John Gentry is the vice president of marketing and alliances at Virtual Instruments.
There are plenty of perks about the summer months; unfortunately, high-functioning IT infrastructure doesn’t seem to be one of them. Poor performances and full-blown IT outages occur most commonly June through August.
The U.S. State Department, for example, suffered database performance issues last month that resulted in tens of thousands of travelers being stuck overseas, and Facebook has experienced a few significant outages since June. So why is this? There are a few causes to blame.
The perfect storm for IT in the summer
First and foremost, there’s the issue of vacation time. Warmer weather and longer days make for perfect vacation conditions. Around 44 percent of American employees take some sort of time off from June through August. While this doesn’t always mean it’s really time off from work – working remotely and choosing flexible hours are becoming increasingly popular options – it does mean time off from the physical office building, which means there’s a skeleton IT crew in place when disaster strikes.
There’s also the fact that many businesses decide the generally slower summer months are a good time to take on the task of moving their workloads to the cloud and adopting more complex virtualization strategies. This causes strain on an already under-managed infrastructure, making problems with system performance even more likely.
Lastly, spikes in travel during these months lead to spikes in cellular and Internet activity, which can overwhelm an infrastructure that’s struggling to operate normally as is.
So what can businesses do to avoid these summer outages? There is unfortunately no magic solution that will sufficiently mitigate each of these issues, but there are a few tips and tricks to ensure your data centers remain up and running at their maximum potential, even during this risky season.
How to avoid the meltdown
Plan ahead and get your disaster recovery in place. The hope-and-pray method is a risky move. Instead, consider the very real possibility that you will experience summer outages of some kind, and then prepare accordingly. Whether a hurricane hits or your IT guy hits the beach, having recovery options in place for your mission-critical workloads is crucial. Just make sure you have the proper IT performance management and monitoring ready to keep this backup running smoothly.
Put your mission-critical workloads where you can see them. I don’t mean setting up your desk in the same room as your servers, but you should keep those workloads on your servers and not in the public cloud. While the public cloud certainly offers some benefits, in-depth visibility to infrastructure performance isn’t one of them. Without those kinds of granular metrics, it’s impossible to know what you’re getting for your cloud consumption and purchases, and when it comes to your mission-critical activity in the sensitive summer months, that uncertainty is unacceptable.
Create a private cloud for your infrastructure performance monitoring needs. With the proper infrastructure performance management tools in place, your IT team can get a comprehensive assessment of the entire private cloud infrastructure, including real-time information and data for proactive choices about utilization, performance and existing capacity for each piece of the cloud’s puzzle. This leads to smarter decisions and ultimately greater infrastructure reliability.
These are processes every IT team should put in place to sidestep these summer challenges, but they offer valuable food for thought for the rest of the year, as well. Is your business’ infrastructure prepared for any obstacles that may come its way? Summer presents a higher risk of outages, but you never know what’s around the corner in any season. Make sure your IT team and the equipment they manage are well equipped at all times, and your business will be ready to run smoothly 24/7/365.
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