DataBank Establishes $725M Financing Facility to Support Growth. Read the press release.

Data Center Resilience: Designing For High Availability

Data Center Resilience: Designing For High Availability

For modern data centers, downtime is not an option, particularly not unplanned downtime. It is therefore vital that all data centers achieve the highest possible standards of data center resilience. With that in mind, here is a guide to designing data centers for high availability.

Importance of resilience

In the context of data centers, the term “resilience” refers to the ability of an infrastructure to withstand and recover from disruptions. The more resilience a data center has, the more likely it is to be able to maintain uninterrupted services at all times. In other words, higher resilience generally translates into lower downtime.

Understanding the impact of downtime

The simplest way to explain the impact of downtime is that it can lead to significant financial loss. Here are five specific ways in which this can occur.

Data loss and security concerns: Breakdowns in security protocols, interruptions to data replication, and the absence of real-time monitoring create windows of vulnerability. Robust backup, encryption, and contingency measures are vital for safeguarding digital assets and, hence, maintaining data integrity during disruptions.

Disrupted operations: Businesses heavily rely on uninterrupted access to their IT infrastructure for day-to-day activities. An outage can halt regular operations, leading to productivity losses and affecting the overall efficiency of the organization. The longer the outage, the more profound the impact on ongoing projects, customer service, and internal workflows.

Breach of service level agreements (SLAs): Many businesses implement service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee a certain level of availability and performance. Failing to meet the promised service levels can result in financial penalties, contractual disputes, and strained relationships with clients or partners.

Legal and compliance issues: Data center outages can lead to contract breaches and compliance failures. The former can trigger legal challenges and the latter to regulatory sanctions. These outcomes are likely to be expensive. They may also be disruptive especially if they tarnish the organization’s public image.

Reputational damage: News of service disruptions and downtime can quickly spread, affecting how customers, partners, and stakeholders perceive the reliability of the business. A tarnished reputation can be challenging to recover, leading to customer attrition and a diminished competitive position in the market.

Strategies for achieving high availability

Here are five key strategies for achieving and maintaining high availability in data centers.

Redundancy and replication: By duplicating critical components and services, organizations create backups that can seamlessly take over in case of failures. This applies not only to hardware but also to data. Replicating data across different servers or even geographical locations ensures that if one location experiences an issue, another can seamlessly continue operations.

Load balancing: Load balancing is a key practice to prevent any single server from being overwhelmed by incoming requests. By distributing traffic across multiple servers, the load on each server is optimized, and the risk of overload-induced failures is significantly reduced. Load balancing also contributes to efficient resource utilization, enhancing overall system performance.

Failover mechanisms: Failover mechanisms ensure a swift transition from a failing component to a backup. They often take the form of an active-passive setup where a standby system takes over when the primary system experiences issues. Automated failover systems are designed to detect problems and initiate the switch to maintain continuous service availability.

Scalability and elasticity: Systems must be able to adapt to changing workloads by automatically allocating or deallocating resources. This ensures continuous performance even during sudden traffic spikes or increased demand. It therefore enhances overall system robustness and minimizes the risk of downtime due to resource constraints.

Data center resilience best practices: These include comprehensive disaster recovery planning, designing for loose coupling among components, and prioritizing security measures. Resilient architectures consider the entire system’s lifecycle, including startup dependencies and graceful degradation under stress.

Case studies

Here are three real-world case studies of data centers that have been designed for high resilience.

Google: Google’s data center resilience is based on redundancy and automatic failover mechanisms. By replicating data across different locations, Google minimizes the risk of a single point of failure. Load balancing ensures even distribution of traffic among multiple servers, preventing overload on any single server. Automatic failover systems swiftly transition from primary to standby systems, ensuring uninterrupted service.

Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS prioritizes resilience through diverse availability zones, each with its own infrastructure and facilities. This geographical separation minimizes the impact of localized failures. Load balancing distributes traffic across multiple servers, maintaining optimal performance and mitigating the risk of overload. AWS’s auto-scaling feature dynamically adjusts resources based on demand, ensuring scalability and consistent availability.

Microsoft Azure: Azure focuses on resilience through distributed architecture, redundancy, and failover strategies. Availability zones enhance fault tolerance, and Azure’s scalability ensures adaptability to varying workloads. Data replication across regions boosts Azure’s disaster recovery capabilities.


Related Resources:

Colocation Vs. On-Premises: Choosing The Right Data Center Strategy

How to Choose Storage Solutions for Your Data Center

Share Article


Discover the DataBank Difference

Discover the DataBank Difference

Explore the eight critical factors that define our Data Center Evolved approach and set us apart from other providers.
Download Now
Get Started

Get Started

Discover the DataBank Difference today:
Hybrid infrastructure solutions with boundless edge reach and a human touch.

Get A Quote

Request a Quote

Tell us about your infrastructure requirements and how to reach you, and one of the team members will be in touch.

Schedule a Tour

Tour Our Facilities

Let us know which data center you’d like to visit and how to reach you, and one of the team members will be in touch shortly.