With Easter just around the corner, our thoughts turn to Spring, getting outside and protecting our basket of eggs. What am I talking about? Let me explain…
Now is a good time to check to see if all of your eggs ARE in one basket OR if all of your similar eggs are in one SIMILAR basket.
The ultimate scenario of all your eggs in one basket is a single server that holds all of your files, emails, databases, etc. This scenario typically also includes a single network switch, a single firewall and a single copy of your backups. This is the most dangerous scenario for your ‘eggs’ since any one failure will stop your business dead in its tracks.
The all in one basket problem doesn’t stop there though. This concern goes further into multiple server scenarios that include a single web server, a single database server, a single mail server, a single physical server running many virtual servers, even a single internet connection. In this scenario, your eggs are not in one basket, but are separated into similar baskets. Although better than the scenario above, your business continuity is still at risk.
The solution to any ‘all in one basket’ scenario is a second basket. Your second basket can come in the form of a second domain controller, a load balanced web server, a mirrored database server, a hosted email solution, a backup copy of your virtual machines, a backup internet connection, a spare switch or firewall or a sound offsite backup plan.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that you have to start somewhere, but your business has matured (or will mature) past this phase. How old IS that single server? I would venture to guess that it has seen more years than you realize. Time has a tendency to pass pretty quickly.
So what should you do? You can definitely over think this. Pretty soon you’ll drive yourself crazy thinking about redundancy for your redundancy.
The better approach is to identify your weakest or most critical point in the chain. Think through each component in your network and determine the one that would stop your business dead if it were to fail. Start with that component, make it redundant and then move to weak point number two. Continue with this approach until you are satisfied that you have a redundancy plan for every major component.
Of course, a good disaster recovery plan is also key to your business continuity (see Anyone Seen the Backup Tape? – Mar 1, 2013).
The bottom line is this… spread your eggs across as many baskets as your budget allows so you can protect your hard work, investment and ultimately your business continuity. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that your eggs are protected.