What is a Failover?
A failover is a safeguard planned in advance that comes online to replace a failed system or piece of equipment and continue its function. You can have failovers for servers, important endpoints, and even for network connectivity such as a failover modem; any crucial system for your business can have a failover. This adds redundancy to your systems and helps your business continuity and cyber resilience.
Why is planning for a failover a good idea?
System failure is not something you can prevent, but it is something you can plan for. All equipment no matter how high quality will be subject to wear and tear of use and age. By accepting this, you can put into place failovers for your key systems so that you can continue working when a system is down. That gives you flexibility to repair your systems or make arrangements for new ones.
Failovers allow you to continue working, and give you time and space to begin recovery if necessary while not compromising your business continuity.
How do I create a failover plan?
Failover plans are meant to create redundancy. To create a failover plan identify key systems for your business and invest in additional software and hardware to double that capability and maintain it in reserve. For example, following a 3-2-1 backup scheme and backup rotation scheme creates redundancy, and you can add an additional capability to possess a failover. Have a backup networking device. Use redundant capabilities built into virtual systems to set up failovers.
What is a failover cluster?
A failover cluster is a group of computer servers set up to make sure there’s no downtime for organizations after a system failure. These clusters may use any combination of virtual machines or physical devices.
If one server stops working, the failover cluster system quickly moves its tasks to another server. This helps in avoiding interruptions and ensures applications keep running smoothly. Some clusters ensure there’s absolutely no downtime, so users won’t even notice if something goes wrong. Others might have a short break, but they recover quickly without losing any data. Tools are available to help set up and manage these recovery processes.
Generally speaking, a cluster is just a group of two or more servers connected with cables and software. Some clusters have extra features like balancing the workload or using cloud backup.
Best Practices for a failover
- Have a plan: develop a clear disaster recovery plan that identifies your most important data and systems. Use this information to determine what systems need redundancy and are critical to business continuity.
- Redundancy is the objective: Creating a failover backup system is as easy as buying an additional drive in your backup scheme, or adding additional backup licenses to your cloud backup provider. It’s buying additional servers and network switches. Do not complicate your processes too much.
- Replace systems quickly: Do not rely on your failover systems to permanently replace your main systems. Use the opportunity given by your failover to recover your main systems quickly.
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