Due to the growing demand for high-performance and reliable infrastructures designed to support critical systems, the terms scalability and high availability could not be more popular.
While dealing with increased system load is a common concern, decreasing downtime and eliminating single points of failure are equally important. A high-availability server is a quality of infrastructure design at a scale that addresses these last considerations.
In this article, we talk about the concept of high availability and explain why having a server of this type can improve the reliability of your infrastructure.
What is a high-availability server?
A highly available architecture involves multiple components working together to ensure uninterrupted service over a specific period. This also includes response time to user requests. In other words, the available systems need to be not only online, but also responsive.
A dedicated high-availability server is an advanced system equipped with redundant power supplies and networking, disk towers, and backups, ensuring the highest uptime and complete reliability without a single point of failure.
What are the main characteristics of a high-availability server?
High-availability solutions often have redundant hardware and software that make the system available despite failures. Well-designed systems avoid having single points of failure. Any hardware or software component that can fail has a redundant component of the same type. Let’s understand a little better about these characteristics.
The process of distributing incoming web traffic across a group of servers efficiently and without intervention is called load balancing. A hardware or software device that provides this functionality is known as a load balancer.
A load balancer ensures uniform distribution, i.e., all requests must be served in a way that maximizes the utilization of the speed and capacity of all servers and none of them are over or underutilized.
When your customers visit your website, they are first connected to the load balancer and the router forwards them to one of the web servers in your infrastructure. If any server goes down, the load balancer will instantly redirect traffic to the remaining online servers.
Scalable private cloud
A scalable private cloud is a cloud-based system that provides self-service, scalability, and elasticity through a proprietary architecture. Private clouds are highly scalable, which means that whenever you need more resources, you can upgrade them, be it memory, storage space, CPU, or bandwidth.
It provides the best level of security and control, making it an ideal solution for larger companies. It also allows you to customize computer, storage, and networking components to best meet your custom requirements.
Failover means instantly switching to a standby server or network after the main server/network fails. When the primary host goes down or requires maintenance, the workload is automatically switched to a secondary host. This must be ongoing, with users completely unaware of what has happened.
Failover prevents a single point of failure (SPoF) and is therefore the most suitable option for mission-critical applications where the system needs to be online without even a second of downtime.
A high-availability cluster is a group of servers supporting server applications that can be used with a minimum amount of downtime when any server node fails or is overloaded.
You may require high availability clusters for any of the reasons like load balancing, failover servers, and backup systems. The most common types of cluster configurations are active-active and active-passive.
What are the benefits of high availability for business?
When it comes to high-availability solutions, the name says it all. Solutions of this type keep your data as accessible as possible, even in the event of a partial server failure. Below, are other advantages of having a high-availability server.
Ensures protection against downtime
If a business-critical server fails, it also stops all servers that interact with it. Plus, as we become an increasingly paperless workplace, servers not working equal to no work, period.
In these contexts, high-availability solutions will allow you to seamlessly migrate operations to a host server. This way, customer relationships can still be maintained, employees can continue to do their jobs, and downtime cannot disrupt the critical functioning of the business.
Prevents loss of revenue
A server that doesn’t work means new sales can’t be made and current customers can’t be helped. The faster you can get your server up and running, the faster you can get back to business as usual.
With partial failover solutions, operations can migrate to the host server and continue functioning as if the original server was unaffected. This requires special knowledge in Layer 2 communications, which allows your company’s data to travel through a scalable, encrypted network configuration to safely reach the host server.
Unplanned downtime from a disaster isn’t the only type of downtime businesses face. Hardware and software upgrades or upgrades are other instances where businesses can face costly downtime. With high-availability solutions, this downtime can be minimized.
Companies can plan to restore their server at the host site and run production there while their internal operations are being modified. This way, companies do not need to be prevented from making necessary improvements; you can still update your IT environment without missing a beat.
Does your website need to be available and secure 24/7? Only high-availability servers can provide this level of flexibility. Partial failover of individual servers in a Layer 2 networking strategy allows communication between multiple interfaces.
Once the primary production site is back up and running, the failover site can be disabled, and the changes that occurred back to the production servers while the primary site is offline.
Improves resilience and agility
While disaster recovery solutions are essential, they can take hours to coordinate. With high-availability solutions, it only takes seconds to switch to the failover center and run production from there.
Everything is customized to your specifications — do you want your data up to date in minutes or seconds? You can specify how quickly your data will be replicated so that the version you are running on the host site is almost identical to the version on the server that has gone offline. This way, you are resilient to almost any effect on the normal functioning of your business; The transition to the host server is seamless and happens in seconds.
Regardless of the size and type of business you run, any type of service downtime can be costly without a cloud disaster recovery solution. Worse still, it can do permanent damage to your reputation. By relying on a high-availability server, you can reduce the risk of losing your data, as well as minimize the chances of having problems in the production environment.