Don’t Wait for Your Server to Fail

by Lauren Ascroft on 29 Nov 2017

Lauren Ascroft
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No matter how well a server is maintained there are a variety of events that can lead to a server failure, with one failure tending to lead to another.

The causes below can all contribute to a server failure:

• Loss of power;
• Hardware failure;
• Operating system crashes;
• Network partitions;
• Unexpected application behaviour.

Imagine what would happen if your server went down today. Apart from the IT department focused on fixing the problem, many employees would have nothing to do, and as the clocks tick your business may be suffering. If you have tape backup (a copy of your backed up data which is stored on tape) it could take days or even weeks to get back up and running, with no guarantee you will be able to restore all data.

Correct server monitoring is an important factor and can reduce the risks in failure if picked up quickly. Server monitoring is the proactive approach to preventing disaster because in today’s business when the data stops flowing so does the money.

If you rely on servers within your organisation a Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) should be thought out, documented and implemented properly.

Recovery Point Objective refers to how far back a server will go when it’s restored.

Example:
If you back up your server(s) at midnight and then it fails at 2pm in the afternoon the following day, all changes between midnight and 2pm would be lost when you restore. This might be ok for some servers but unacceptable for others. If a server needed a shorter RPO you would have to back it up more frequently. RPO is something that needs considering when setting up the backup schedule.

Recovery Time Objective refers to the duration of time it would take to get the server back up and running in the event of a failure without a break in business continuity.

When business services are affected by an incident like a server failure, it might be something that cannot be fixed immediately. This is why RPO and RTO objectives are key in creating a business continuity plan.

Along with this a full server failure procedure should be tested and planned out thoroughly and is essential to have in place in case of a server failure incident.

Server failure is more common than what people think, it is important to ensure all the correct procedures are put in place to recover with as little down time and data loss as possible.

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