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Why do I Have to Think About Business Continuity?

You've probably heard about the importance of business continuity and disaster recovery. Today, more businesses have business continuity plans than ever before. With so many businesses looking to secure their future, there are still a few aspects of business continuity that today’s business need to understand. After all, there is more to it than just data backup. Disaster recovery is something that needs to be planned, practiced, and updated regularly, and it’s important to have a management system that helps you predict, monitor, and execute your business continuity plan.

Over the last few years, business continuity has changed how it is perceived within a business. In a previous position, the company I worked for had multiple physical data centers with hardware at both sites with a full failover from one site to the next. But today’s ever-changing, always-on data requirements bring new complications to the business continuity plan. Today, infrastructure and applications can be hosted across multiple platforms, from on-premises to the public cloud. With these disparate environments and multiple management tools, it is key to know what is going on within your business.

So, let’s look at how some of the software packages in the market can help your business monitor your infrastructure and provide critical insights into your data.

Availability Monitoring

Experience has taught me that a lot of outages can be tracked to network issues. In the majority of cases, these outages could have been avoided. Availability monitoring software provides you a way to help identify and proactively troubleshoot network issues early. I have often blamed the network team for issues with my data center, putting pressure on them to work out what’s wrong, when the issue ended up being related to disk access or performance. With an availability monitoring solution, you can provide a quick response to your teams, helping you troubleshoot the issue before the business or end-user is affected. Availability monitoring tools can work in a standalone fashion to provide quick response for small organizations or for companies looking to provide information about a specific project. A larger organization may want to integrate availability monitoring into a more comprehensive platform.

Interface Monitoring

Sometimes you have to delve deeper into the environment when no real issues show on the network, but you can begin to see actual issues with each individual interface. Take a service provider, for instance. They have large distributed and shared networks with multiple VLANs and dedicated ports for each customer. Not to mention the different types of interfaces: 1Gb, 10Gb, Ethernet, all the way through to high-speed fiber. Now, I'm no expert when it comes to networks, so I would need help to start to decipher the issues. Using SNMP to collect the interface stats within the environment, and ICMP packet reports to collect data (such as packet loss, round-trip times, etc.), helps the network administrator identify application performance issues in the network quickly.

Virtualization Manager 

This is the tool that I find really cool. When I was an IT Manager, every day was a challenge, especially when we started introducing larger applications. But this was eight years ago, long before I knew about the category of virtualization management. Back then, if I had a piece of software that could proactively recommend what I needed to do with my VMs, I would have slept a lot easier. I will more time going over the benefits of virtualization management software in the future because it is a large and very detailed category, but today I want to highlight the features that I think can help your business continuity plan, including Predictive Recommendations and Active Virtualization Alerts.

Predictive Recommendations proactively monitors and calculates active and historical data to help you prevent and fix performance issues. You can review each recommendation and choose to act now or schedule for later time and date. This gives you choice and control over your environment. You can also use VMAN to help prevent future issues, by implementing resource settings and plans that can actioned if any performance thresholds are breached. Now, what's key for me is not only the value that’s provided by saving time and resources but also the uptime that can be achieved by making sure the VMs are in the right place.

In my next article, we will look at providing insight into your infrastructure to meet the compliancy challenges we are seeing today.

Mark Carlton
Mark is a DataCentre Consultant in Wakefield, England. Mark’s experience covers Technical Direction and Strategy for the business, program and services development for customers and…
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