Last Tuesday Microsoft’s own and very demanded service, Azure faced some serious down time in the States, Europe and some parts of Asia.
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud platform, which can host a variety of applications and services, such as essential data for a website, web site hosting, mobile services, and virtual machines.
Downtime for cloud services can happen any time, for any reason. Be it an Internet failure or severe networking equipment failure at a data center, a power outage or some sort of event by nature. Preventing and combatting Internet and networking equipment failures is easy, but it can get expensive. In the end it’s usually worth it.
Backups are essential, even for your cloud services. However, in the case of a cloud service provider outage backups are not enough, for a few reasons. Who will host your data? The recovery time can be really high, depending where the data is backed up and the total size of the data and you’d still have to send that data to some remote server, which needs a very fast internet connection. You’ll spend hours just to send the data over to your new server, but you’ll still need another hour or two just to make server function properly.
If something simple as a website was hosted on Azure for your company, and if Azure went down, you could always setup to redirect your visitors to another web server. That web server could be the Amazon cloud services or some other host provider. Both servers would need equal sets of data, it must be updated at the same time. It’s also recommended to run a simulated outage from your primary provider to make sure the backup provider kicks in on time, and that everything is working as expected.
Backups are great, they are valuable, and should be done everywhere, in your home, in your small business, everywhere. However backups is not business continuity, and if your cloud-hosting provider goes offline, for whatever reason, business continuity should be in the back of your mind, not restoring backups as that can take hours. If your company is respectable, well known, and has thousands of visitors an hour on its website, the downtime could lead to catastrophic loss in potential profit. After the dust has settled, the company will be known for not be available when needed, and customers may go to competitors.
Business continuity is what’s needed in this day and age to keep the business going and thriving, from the IT side of things. The company may be spending a lot of money to power their servers, some servers will be powered on but no one will be utilizing them until needed. The next time your Azure or Amazon cloud service goes down, and your backup server kicks in to handle the traffic, you’ll be glad you spent the extra money.
Should you want more info about cloud service providers, contact Group 4 Networks!