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Ensuring availability during the holiday season

Summer is here, and many are getting ready to take a well-deserved holiday. However, this does not mean that expectations of continuous access to applications, services and data should be lowered.

A modern business relies on delivering 24/7 availability, regardless of employee holidays, but what happens if the system breaks down during the week a corporate IT manager has gone away? It will take longer than usual to get systems running again, and will in turn impact corporate revenue and reputation.

In order to avoid this, there are three simple precautions businesses should take during holiday season to ensure that corporate applications, services and data remain available throughout:

  1. Avoid downtime

It is no longer the case that planned or unplanned downtime will not have a direct impact on vital services, whether it is revenue or reputation. According to Veeam’s Data Center Availability Report, enterprises encounter application downtime 13 times annually, costing up to $2.3 million in lost revenue and up to $7.9 million of lost application data.

At a time when it is expected that products and services should be available at all times, both unplanned and planned downtime are deemed unacceptable, especially since it is now easily avoidable. Although employees are made aware that the system will be down for a period of time, this may still have a negative impact on productivity, profitability and workflow.

A modern business requires constant and reliable data availability - especially during the holiday period when staff levels are lower.

  1. Delete unnecessary data

Garbage data is a recognised problem, and one that can have the biggest impact on a firm's availability. Data like this eats up resources in the data center, and can cause poor performance and system errors.

To maintain high availability, it is essential to keep garbage data under control. Common culprits are installation files duplicated at several locations, as well as virtual machines that are invisible because they have been removed from the warehouse, but not permanently deleted.

It’s easy to keep unncecesary amounts of garbage data when nobody knows what is, and no one wants to delete it in case it’s something important. This method of keeping useless data is a legacy from the days when data protection and availability solutions were much less sophisticated, and restoring lost data was a cumbersome and difficult process.

Today data recovery is much quicker, allowing you to recover what you want, when you want. Whether you have lost a backup copy of an important piece of data or unintentionally deleted some garbage data, it is much easier to restore, usually within seconds.

  1. Have procedures in place before the holiday season

To ensure that services, applications and data are available throughout the holiday season, it is not only IT solutions that must be put in place, but also routine. Planning for restoring data in the fastest and easiest way when a problem has arisen is essential if we are to avoid unnecessary downtime and loss of corporate revenue.

When processes for recovery are in place and well known by corporate employees, it should not be necessary to take more than 15 minutes to get systems up and running again.

Availability is as important during the holiday season as any other time, and downtime remains costly no matter what time of year it occurs. In a survey performed on behalf of Veeam, it was revealed that companies risk losing millions of dollars due to downtime and solutions not working as they should, as well as losing productivity and data.

This cost only increases as more time passes, and unless procedures are put in place before the holiday season, there is high risk of unnecessarily long downtime and high revenue loss.

Is your data center ready for its summer holiday?

Rick Vanover, Senior Product Strategy Manager, Veeam