How to Determine Reliable IT Infrastructure
Posted on: 08-03-2016
If you’re investing in new IT infrastructure or are looking to expand your existing systems, one word you’ll be reading and hearing a lot is ‘reliable’. Of course you want a reliable network; you want to be able to promise such-and-such per cent up time to clients, or guard against potential losses from catastrophic internal network failures. But what exactly are people talking about when they say ‘reliable IT infrastructure’?
The two halves of reliability
Fundamentally, most people are referring to two factors: durability and flexibility. A durable network is one that can – so to speak – take a punch. Whether suffering through intermittent power-failures, DDoS attacks, or increased demand, a durable system does it all with a smile and barely any lost functionality.
On the other hand, flexibility refers to the system’s ability to respond to changes in circumstances that are not directly hostile to its functionality. This can seem complicated but largely refers to protecting against changes in software or hardware requirements through future-proofing, or eliminating single points of failure through redundancy. In short, durability is how well you deal with problems in the here-and-now or in the short-term; flexibility is how you prepare for distant issues.
Making a system durable
For servers you can’t afford to be without – those holding sensitive data or processing financial transactions – invest in an online universal power supply (UPS). Unlike cheaper standby UPS systems, online UPS systems are constantly running from the battery. Line power is used to charge the battery which is continuously discharged to power your systems, meaning in the event of a power outage, the overall effect is like unplugging a laptop – a seamless switch to battery power with no service interruption.
Reducing your system’s surface of vulnerability can significantly increase its resilience to DDoS attacks and unauthorised access. This can be mean splitting your system up into discrete hardware units so that each unit is only focusing on as few tasks as possible. Obviously this can be a significant expense for any business, so completely atomising your network into a field of single-use servers is not going to be suitable for every company. It’s recommended that particularly vulnerable or valuable servers be isolated from the rest and given only that specific task to do to minimise their exposure.
Fundamentally, increasing flexibility goes hand-in-hand with increasing redundancy. Crucial systems need to have back-up units in place to ensure that your business can carry on as usual even in the event of a catastrophic failure in a single unit. Single points of failure are a system administrator’s worst nightmare. Work with your IT team (whether in-house or outsourced) to identify potential weak links in the chain and reinforce them with dependable back-ups.
Understanding the needs of your company and how they compare and contrast with the changing standards and practices in your industry can give you an idea of what you’ll need to do to stay current in the months and years ahead. Future-proofing your company now can prevent larger expenditures in the future as you struggle to catch up. With the increased move towards cloud, often you can benefit from updates to hardware and software without having to directly implement them yourself.
Speak to a local expert and ensure that your business is working with the best infrastructure available. At Typent, we’ll help you figure out if you’ve got the most reliable system. Contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on +65 6655 4820.