Everything fails eventually, even in networking. Enterprises can prepare for network failure by building resilience and redundancy into their network infrastructure design.
Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from a setback or other adversity — literally, the ability to spring back. So, with computer networks, how do we design resilience into the environment?
This article discusses four factors to consider when considering network resilience, as well as how enterprises can build redundancy into their network infrastructure design.
The first step in designing a resilient network is to understand the reality that everything fails — routers, switches, circuits, cables, small form-factor pluggable, and even cross-connects. It’s necessary to perform regular network maintenance. This maintenance keeps systems at appropriate software levels, permits the application of security patches, and even provides for hardware maintenance and replacement.
Second, network teams need to think about the operating hours of the environment. For example, an office network may not have users after hours or on the weekends. This type of network might have strict reliability and availability requirements during regular hours, but it can be maintained after hours.
Other environments, such as data centers or life and safety systems — for example, 911 centers and hospitals — need to run 24/7. As a result, a proper design for these networks needs to account for both failures and the ability to operate during maintenance.
The next step is to think about the effect of virtualization, cloud, and SaaS application suites. While it might seem like cloud-based applications are outside IT’s control, nothing could be further from the truth. For example, AWS makes a significant effort to advise clients on the availability provided by applications.
Applications provide substantially different service-level agreements to users depending on where they’re hosted, such as in single availability zones, in multiple availability zones, or operating across regions. It also matters how enterprises and their customers connect to the cloud or SaaS providers.
Finally, in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises need to think about the reliability of their remote connectivity. Does the connectivity run on primary or secondary VPN concentrators, or is it load-balanced across a group of systems, permitting the necessary scale for maintenance?
So, how do teams proceed to build a resilient network design? Ultimately, it’s important to understand that redundancy is just a tool to create resilience. Contact Musato Technologies to learn more about our innovative ICT solutions that empower businesses and organizations.
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