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Why is it important to match uptime to infrastructure?

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Q:

Why is it important to match uptime to infrastructure?

A:

The importance of matching uptime to infrastructure has to do with how companies ensure efficiencies when they are dealing with multi-segmented and integrated systems.

Uptime is one of the most important parts of a service-level agreement (SLA) that a client signs with an IT vendor. Uptime specifies the amount of time that a given vendor product or service will be available. Without uptime provisions, there’s no guarantee that a product or service use will not be interrupted by annoying failures and down periods that can cost a lot in terms of system value.

However, along with ensuring uptime, the client company should make sure that the uptime guarantee matches the infrastructure itself. Otherwise, the company is overinvesting in high availability because the infrastructure itself cannot perform during the entire guaranteed uptime period. The systems may need eventual patching or maintenance, or not be able to operate continually over a given length of time.

To try to ensure performance, managers and engineers use all sorts of tools aimed at evaluating a given infrastructure. Infrastructure monitors may monitor virtual machines and servers, and other system components. Infrastructure monitoring tools may look at performance in database systems. Alternately, infrastructure monitoring may consider the use of hyperconvergence or other principles to manage storage, compute and network processes. Tools may check availability of services.

At the same time, if the company has high-performance infrastructure, then the company has to match that to a quality vendor product or service that will provide the required uptime. Reading an SLA carefully and asking questions is critical in the procurement phase of a contract. Another aspect of this process is to consider what the scope of the service will be, and what types of workloads it will cover. Looking at the scope, and how capably the vendor service will manage it, will show a buyer a realistic view of what a client company can expect when trying to get the most out of IT systems.

One key part of this process, for many proprietary networks, is the use of various strategies to effect failover in firewall processing. Engineers use concepts like pairing and clustering to ensure that firewall operations have seamless backup capability, in order to prevent costly and destructive issues related to downtime, such as transaction failures, order processing failures or reporting problems.

Companies may use specific vendor solutions to achieve high availability and effective backup, to match the uptime provisions of useful services to the infrastructure in hand. As with other types of vended technologies, a subscription-based menu of choices can help businesses to tailor their IT purchases to their needs. In addition, new virtualization technologies like hypervisor and container virtualization may offer other values in promoting high availability and uptime for shared systems.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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