In today’s global online economy, an organization’s IT end-users and customers demand 24/7 access to applications . As a result, even the briefest period of downtime can have serious bottom-line impact. In fact, a recent survey found that the average cost per hour of downtime was over $163,000*—an amount that can quickly send a company into financial peril. Given these high stakes, it’s not surprising that business continuity and disaster recovery are becoming top priorities for organizations of all types and sizes.
But when it comes to implementing business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plans, what’s the best approach to take? A new Aberdeen Group report focuses on the actions, capabilities, and technology enablers that best-in-class organizations have adopted to ensure continuous business operations—even in the event of disaster. Results of a recent Aberdeen survey show that best-in-class companies document their BC/DR requirements and procedures, measure results, and educate staff on implementing documented processes. In addition, they tend to use server virtualization and fault-tolerant servers as technology enablers to maintain business-critical services.
If your organization is thinking about developing, upgrading, or changing your BC/DR plans, there are upfront steps you should take before investing valuable budget and resources. Download the new Aberdeen Group report, “Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery: Don’t Go it Alone,” to understand what best-in-class companies are doing to maximize availability of critical applications and to get practical advice for implementing successful BC/DR processes and solutions within your organization.
*Source: Aberdeen Group, May 2013
Anyone in the public safety sector will tell you that the key to a safe neighborhood and a successful first-response system is teamwork. Everyone is essential. For example, even on one small car fire, the person who calls 9-1-1; the dispatch operator who answers the phone and sends the proper emergency personnel; the fire engine driver who navigates the truck safely through crowded streets; the firefighters who extinguish the blaze; the policemen who keep onlookers at a safe distance; the emergency medical technicians and paramedics who triage patients and get them to the hospital; and then the nurses , doctors and technicians in the hospital that treat victims, are all critical to keeping the public safe.
The same is true of the equipment. Every piece of the line is essential. The phone lines connect the 9-1-1 caller to the dispatcher and then the dispatcher to the fire station. All of the firefighters gear must work, along with the truck, the hydrant, and the hoses. The ambulance crew, similarly, must be fully-equipped and transportable. There is little room for error when lives and property are at stake.
About that equipment. First responder organizations rely on top-of-the-line tools. Have you ever seen a firefighter haul out a green garden hose, struggling to untangle the kinks, in an effort to put out a fire? Have you ever seen a policeman take control of a robbery situation using a squirt gun? Have you ever seen a lifeguard swim to a victim and instead of tossing them a buoy, fitted them with floaties? No, and you won’t. Ever.
In public safety, there is no substituting the right tools to get the job done. Every piece is essential, and it must work exactly as designed, every single time.
Or, in the case of the server that supports the public safety applications, every single second.
St. Charles County Department of Dispatch and Alarm is a great example of a department that looked beyond the fire trucks, police cars and ambulances to find vulnerabilities that could possibly hurt public safety performance and put their citizens in danger. They implemented a highly reliable computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system built on Stratus® ftServer® systems and TriTech Software Systems’ VisiCAD™ software to ensure uninterrupted performance of their dispatch software. 40,000 service calls come through the dispatch a year, and every single one could be life-saving. TriTech’s VisiCAD software is flexible enough to service their 16 ambulances and 34 fire stations, encompassing a total of 120 mobile units. VisiCAD is dymanic enough to locate the closest response team to the accident, while monitoring backup vehicles should they be needed.
The ftServers running the Computer Aided Dispatch system, as well as storing all of the electronic information of the calls, ensure the systems have unparalleled uptime. St. Charles County IT Manager Travis Hill said they have been running their original ftserver system for more than nine years without any server downtime. That means nice years of proactive protection for the citizens of St. Charles County.
To find out more about why St. Charles County specifically chose VisiCAD software on ftServers, click here to read the case study.
Denny Lane dispells 3 myths about high availability servers, comparing our legacy 1982 products to our newest ftserver. The fault tolerant solutions are smaller, less expensive, and more up-to-date than ever, and run Linux, VMware, Windows, and even support both private and public cloud.
Dr. Michael Koriwchak wrote an article this week for Wired EMR Practice entitled “Our Disaster Recovery ‘Fire Drill.’”
Preparedness is always a good thing, but I had some comments about disaster recovery as opposed to disaster prevention.
Preparedness in the event of an outage is essential and – amidst the rush to EHR adoption – it’s often done too late, after a failure. In that regard Dr. Koriwchak’s approach and insights are excellent. So too is the comment from Mr. Bletnitsky regarding the implications of downtime.
But more emphasis should be placed on reducing the risk of downtime in the first case. Call it preventive medicine for EHR. Yes, you need effective back up, recovery and continuity measures, like you need a doctor when you’re sick. But common sense is to try and avoid being sick. Or in this case, reduce the risk up front of downtime. Ironically, healthcare reform is ultimately trying to achieve this, so should the implementation of an EHR system.
Virtualization doesn’t ensure uptime in the case of hardware problems. It efficiently uses resources but still requires an application and associated processes to restart – and if your SQL server is one of those processes that went down you’re looking at hours and not minutes of recovery even if everything goes perfectly. Too often things don’t however.
Ensuring uptime requires three things – resilient technologies, proactive monitoring to identify and mitigate failures before they occur, and best practices. These can be achieved working with companies like Stratus and achieve lower costs with far less IT staff time and keep your EHR system healthy.
Demonstrations in our business have long been a minor annoyance to us in hardware. Often times, these demonstrations are contrived, and do not show the full ability of a system, or are contrived enough to mask shortcomings in ft solutions. For instance, we’ve seen demos where a hard disk is pulled (RAID 1 covers this) or an Ethernet cable is disconnected (Teaming). In cases like that, one can make almost any system appear to survive simple tests. This is done, as it is difficult to demonstrate random component failure, such as a multi-bit ECC.
Our solution was to come up with a short video demo of our own. Hope you enjoy it.