What would be the right Business Solution for Catastrophic Server Failure?

Server failure could be catastrophic. IT consultancy services can provide resilient recovery solutions for SMEs and enterprises.

In IT terms, a ‘catastrophic failure’ has two implications, both involving business impact. Firstly, it means the business can’t function and data may have been lost. The other is worse, it indicates the cause is unknown. Identifying the reason, assessing the consequences and fixing it could take an indefinite time. Some large companies that suffer catastrophic failures never find out how much it cost.

Normally computers are extremely predictable. Potential conflicts are anticipated and ‘caught’, which is to say the system re-directs the process flow to an alternative path and by doing so minimises disruption and damage. Computers also log their actions so that errors can be quickly traced. When systems come back online, they often restore the data they were processing automatically. Software vendors have become very good at this, for example Microsoft Word’s document recovery and incremental undo.

This ability to recover is not only true within programs, but in the design of entire IT systems. If a critical process goes down, fail-over systems usually catch the consequences, keep core processes running and maintain user access. Real-time backups mean data can be restored, leaving an audit trail for IT.

Today, logic errors should not crash programs, programs should not crash servers and servers should not corrupt databases. Given the complexity of modern systems these safeguards work extraordinarily well, but catastrophic failures are still common. Information security planning is a professional necessity, as prescribed by ISO 22301 and ISO 27031.

Catastrophic failures are often the outcome of multiple improbable things occurring simultaneously. A common cause is a widespread event such as a fire, power surge or malware infection. Far too many businesses keep all their apples in one barrel for convenience, but storing backups in the same building as the original data is inherently vulnerable to catastrophic failures. Holding them in another location is essential.

Another mistake is to take duplication too literally. If obscure software incompatibilities have caused the failure, the very predictability of identical systems can mean the issue may happen again when you switch over to them. The ideal solution is often a carefully planned balance of duplication and diversity.

IT consultancy services

IT departments spend most of their day keeping systems running, with little time left to anticipate black swan events. Unfortunately, as companies become more dependent on elaborate IT infrastructures, catastrophes become more probable, downtime more damaging, recovery more difficult and statutory consequences more severe. IT consultancy services specialise in designing strategies that in-house IT departments cannot, planning for the unexpected and thinking outside the box.

One aspect very much outside the box is the Cloud. The very nature of the Cloud lends itself to lightning fast, real time duplication, platform diversity and geographical redundancy. The advantages of data accessibility and scalability are now widely understood, but their enormous advantages in catastrophe recovery are less well appreciated. IT consultancy services can provide highly sophisticated purpose-built fail-safe solutions.

Virtual machines

One solution facilitated by the Cloud is creating a Virtual Machine (VM). A VM emulates all the components of a physical server but across a group of networked resources. Unlike a physical server, a VM can be rapidly duplicated in its entirety if necessary and stored in remote and potentially even multiple locations. Advantages of using VM platforms include the ability to provide continual incremental backups, highly resilient storage and rapid sophisticated restore options.

Specialists in our IT consultancy services will happily walk you through disaster recovery options and devise a solution tailored to your unique requirements and concerns.

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