Tech News

Failing Technology and Your Data

When technology breaks, it leaves a hole in your otherwise-perfectly-functioning business that introduces you to a sudden, unexpected cost. If it’s a switch or a router (or even a workstation) that needs to be replaced, it’s cheap enough and you may have some money stashed away for it. The cost to replace an in-house enterprise server, however, could be between $5,000 and $20,000 dollars. Couple that with pricing fluctuations, and combine that with the USA/Canada exchange rate and you’re looking at a rabbit hole of options. At ActiveCo Technology Management, we like to think of ourselves as consultants and business solution providers and technology concerns are our specialty.

Today there are more options than ever for the housing, management, and maintenance of an your business infrastructure, including storage and applications. Our question is whether you feel you’re working with a solutions provider (inhouse I.T., third party, whatever you’re doing…) who is able to guide you, step-by-step, down the path to a successful project.

Should your server be failing, do you know the first steps to take in order to replace it?

  • How do you get the data from the old hardware to the new hardware?
  • Are you backed up?
  • Do you have failover set up?
  • What about networking configurations?
  • Should you go Cloud or Locally Hosted?
  • During which hours will the changeover occur?

With so many factors to consider, relying on the experts is a must, if you don’t have dedicated IT personnel on staff, the process might get a little overwhelming.

Let’s assume that (for this example) your organization’s file server is about to fail and you don’t have any contingency in place. What variables do you need to consider?

Are you backed up?
Do you have failover?
In-house or Cloud
Migration plan: RTO & RPO
Functionality and Security

Are You Backed Up?
Has your organization put in place a backup function? Before we start in on a new server, every business should be utilizing a comprehensive backup and recovery system. Not only do you protect your data (one of the most lucrative assets your business has), but it also gives you failover options that many organizations might not have. Our Backup and Disaster Recovery system features incremental backups and the ability to use the device as a failover server, so your business isn’t dealing with sustained downtime while you replace or repair your server.

Do You Have Failover?
A failover system is a system in place that allows you to protect your organization from system failure. By having a system to continue to access critical data, you can keep business moving while you replace or repair vital hardware. As stated above, our BDR gives temporary failover server capabilities to ensure the smoothest transition you can expect.

In-House or Cloud?
The big decision many businesses have to make nowadays is where to host your server. There are pros and cons to moving your infrastructure to the cloud, as today a well-designed-and-implemented cloud server is often more beneficial depending on the needs of your organization. The average business has multiple servers, so when one is on the verge of failure (or fails outright) and you are forced to use your failover platform as a temporary server, considering a move that will allow you to manage to get the server up and running again efficiently has to be a consideration. There are many cloud-hosted options to consider. Performing the cloud vs in-house determination. When your hardware gets old (or your software is), you have to start to consider your options. Let’s look at some variables you should be cognizant of when deciding whether or not to move your computing infrastructure offsite.

In-House Computing – The traditional method of computing, some would argue, is tried and true. You purchase the hardware outright, you license the software you need, you equip it with the storage you need, and you manage and maintain it in house. The server unit itself is a big expense, but most small to medium-sized businesses could justify the purchase if it was between losing data and continuing efficient production. You have to ascertain what the costs are and see if a new onsite server is cost effective for you.
Cloud Computing – If your computing infrastructure needs to be replenished, there are several great cloud-hosted computing options your business could consider. From affordable public cloud solutions to resource and capital intensive private cloud solutions, the cloud has options for any business that needs to upgrade their computing infrastructure. The cloud also helps organizations that want to put an emphasis on remote work and collaboration.

Migration Plan: RTO & RPO
When migrating data onto a new server from backup, you need to understand the costs of doing so. That’s why disaster recovery experts have defined the necessary metrics you need to understand when recovering data after a server failure (or any major data loss incident). They are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective. (RPO). In the context of data recovery, the RTO is a measurement of the amount of time your business can go without storage or applications while they are restored, while the RPO is a measure of how far back data recovery needs to go to get your organization up and running efficiently. Typically the two values work against each other, so determining how much data you need and how fast you’ll need it by to keep your company functional becomes extremely important.

New and Old, Side-By-Side
Once you have your new computers up and running with all the software and appliances configured, make sure to leave your old system up (if possible), even if a hardware failure is imminent. This will allow you the time to ensure that your new server is working optimally when it matters most. After you’ve ironed out all the kinks, you then can shut down and recycle your old server.

There are many more tips and tricks we can give you to ensure that in replacing your old technology, you are getting powerful, effective, and reliable upgrades. For more information about proactive managed services that can tell you if it’s time to refresh your hardware, call the IT professionals at ActiveCo Technology Management today at (604) 425-3433.

Jeff Penner

Jeff Penner

Jeff has been in the managed services industry since 2015, understanding what business owners are looking for from technology, and helping them find it. The most important element for a business owner taking on a new technology partner is peace of mind and thus Jeff directs his efforts on finding practical information that any leader can apply to their business. Jeff lives in Vancouver, BC, sharing his love for learning and “the great indoors” with his 2 daughters.