACTION
While integrating resiliency into your architecture is accomplished via redundant hardware, it can also be achieved through abstraction. In fact, these approaches are often part of an interconnected approach and cohesive strategy.
For example, an organization might use servers that have redundant components whereas
abstraction utilizes software to manage the different compute, storage, OS, and security components of the server layer where physical servers are treated as a pool of resources. Although high availability through abstraction won’t work without redundant hardware, an integrated hardware approach via hyperconverged infrastructure can reduce capex.
4. THE INTERSECTION OF DISASTER RECOVERY, AVAILABILITY, AND FAULT TOLERANCE
High-availability architecture and disaster recovery (DR) each provide an organization with unique capabilities, but they are also intertwined with business continuity. The differences in these solutions is:
- High availability minimizes IT disruptions by providing IT continuity through redundant or fault-tolerant components.
- DR requires establishment of offsite IT components that enable recovery of vital compute, application, and storage workload VMs in a cloud data center or offsite data center.
- Fault tolerance is all about having a backup component (be it hardware or software) that takes over operation when the first one fails to ensure no loss of service.
They intersect in several ways such as the fact that while a high-availability architecture requires fault tolerance, both can be part of disaster recovery. Ultimately, they all are rooted in maintaining data integrity as well as IT system availability.
How they are implemented depends on the needs of the business in terms of RTO and RPO performance as they pertain to mission-critical applications. This all plays into the need to design a repeatable and automated backup process.
5. RECONCILING COST, PERFORMANCE, SCALABILITY, AND HIGH AVAILABILITY
It may seem that high-availability architecture would introduce greater capex at a time when all businesses are seeking to reduce these costs. This is where a mix of hyperconvergence as part of the foundation of IT architecture, as well as the use of virtualization, can work to reduce capex costs.
Once again, to make the right decisions that fulfil the performance, agility, scalability, redundancy, and DR needs of the business requires a thorough assessment of current IT infrastructure. Armed with a well-planned high-availability strategy tailored to the business, it becomes possible to bring IT project execution to bear in ways that enable greater business resiliency while positively impacting capex and opex.