Can You Eliminate System Downtime?
We've published a new ebook, “Business Health, Partner Healthy: Five Prescriptions to Stop Healthcare Disasters.” Told through the lens of four StorageCraft partners, the ebook explores the various challenges faced by managed service providers who support healthcare organizations. One thing that really struck me about this particular industry was its absolute intolerance for downtime. In a business where people’s lives literally depend on the technology around them, eradicating downtime becomes a top priority.
But is it really possible to eliminate downtime completely? It’s no secret that system downtime is a problem for any business. The more we rely on IT systems and data, the more periods without access to those systems or data hurt.
So these days, your tolerance for downtime (often called recovery time objective, or RTO) has to drive your disaster recovery planning, even more than data loss, with its accompanying recovery point objective. There have been solutions to the data loss problem for years, so these days, the critical factor in beating a disaster is your ability to get back up and running with little or no downtime.
Can It Be Done?
Obviously, every IT environment is different, but in general, I think the answer is “yes.” It is possible to eliminate downtime, or at least to reduce it to a negligible period of time. Consider the results of an Aberdeen Group study from a couple of years ago. In that study the businesses with the most proactive disaster recovery plans suffered an average of 1.2 hours of downtime in a year. I would call the negligible downtime.
Okay, so does that mean that all your systems will always be running in tip-top shape? That would be awesome, but it’s also somewhat unlikely. Realistically, a downtime-free environment involves plenty of alternate ways of running your systems.
“Like mirroring?” you ask. Sure, that’s one possible way to accomplish downtime liberation, but it tends to be fairly expensive. These days, other technologies such as virtualization make it possible to run your business in the middle of a disaster, even if your main system is out of action. A solution like this may not seem optimal, but it keeps your business running without downtime until you can rebuild and who can argue about that?
How Do I Get Started
Of course, technology plays a huge role in eliminating system down time, but the process begins by asking some honest questions:
- What systems do you have that could go down?
- What can cause these systems to go down?
- What effect does this downtime have on your business?
Even a basic answers to these questions can help you eliminate system downtime from your list of worries because they help you understand what your needs will be, technologically and otherwise. Be as rigorous and honest as you can be in answering.
Downtime is really one of the biggest threats to your business, but today, by asking the right questions and coming up with the right plan, you can get rid of it completely.
Mat Rayback is Marketing Content Writer at StorageCraft, which works closely with MSPs. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of StorageCraft’s guest blogs here.