What is High Availability?


A system — for example, a network server or a PBX exchange — is “high availability” when it has been designed to provide a higher than normal level of operational performance. A high availability system will have little or no downtime, making it a desirable feature for systems that are considered essential for business operations.


How Does High Availability Work?


The exact approach to ensuring high availability will depend on your system and how it’s configured. However, this feature is usually achieved by using one or more of the following methods:

  • Introducing redundant systems so that, if any single piece of technology fails, the system can adapt to use secondary hardware.
  • Backed up data can ensure that, in the event of data loss, critical data can be retrieved with minimal or no downtime. Continuous monitoring of servers allows your IT team to replace or maintain hardware before it fails, proactively.
  • Extensive testing of hardware and software before it enters operational life as an active part of your system further reduces the possibility of unexpected downtime.


Benefits of High Availability


By building high availability into your essential company-wide systems, you’re reducing your exposure to the risk of downtime.

  • If your company is sales-driven, this means you can be sure you won't lose your means of processing a transaction at times of peak commerce.
  • If your core business relies on data, high availability greatly lowers the possibility of permanent data loss.
  • If your customer-service relies on a call center, a high availability PBX exchange protects you from dissatisfied customers who can’t reach you when they need support.


Who Should Take Advantage of High Availability?


Any company that relies on critical systems to stay commercially viable should consider taking advantage of high availability. The technology is particularly useful if you need minimal downtime and require a proactive posture for managing risk.

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