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Maximize Availability for Mission Critical Systems

If your focus is just on technology, you’re missing two thirds of the equation — people and processes.

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Contributors

  • Bob James, Technical Architect, Carhartt, Inc.
  • Denny Hug, Vice President Data Center Services, Connectria Hosting
  • Chuck Hobart, Solutions Architect, VMC
  • Richard Hemsley, Director, Working I.T. Limited
  • Terry Rennaker, VP and Director of Infrastructure, Skanska
  • Plus several anonymous contributors

Your Challenge

  • Mission critical systems directly and significantly impact revenue, goodwill, health & safety, or regulatory compliance, and therefore demand a higher level of attention than non-critical production systems.
  • Organizations with limited IT budgets are struggling to meet the availability and reliability demands for mission critical systems.
  • Worse yet, spending is often not optimally allocated, leaving organizations at more risk than they should be.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Providing high availability for mission critical systems is costly. Therefore, a greater emphasis needs to be placed on first determining which business functions are truly mission critical, and then scoping the business requirements for reliability and availability — before designing the infrastructure to meet those requirements.
  • System failures are more often a people or process issue than a technology issue, so organizations need to address all three areas. Simply purchasing more-advanced hardware and software will not deliver 4 or 5 x 9 availability.
  • Similarly, IT managers need to consider the full end-to-end infrastructure, including power, cooling, networks, message queues, and so on. Focusing only on server or database redundancy is not good enough.

Impact and Result

  • Identify which systems truly are mission critical, and their dependencies.
  • Take steps to minimize or prevent human error.
  • Establish policies and procedures for mission critical systems.
  • Create a technology plan that identifies areas of risk and prioritizes investments accordingly.

Research & Tools

1. Meet mission critical availability and reliability objectives

Reduce human error, establish processes to minimize risk, and plan high availability technology enhancements based on risk and impact.

2. Reduce risk by identifying mission critical system dependencies

Identify all components in the mission critical environment, from servers to firewalls.

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Search Code: 54534
Published: May 17, 2012
Last Revised: May 17, 2012