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Posts Tagged ‘high availability’

Business Continuity Planning: RTO vs RPO

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

When working in a critical sector like healthcare, business continuity planning is an essential task. In fact, organizations subject to HIPAA regulations must create a risk assessment that identifies the systems that contain sensitive data and plan for what happens to that data in case of an emergency. Once you understand what data is at risk, you can begin to understand your tolerance level and plan for the worst-case scenario. Two key factors to consider are RTO and RPO. This article explains the difference between RTO and RPO and how to account for each in business continuity planning.


rto vs rpo

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

RTO stands for Recovery Time Objective. This term refers to the length of time it takes to restore operations from the start of an issue to when the system is again fully functional. Essentially, it refers to how much unplanned downtime can be tolerated before it leads to significant business impacts.

Unplanned downtime of critical systems can be extremely damaging to business operations. For example, if a hospital system’s electronic medical records go down because of a ransomware attack, patient care may need to be stopped or diverted until systems are back online. This could have not only devastating financial impacts but could also lead to loss of life.

Every system will have a different tolerance level for downtime. The Recovery Time Objective will vary based on the importance of various systems and the costs to your business. For example, maybe the EHR can be down for 15 minutes without causing severe business impacts. On the other hand, a less crucial system, like the hospital phone system, could be down from three to six hours without causing significant impacts on the business. Each system requires its own disaster recovery plan and has a different RTO.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

RPO stands for Recovery Point Objective. This term refers to how much data could be lost due to an unplanned outage. Organizations must know how frequently to backup data so it can be restored without data loss in an emergency.

Once again, this will vary based on the business and the importance of the data. Some organizations may find that daily backups are sufficient for less critical systems, while others may prefer to employ more frequent backups. Take our last example of a ransomware attack on an EHR. In this scenario, the time of the last backup is crucial. If the attack occurred at noon, and the system is only backed up once a day at 10pm, all the patient data added to the EHR that morning will be missing. For a critical system like an EHR, more frequent backups are appropriate.

The Difference Between RTO and RPO

Both RTO and RPO are vital to creating a business continuity plan. If backups of data are readily available, there will be less downtime. Taking our ransomware example from the previous paragraph, if data is backed up and stored separately from the EHR system, a well-trained and prepared IT team can restore the data onto new servers without severely impacting business operations. Frequent backups will allow the IT team to restore the system with zero data loss and limited downtime.

Business Continuity Planning RTO vs RPO

Every organization addresses business continuity planning differently, depending on the data and systems they utilize. Budget limitations, compliance risk, and data sensitivity are three factors that prominently affect how disaster recovery plans are created.

An easy solution would be to make every system as resilient as possible to avoid system downtime or data loss. However, this is often unrealistic. For most organizations, implementing highly available solutions for every system is too expensive and is somewhat nonsensical.

Conducting a risk analysis helps identify the most significant risks to the business. This information makes it easier to allocate resources efficiently. Extremely frequent backups of minor systems are unnecessary at best and can be outright wasteful. It’s better to focus business continuity efforts on the most sensitive systems and data, especially if a breach has regulatory consequences. In practice, this means creating highly redundant and available configurations for the most vital systems to business operations.

Reduce RTO and RPO with High Availability Solutions

Once you understand your tolerance for downtime and data loss, it is possible to create infrastructure solutions that minimize (or practically eliminate) RTO and RPO. LuxSci’s high availability solutions offer practically zero downtime and data loss. One way to achieve this is by using load balancers to redirect traffic away from unavailable servers. To reduce downtime and data loss, it’s a good idea to use geographically redundant MySQL databases.

To learn more about LuxSci’s high availability solutions, check out our other blog articles or contact our sales team.

Should your web site database have its own dedicated server?

Tuesday, August 24th, 2021

Should you have separate dedicate servers or clusters for your web site and database? It comes down to your security and reliability needs. What are the pros and cons of each scenario? Is it worth the expense? We shall delve into these business-critical questions in this article.

 dedicated web site database

Let’s look at the security and reliability impact of the various common configuration choices.

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High Availability High Volume Email

Tuesday, June 8th, 2021

High volume email sending is essential to the business operations of many different companies. Whether these emails involve onboarding messages to new users, form a crucial part of an organization’s marketing strategy, or are sent for a wide range of other purposes, they are often a core component of how a company spreads necessary information.

If the suitable systems aren’t in place, high volume email can go down. This stops all transactional and marketing emails from being sent, which can cause delays or disruptions to business operations. These outages can have significant effects on a company’s bottom line.

If critical email systems cannot go down, then a high availability, high volume email system needs to be in place. This creates redundancy to keep systems online in case of an outage.

high volume email

What Is High Availability?

As we discussed above, the goal of high availability is to keep an organization’s email up and running as much as possible. This is known as high availability, an engineering term applied to many systems, especially in computing.

High availability is commonly used when talking about websites–a high availability service has redundancies in place that keep a website online, even if the main server fails. In addition to the server that hosts the site itself, high availability web apps also need high availability MySQL so that databases are still accessible if the main server that hosts them goes down.

These high availability services are critical for businesses that cannot perform their core functions if their websites or databases go offline.

If a high availability service isn’t used and there aren’t redundancies in place, outages to the servers will force the site down. This means that customers will no longer be able to access the platform or some of the site’s essential services.

It’s not just websites and web services that can go down. If a company’s high volume email doesn’t use a high availability infrastructure, it can go down when a server fails. This grinds all of an organization’s email to a halt, delaying or disrupting its marketing and transactional emails.

If these emails aren’t sent and received by customers, the company won’t be able to perform many of its necessary business functions until the server comes back online. This can lead to the loss of customers, increased complaints, reduced sales, and many other serious problems. With this in mind, high availability high volume email services are critical for any organization that relies on its email to perform its core functions.

Why Do Systems Go Down?

Some of the most common reasons that online systems go down include:

  • Hardware failures bringing down critical components such as the memory, CPU, or power.
  • Crashes or bugs in an operating system or other software.
  • DDoS and other attacks against the server.
  • Excessive amounts of traffic.
  • Failure of the network.
  • Overloading the network.
  • Failures at the data center, including human error or power outages.

How Can Load Balancing Help to Give You High Availability High Volume Email?

As we discussed above, there are many reasons services could go offline. These causes of failure are inevitable, and they can occur at random. If the organization’s high volume email needs to be operational as much as possible, put redundancies in place to take over when these inevitable failures happen.

A core component of this is load balancing, which shares the workload between servers. This boosts the capacity, allowing servers to share the volume with others when they get overwhelmed by traffic. Load balancers can also detect server failures and automatically redirect traffic to healthy servers when necessary. When high volume email services are equipped with load balancing, they will continue to send emails even when a server in the cluster goes down.

Many providers have their servers and load balancers in the same place, making it easier to operate but creating additional risks. If everything is located in the same data center, a failure at the data center or in the network can still bring the email system down. Load balancing won’t help if the servers’ data center goes down because of a power outage or extreme weather.

At LuxSci, we offer a more robust alternative by placing servers in separate data centers in the same geographic region. Having servers in different physical locations makes high volume email services far more resistant to going offline. Even if one data center fails, there will be backups online at other sites.

High Availability MySQL For High Volume Email

High volume email requires databases for tracking, logging, and other purposes. If the database goes down, so does the ability to send transactional and marketing emails. If high volume email is critical to business operations, high availability databases should also be put in place.

LuxSci’s solution is its regional high availability MySQL service. This offering includes a cluster of Enterprise MySQL servers, each located in separate locations within the same geographic region. It automatically replicates the databases across all servers, with features including automated:

  • Failover and recovery
  • Zero-downtime system
  • Software updates

Our high availability MySQL service is excellent for organizations that rely on their high volume email for business operations because it makes databases extremely resistant to going offline. It’s a solution that can help organizations survive the failure of a data center all maintaining HIPAA compliance.

Together with LuxSci’s high availability load balancers, our high availability MySQL makes bulk email systems incredibly resistant to downtime.

LuxSci’s High Availability High Volume Email Solution

High availability services are highly recommended if marketing and transactional emails are critical to an organization’s operations. When you consider the costs of the service going down, it’s best to choose a solution that offers high availability.

Nothing will stop systems from failing, but with redundancies such as high availability load balancers and MySQL in place, we can ensure common failures don’t impact your business. Contact us now to find out more on how LuxSci’s offerings can help to keep high volume email systems online as much as possible.


LuxSci’s Latest Offerings: High Availability Load Balancers & MySQL

Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

Our new high availability solutions are the latest offerings in LuxSci’s constant mission to better serve our customers. We can now deliver regional high availability load balancers and MySQL, which ensure that our clients’ websites face as little downtime as possible.

Before we discuss the specifics of these LuxSci services, let’s back up a little and explain what high availability is, and why it is important for your organization.

high availability load balancers

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Are you Prepared for Disaster? Business Continuity Planning for Email Outages

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Unexpected email outages happen to every email user. It is not a big deal if it is just for a few minutes or some scheduled time at night. However, if it is in the middle of a workday and employees rely on email, it may be a big problem.

planning for email outages

What do you do if your email stays offline for five minutes, ten minutes, or an hour, and you don’t know when it is coming back?

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