iHeavy Insights 71 – Business Continuity Planning

BCP or business continuity planning sometimes also called Business Continuity and Resiliency Planning is the process of protecting your business against disaster.

There are a lot of risks associated with running a business from competitors, and hackers to legal entanglements to natural disasters or power outages.  For my subject matter expertise, I’ll focus on the datacenter.

Your computing resources are hosted at a colocation facility or perhaps in the cloud.  So one part of BCP would be looking at redundancy and high availability.  Do you have two webservers, two database servers, two networks, routers, power systems.  Can you failover easily?  Have you tested the failover and documented the process?

Once you have considered the issues within your datacenter, you can look at bigger outages such as power outages, or general datacenter downtime.  Even with solid SLAs, mistakes do happen.  If your business can’t handle this risk, you can look at using multiple datacenters – say on the east and west coast, or perhaps on different continents.  In that case global server load balancing (GSLB) may work for you, allowing load balancing to bring you to the physically closest servers or datacenter to service your request.  In the event one of those datacenters is unavailable, all traffic will be routed to the available one.

As more and more deployments happen in the cloud, the process of failover and testing becomes more crucial.  And that’s a good thing.  With many clients I suggest doing a firedrill to run through all the disaster recovery steps.  This makes sure all your backups are complete, but more importantly that the process is well documented.  When an outage happens it’s not the time you want to put all the pieces of the puzzle back together, and figure out that one piece is missing.

Cloud deployments though push you to automate processes, create images of server configurations and generally script the process of spinning up new servers.  That’s because virtualization requires it.   That pressure will only serve to improve recoverability and thus support business process continuity further.

Book Review: Richard Florida – The Rise of the Creative Class

Florida’s idea of creative is wide ranging.  The folks he includes are everyone whose job involves creating new ideas, new technologies, or new content.  Well written and exhaustive, he provides an insightful look at the horizon of our changing job market and economy.

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