How does one achieve five 9′s (99.999%) uptime or better in today’s crazy IT world? Easy. Have backups for your backups and have at least two of everything.
Okay, so maybe it’s easier said than done and perhaps that is an egregious oversimplification. The bottom line, however, is basically that’s how AssurX has achieved not five 9′s but a perfect 100% uptime for CATSWeb OnDemand systems for two years running.
We have multiple redundancies in all our critical infrastructure systems: at least two of everything. We have everything from multiple pipes to the Internet to multiple fire suppression systems. There are multiples of all server types; web servers, application servers, database servers, backup servers. There are multiples of all components of the servers; multiple drives in RAID arrays, multiple network cards, multiple power supplies, multiple CPUs. There are redundant monitoring systems, monitoring internally and externally the availability of CATSWeb and we are notified immediately when something is wrong. Fortunately (knock on wood), we’ve yet to experience this scenario outside of testing.
Our data center is the same way. There are redundant heating and cooling systems, redundant fire suppression systems, redundant UPS systems, redundant generators and everything is in “hot standby” mode, meaning if one fails, the other takes over without missing a beat. The network employs at least three major telecom providers for separate and redundant backbones to the Internet.
To someone unfamiliar with the true meaning of “mission critical”, all this sounds like overkill. Doesn’t having two (or more) of everything make life more difficult? Simple answer is, yes, life is more complicated with two of everything. There are the requirements of extra space, extra maintenance, extra power consumption, extra time for install/management/decommission of software packages and extra man hours spent working on all these redundant systems. Does it make financial sense? Absolutely! Just the same as one has homeowner’s insurance, car insurance, health insurance or life insurance, what redundancy means to an IT department is data and connectivity insurance. For hosted systems like CATSWeb OnDemand, it means happy customers who always get to their data, day or night. For IT guys like me it means peaceful, easy sleep and less hair loss.
At the end of the day, the simple fact is that AssurX has achieved something truly difficult in the IT world; 100% uptime, two years running. This is something major players, like Yahoo, eBay, Google, Amazon and many others cannot claim. We are proud of our commitment to hosting CATSWeb for our customers and will continue to implement new and better ways to achieve and maintain the best possible uptime numbers and availability as we forge ahead.