How to Keep Your Linux-Heavy Data Center Up and Running

Linux is an excellent tool for creating the flexible IT environment you want, but find a technology provider to help keep your business up in the event of a disaster.

By Eric Hennessey, Business Continuity Solutions Evangelist, Symantec
Thu, January 30, 2014

Network WorldThis vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

If you've built something yourself rather than buy it, like a book shelf or a bird house, you know the satisfaction of shaping something to your needs. And as long as nothing goes wrong, you're in good shape. But if it breaks you can't return it to the store for an exchange; you have to fix it yourself. And while repairing a bookshelf is one thing, recovering applications in a data center when they fail is something else entirely.

Linux is an excellent tool for creating the IT environment you want. Its flexibility and open-source architecture mean you can use it to support nearly any need, running mission-critical systems effectively while keeping costs low. This flexibility, however, means that if something does go wrong, it's up to you to ensure your business operations can continue without disruption. And while many disaster recovery solutions focus on recovering data in case of an outage, leaving it at that is leaving the job half done. Having the information itself will be useless if the applications that are running it don't function, and you are unable to meet SLAs.

Businesses that value the independence Linux provides can benefit from partnering with a technology provider that can keep their business running in the event of disaster. And as we have seen all too frequently in the last several years, disasters happen to organizations of all sizes, from natural disasters to large-scale hacks that take down servers company-wide. It seems that every week we hear in the news about another large company that is experiencing a significant service failure.

As you consider what to look for in solutions to keep your Linux-heavy data center up and running, we recommend focusing on the following criteria:

* Speed of failure detection and recovery: Every minute counts when it comes to business downtime. The first step to effective recovery is rapid detection of failure even the best recovery solution will be insufficient if the detection process itself takes minutes rather than seconds. The ideal tool should provide fast detection with minimal resource usage, to meet recovery time objectives.

* Failover that covers the entire range of business services: Business-critical applications may require the preservation of several different layers of the information stack, to perform complementary processes such as the Web functionality, the application itself and the databases feeding it information. High availability can be a challenge when complex recovery is needed. Be sure your backup and recovery solutions can handle the interconnected processes necessary to maintain business operations.

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