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August 5, 2016updated 06 Jan 2020 10:16am

Ensuring availability during the summer season

Richard Agnew, VP NW EMEA, Veeam, looks at delivering 24/7 availability.

By Cbr Rolling Blog

Summer is here, and many are getting ready to take a well-deserved holiday. However, this does not mean that expectations of continuous access to applications, services and data should be lowered.

A modern business relies on delivering 24/7 availability, regardless of employee holidays. But what happens if the system breaks down during the week that a corporate IT manager has gone away? It will take longer than usual to get systems running again, and that in turn will impact corporate revenue and reputation.

In order to avoid this, there are three simple precautions that businesses should take during the summer holiday season to ensure that corporate applications, services and data remain continuously available.

Avoid downtime
It is no longer the case that planned or unplanned downtime will not have a direct impact on vital services, whether it is revenue or reputation. According to the 2016 Veeam Availability Report, the average cost of downtime for mission-critical applications is $100,266 per hour in the UK specifically, and 59 percent of respondents revealed their organisations’ applications encounter unplanned downtime caused by IT failures, external forces or other factors, up to ten times per year. Although employees are made aware that the system will be down for a period of time, this may still have a negative impact on productivity, profitability and workflow. A modern business requires constant and reliable data availability – especially during the holiday period when staff levels are lower.

Delete unnecessary data
Garbage data is a recognised problem, and one that can have the biggest impact on a firm’s availability. Data like this eats up resources in the data centre, and can cause poor performance and system errors. To maintain high availability, it is essential to keep garbage data under control. Common culprits are installation files duplicated at several locations, as well as virtual machines that are invisible because they have been removed from the warehouse, but not permanently deleted.

It’s easy to keep unnecessary amounts of garbage data when nobody knows what it is, and no one wants to delete it in case it’s something important. This method of keeping useless data is a legacy from the days when data protection and availability solutions were much less sophisticated, and restoring lost data was a cumbersome and difficult process. Today, data recovery is much quicker, allowing you to recover what you want, when you want. Whether you have lost a backup copy of an important piece of data or unintentionally deleted some garbage data, it is much easier to restore, usually within seconds.

Have procedures in place before the holiday season
Another equally important issue is that data recovery for any application requires spending one of the most valuable resources – time. The average downtime of critical applications in the IT systems of UK companies is five hours, an extended time for an organisation to be offline, when it could be as low as fifteen minutes. To ensure that services, applications and data are available throughout the holiday season, it is not only IT solutions that must be put in place, but also routine. Planning for restoring data in the fastest and easiest way when a problem has arisen is essential if we are to avoid unnecessary downtime and loss of corporate revenue.

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Availability is as important during the holiday season as any other time, and downtime remains costly no matter what time of year it occurs. In today’s digital society, end-users are expecting organisations to be Always-On and available. Unfortunately, the average number of failures in modern enterprises is still high. According to the 2016 Veeam Availability Report, 84 percent of senior IT decision makers across the globe admit to suffering an ‘Availability Gap’ between what IT can deliver, and what users demand. This gap costs $16 million a year in lost revenue and productivity, in addition to the negative impact on customer confidence and brand integrity (according to 68 percent and 62 percent of respondents, respectively). This cost only increases as more time passes, and unless procedures are put in place before the holiday season, there is a high risk of unnecessarily long downtime and high revenue loss.

Is your data centre ready for its summer holiday?

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