Despite today’s technology, only a small fraction of businesses are truly able to satisfy customers, in large part because those businesses deliver nonstop services. Their mobile apps are fast and convenient and allow customers to do what they need to, anytime, anywhere. Their customer support systems are helpful and don’t slow down at peak calling times. Their infrastructure never stops.
Nonstop IT Requires a Holistic Approach
The concept of nonstop IT, or reducing or even eliminating downtime wherever possible, is not new. But it’s more achievable now than ever, with today’s technology and solutions that keep business-critical systems up and running despite hardware and software failures, employee error, attempted hacks and more.
Because threats to your system can come from such a variety of sources, nonstop IT requires a strategy that spans the entire infrastructure, as well as the right processes and practices to ultimately ensure availability.
Five Key Considerations for Enabling Nonstop IT
Achieving nonstop service doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process that requires a lot of planning and forethought, as well as finding the right partners that can help you build a strong, proactive infrastructure. Here are five big-picture things to keep in mind.
Create a culture of nonstop IT.
Nonstop IT isn’t only an IT issue. Because it will affect every component of your business—sales, finance, customer support—it should be a priority of all business leaders across the organization to commit to devising and implementing more proactive processes.
Changing a company’s mindset can take time, but it’s well worth it. After identifying the processes that are preventing your business from achieving nonstop IT, determine how to best address the issues. Solutions could range from beefing up training in operational processes to providing clear, agreed-upon documentation of complicated procedures.
Minimize planned downtime.
By some measures, the patches and updates that make up planned downtime cause a vast majority of the downtime affecting your organization. There’s no doubt you end up having to take systems offline far more frequently than you’d like. Live patching and automated patching allow you to proactively plan ahead and keep your systems running when it’s needed.
Prepare for unplanned downtime.
No system is perfect, and outages happen. But maintaining a proactive culture—including proactive maintenance and backup and replication solutions—can help. You need business-continuity and disaster-recovery solutions to deal with application downtime and data loss. And comprehensive monitoring and management solutions can help with hardware and software failures.
Your operating system matters in these scenarios because the ease of management and the ease of setting up backup systems and clustering determine your ability to avoid or survive unplanned downtime.
Address security and availability across your entire infrastructure.
Simply reacting to data security incidents in “whack-a-mole” fashion will never provide the constant availability you need for nonstop IT. Proactive security approaches help you get ahead of the problem and address issues at their core.
Consider company-wide encryption or continuous data protection, in which the system saves a copy of computer data on every change, so you retain every version. Devise breach-prevention tactics—such as anti-malware gateways and anti-phishing email systems—that will document and reduce even serious vulnerabilities.
Get the right technologies to support critical services.
Recommended practices to achieve nonstop IT include:
- Extending the operating system lifecycle to reduce risks of migrations and systems upgrade costs
- System snapshots and the ability to roll back to known good states to keep a planned change from becoming an unplanned disaster
Partner with SUSE for Business-Critical Continuity
SUSE® software-defined infrastructure can be a significant help in your journey to nonstop IT. SUSE helps maximize service availability with open source clustering technology. And tools like live patching, one-click rollback and simplified patching automation help you maintain business-critical continuity.
With the right technology and solutions, you can create a resilient infrastructure and company-wide mindset to deliver the always-available IT capabilities that your business requires. Customers will appreciate it, and so will your bottom line.
Check out SUSE’s solutions for Business Critical computing @ https://www.suse.com/programs/business-critical/ .