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Business continuity/DR


There are a large number of factors to consider when planning resilience and reducing the impact of hardware failure.

Responsive IT support services from providers such as Albacore have always helped to offer business continuity and we continue to do so, but in ever more diverse ways.

We’re finding more and more that our customers are requesting faster recovery times from any failure as the pace of the industry increases and realtime responses become ever more expected across the supply chain. To achieve this they seek resilience and a reduction of single points of failure in their infrastructure.

The adoption of virtual servers are the main driving force behind the advances in resilience that are now available.

Backup solutions are the first essential measure that needs to be covered. Fast recovery of a failed server or dataset from an onsite backup device is needed as a primary measure, this is supplemented by online storage as required for point in time file restoration and to ensure an offsite backup capability. Backups of systems need to be encrypted and also need to be proven to be recoverable otherwise they are simply not worth doing.

On the hardware side, near real time replication of servers between multiple hardware instances is now possible. This once enterprise level technology has reduced in cost and is now within reach of companies with reasonable IT budgets. Having a second server in place means that a failure of 1 hardware instance can be tolerated and quickly recovered from, and many functions of the network would be completely unaffected by the failure.

The above are onsite provisions that add resilience. Should a major problem or natural disaster occur at the primary premises, disaster recovery measures can be put in place to provide near realtime replication of systems offsite. This shortens recovery times from the most severe outages from days to hours. Server replication can be added without resilience in hardware.

The next big thing is hosted servers. In this model, customer infrastructure is outsourced to a provider who provides and supports the solution on their hardware to offer greater resilience and performance than can be achieved on-premise. These solutions still need backup and DR functions because unforeseen events do happen to even the most robust of datacentres.

Comms are another big factor. The requirement for uninterrupted Internet connectivity to the modern business cannot be underestimated and the cost from suppliers for leased line links is reducing all the time.

Not enough businesses in the freight industry realise that their multiple heavily contended and unreliable broadband connections can be replaced by significantly more symmetric and uncontended bandwidth using a leased line circuit with an SLA. This means a guaranteed fix and a responsive support experience is gained by the customer as well as the benefit of less waiting for pages to load on the various collaboration tools and portals that our customers must frequent, and also more reliable email delivery and remote access facilities. That same link can be used to provide voice calling to reduce or retire legacy copper lines from business premises completely, thereby increasing the efficiency and mobility of the workforce.

These kind of reliable Internet links do however increase the need for Internet security, and a managed firewall provided by a trusted and responsive provider is always needed.