Why there’s no such thing as World Uptime Day

As more business applications move to the cloud, questions of geo-redundancy have become more important than ever before

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In case you missed it, March 31 was World Backup Day.

Perhaps you also neglected to observe the birthdays of Gordie Howe, Al Gore and Christopher Walken, which also fell on March 31. No worries, however, since we’re here to fill you on the day devoted to data disaster planning.

Since World Backup Day was created and proclaimed by some regular people on Reddit, it doesn’t have the official backing of any international association or government agency. But its supporters do encourage all of us to backup our data, warning on their website that “losing your files is way more common than you’d think.”

Sadly, so is downtime, according to EMC’s 2014 Global Data Protection Index study. Although 3,300 IT decision makers were surveyed in 24 countries, here are the numbers specifically for Canada:

  • data loss and downtime cost businesses $16.8 billion in 2014
  • 72 per cent of businesses had experienced data loss or downtime during the previous 12 months
  • the average company suffered 42 hours (or more than five business days) of unexpected downtime over the same period; that’s way higher than the global average of 25 hours
  • 55 per cent of businesses still have no disaster recovery plan for mobile, big data and hybrid cloud environments; only 1 per cent of them have a plan for all three
  • 90 per cent of the surveyed companies rank in the bottom two categories for data protection maturity

Gartner has estimated the average cost of downtime at $5,600 per minute. Avaya researchers suggest the average downtime incident costs a company $140,000 in revenue alone, not including other associated costs like overtime wages or lost productivity.

With numbers like that, perhaps a World Uptime Day is in order. While we’re waiting for that to become a thing on Reddit, let’s take a look at one way to protect your network and data from downtime disasters: geographic redundancy. It basically means that if downtime strikes the data centre running your network in one location, a failover service in another geographic area automatically takes over to keep the show running.

Think of it as not putting all your eggs in one centrally located basket.

Remember when hurricane Sandy hit several New York City data centres in 2012, knocking sites like Buzzfeed and Huffington Post offline? That’s exactly the kind of data centre disaster that georedundancy technology can prevent, according to Elka Popova, the Toronto-based North American program director at Frost & Sullivan.

“A provider may house infrastructure redundancies in the same data centre in the same city. But if a hurricane hit that city, customers might experience downtime. And yet other providers have invested in two or three data centres scattered around the country, giving them greater service reliability,” Popova said in an interview with TechTarget.

Here’s an example of how it would work for customers of Allstream’s Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), who now have the option of adding georedundancy to their service. If Allstream’s main HCS data centre in Mississauga, Ont. becomes unavailable for any reason, another Allstream data centre in Montreal will instantly kick in so HCS services like UC, Internet connectivity, SIP trunking and security firewalls won’t be disrupted.

It’s too late to observe World Backup Day for this year. But it’s never too late to make sure you’ve got all the bases – or geographic contingency options – covered on the data protection front.

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