Implement High Availability for Mission Critical Databases

Where “good enough” availability just isn’t good enough, ensure business requirements will be met before investing in people, processes, and technology for true high availability.

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Your Challenge

  • For most systems, efficient backup/recovery processes and technology will meet recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO).
  • Mission critical databases support services that have an immediate, direct, and significant impact on revenue, goodwill, health and safety, and regulatory compliance. They require more attention than other systems.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Database high availability technology solutions are expensive and complex, and will have a significant impact on the way the system is managed in the future.
  • Downtime is often caused by people and process problems, but organizations tend to focus only on technology solutions.

Impact and Result

  • Identify the business impact of downtime on the services supported by each database workload. Use a business impact analysis (BIA) to identify the criticality of the databases.
  • Identify databases that require both near zero downtime and zero data loss. Only these mission critical database systems should be considered for a true high availability solution.
  • Review and evaluate database HA solutions that fit your environment to identify a shortlist of potentially feasible solutions.
  • Create a business case that outlines the required steps, effort, cost, and impact of a potential solution to obtain business approval. This will also ensure a clear understanding with the business regarding expected results and accepted risks.

Contributors

  • Steve Vereschagin, Senior Manager Enterprise Applications, Graymont
  • Vince Bennett, Infrastructure Manager, Graymont
  • Chuck Salvo, Founder and CEO, Red Brick Data
  • Harish Vaidyanathan, Business Unit Head – IT Infra, Emerio
  • Dilpreet Kaur, Senior SQL Server DBA, Merck
  • Satwinder Singh, Supervising Associate – Database Administration, EY
  • Mark Gribler, Oracle and SQL Database Consultant
  • Michelle McLean, VP Marketing, ScaleArc
  • Pardeep Dhull, Database Consultant, Capital One
  • Ebenezer Akusaki, SQL Server DBA, UBS
  • Brandon Frenchak, BI Specialist, Prince Minerals Inc
  • One anonymous contributor

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Get to Action

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out when you should implement database high availability solutions, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

  1. Identify the business requirements for database availability

    Understand the business impact of the enterprise database and other critical systems.

  2. Review and assess HA solutions

    Identify the right high availability technology solution.

  3. Create an action plan for database high availability

    Review and update processes, and communicate the business plan.

Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is an eight call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Identify business requirements for database availability

  • Call #1: Work through Info-Tech’s BIA methodology.

  • Call #2: Create a recovery timeline and identify database bottlenecks.

  • Call #3: Assess whether HA is required in your environment.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Review and assess HA solutions

  • Call #1: Review HA solutions.

  • Call #2: Review and assess HA architectures.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Create an action plan for database high availability

  • Call #1: Set the scope for process changes.

  • Call #2: Review migration risks.

  • Call #3: Review make-the-case documentation and budget estimates.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Create the Business Impact Analysis

The Purpose

  • Identify required recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) for critical databases.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Complete a Business Impact Analysis.

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Review critical applications and dependencies.
  • Business Impact Analysis
1.2 Define an objective scoring scale to indicate different levels of impact.
1.3 Estimate the impact of downtime.
1.4 Determine desired RTO/RPO objectives based on business impact.

Module 2: Determine Gaps Between Current and Desired Capabilities

The Purpose

  • Identify gaps between current and desired capabilities.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Complete a response and recovery workflow.

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Conduct a tabletop exercise to determine current recovery procedures.
  • Incident response and recovery workflow
2.2 Identify gaps between current and desired capabilities.
2.3 Identify where the database is a roadblock to system recovery.

Module 3: Review Availability Solutions

The Purpose

  • Review possible technological solutions.
  • Shortlist solutions and architectures based on cost, effort to implement, and benefit.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Technological high availability options defined and assessed.

Activities: Outputs:
3.1 Review options to improve database availability.
  • High Availability Solution Evaluation
3.2 For mission critical databases, review high availability solutions.
3.3 Assess solutions based on cost, effort, and benefit.

Module 4: Strengthen Processes to Support Availability

The Purpose

  • Address people and process requirements for database high availability.
  • Ensure the required stakeholders are consulted on proposed process changes.
  • Communicate the value proposition to stakeholders.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Create the action plan to develop people and processes to support databases high availability.
  • Develop the business case for a high availability deployment.

Activities: Outputs:
4.1 Identify process and control changes required ahead of a high availability deployment
  • Action Item Checklist
4.2 Review the 6-year TCO for a high availability deployment.
4.3 Develop a business case for the proposed high availability solution.
  • Business Case

Workshop Icon Book Your Workshop

Onsite Workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn’t enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our Project Workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a road map in place to complete your project successfully.

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