Getting Down To The Basics, Why You Need High Availability

High availability is all about making sure that mission-critical systems, applications, and services are available for customers when they need it. In this video, Cassius Rhue, VP of Customer Experience at SIOS Technology, shares his insights on high availability environments and the importance of having a dedicated HA support team.

Challenges associated with setting up high-availability (HA) environments:

  • Defining what HA means for the company: is it just four 9s or beyond?
  • Understanding the company’s goals and requirements: which applications need to be highly available, what are the interactions, how clients connect to those systems.
  • Planning out the architecture according to best practices, and then implementing where HA software is needed.
  • Consulting with or augmenting the team with HA experts in constructing HA systems, deploying HA software to increase the application and database availability, handling the replication of data and data availability between servers and systems and data centers.
  • Navigating silos. Each team in the IT infrastructure has to think beyond their silo to recognize that high availability impacts networking, compute resources, storage resources, the applications, and the database. It is a collective effort of the entire organization seeking to make sure they are resilient.

On the importance of HA Support:

  • Systems are becoming increasingly complex. People are busy with their roles, and it’s not their primary job to understand all the inner workings of every system.
  • Organizations tend to have DBAs, application experts, storage experts or AWS Certified architects, but you very rarely find an expert in high availability software.
  • It is critical to have a team that understands the complexity of HA systems, knows how to architect for best practices, knows the different use case scenarios, and is dedicated to helping you when issues arise.

On choosing an HA Support vendor:

  • Select a reputable HA organization that provides the level of support that meets your SLAs. SIOS Technology’s HA organization is available 24/7 and has award-winning support representatives.
  • Understand what their support agreements are.
  • Understand your levers for escalation when you don’t feel like you’re getting the proper level of support, e.g., Support Director, senior support member, etc.
  • Make sure you’re communicating and understanding one another, especially if there are language differences.

On how to get the most out of your HA Support vendor:

  • Notes: Keep good notes and details about the architecture, aka runbooks. This includes how systems are architected together, how they work, the versions, applications, and teams involved.
  • Notice: Give your support team as much advance notice about changes in your environment and about maintenance plans. This helps them align with your plans, check those plans, and helps them to be better prepared when you need to call in.
  • News: Share any news about your organization or about your environment with the support team, including personnel changes. And then follow their news about their software/product/ HA best practices.
  • Say no to taking shortcuts or not involving your support organization in advance.
  • Keep lines of communication open and ongoing.

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