Downtime effectively occurs for two reasons that are either planned or unplanned. Serious downtime can be caused by;

  • Network failure either LAN or WAN
  • A server fault resulting in it becoming offline

Sometimes it is necessary to take servers offline for planned events including maintenance of the hardware or upgrades to applications or server operating systems. Unplanned downtime can take place at any moment and is beyond the control of the IT department administrators. Causes can be minor issues such as a hard disk or power supply that fails to a catastrophic event for example a fire , a flood or an earthquake. One of the important points to take note of is that downtime be it planned or unplanned will eventually take place and it is not a case of if it happens but rather when will it happen.

Making sure your servers are located in a secure setting is of top importance, for example if your servers are located in the parts of the USA that are at risk of suffering the effects of hurricanes the premises should be constructed as hurricane proof. In addition comprehensive firefighting installations should be installed to protect your servers from that risk. However you can never be 100% sure your premises are invincible and so making provision for back up facilities in a different location makes good sense. The intelligent use of geographic load balancers for example the Kemp Technologies Geographic Load Master makes sense to divert traffic to your back up sites should the primary site be taken off line.

Regular server maintenance makes sense and allows to clean up the server and restore it to its original performance levels, having installed backup servers load balancers and therefore increased the redundancy in your network means these server outages will have less effect on your users. If maintenance is not performed minor problems in your servers will eventually grow more serious and the server will stop working. As you plan your back up facilities consider the cost to the business of unplanned downtime both in terms of business lost as well as damage o the image of the organization.