3 Approaches to Service Availability for Business Continuity

Service availability is critical for employee productivity and customer engagement. Designing for website and infrastructure scalability to handle the unexpected is an essential component of successful service delivery.

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Current global conditions have caused significant changes to how employees work and how customers engage. As a result, service availability has gained new attention as a critical element to business continuity, enabling remote workforces to continue their work while ensuring customers can seamlessly connect with the business.

Whether you serve internal or external customers (or both), the ability to effectively service demand is business critical. Infrastructure, applications, and a website that can scale without performance degradation or downtime, is essential to successful service delivery, employee productivity, and business continuity.

To ensure scalability, CIOs can take a reactive or proactive approach. We’re all familiar with reactive service delivery where compute power is added to serve more users. Consider the company that found a bug in its application that caused scalability to dramatically decrease. As the company’s application content was its product, a scalable website was a non-negotiable business imperative. The team was able to maintain application response times by growing its compute instances 700%. While this strategy obviously drives up costs, it does maintain a consistent customer experience.

Conversely, a proactive approach improves the efficiency of existing resources. Making  individual components more efficient means that organizations can serve more users with the same resources.

1) Autoscale to Meet Customer Demand 

For example, a fitness company launched a new service it expected to grow from tens of thousands of requests every hour to a sum five times that. The team designed the solution to scale up to meet peaks in demand and ensure the service could load within milliseconds with AWS Auto Scaling and CloudWatch.

CloudWatch monitors, alerts, and takes action when the firm’s Amazon EC2 instances reach a certain utilization threshold, taking the automated action to autoscale and dynamically ensure service availability. When demand decreases, the inverse automatically occurs. In this way, the fitness group maximized resource utilization while paying only for what they use.

2) Cloud Migration 

Here’s another example. A game developer wanted a no-downtime migration from legacy infrastructure to a best-in-class AWS and Kubernetes solution. The company containerized its systems using Docker and Kubernetes. It then migrated its high-volume services without downtime or customer interruption, moving its platform and Ad Server to Docker containers on AWS, along with four initial games and administration.

Built on top of a secure AWS landing zone, the solution balances infrastructure costs, system complexity, and DevOps maturity; the productivity gains from Kubernetes alone outweighed the associated infrastructure cost. With the new architecture and automation, the company now scales to support a game with tens of millions of users with a single headcount, compared to an industry standard of three or four employees. 

3) Refactor for Greater Scalability 

A recent IDC survey of Fortune 1000 enterprises found the average cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 per hour. To avoid downtime costs and ensure business continuity, a wholesale supplier whose business is conducted through its eCommerce site increased its uptime and scalability by refactoring (re-coding portions of an application to take advantage of cloud-native features) its eCommerce applications for AWS. Moving from legacy, on-premises infrastructure, the firm refactored its applications in a Docker container-based microservices environment. This allows application updates via a blue-green deployment process – when combined with its other initiatives, this has resulted in zero downtime.

Regardless of the audience you serve, growing scalability and uptime is critical to business continuity and success. By embracing cloud automation, you can grow efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction while optimizing cost and strategic value.

For more reading on how you can optimize service availability with the cloud: Driving Agility Through IT Process Automation.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.