Basic principles and definition of server redundancy
Server redundancy is based on the principle of duplicating critical elements of an IT infrastructure. This can include critical applications, storage and servers. Server redundancy is based on two main types of configuration:
Primary and secondary (or back-up) server : Here, a secondary server is ready to take over in the event of failure of the primary server. Data can be replicated in real time or at regular intervals.
Server cluster : Several servers run in parallel, sharing workloads. In the event of a failure, the other servers in the cluster take over.
The aim is to prevent any interruption in service or loss of data. It is vital to note that setting up redundant servers can incur significant costs and requires frequent monitoring to ensure that they are working properly.
Understanding the risks and potential threats of poor server redundancy
Plant and IT managers need to be aware of the many potential threats that could disrupt their operations. These threats include hardware failures, cyber attacks, natural disasters, and much more. To illustrate the importance of business continuity, let’s take the example of an unexpected power failure. In many modern factories, production systems depend on electricity to operate. A sudden power cut can bring production to a complete halt, resulting in considerable financial losses.
To manage business continuity effectively, a thorough risk assessment is essential. This involves identifying potential threats, assessing their likelihood and impact, and determining existing vulnerabilities in the plant’s operating systems. A thorough analysis can enable managers to take proactive steps to reduce these risks.
The different types of server redundancy
Hardware redundancy refers to the doubling of physical components in a computer system to increase its resilience. There are several methods of implementing this redundancy, some of which are more common than others.
Network redundancy refers to the installation of additional or alternative equipment in the network infrastructure to ensure its availability in the event of a device or network path failure.
Operating system redundancy
Operating system redundancy is another layer of security added to your server. It ensures that services remain available even if the operating system fails. Here, two operating systems are installed: a primary operating system and a secondary operating system.
How do you set up a redundant server architecture?
Architecture planning and design
Planning and designing the redundant server architecture is a crucial step in ensuring effective implementation. The first step is to identify the critical components of the infrastructure that require redundancy. These may include physical servers, databases and specific network services.
Once these components have been identified, it is necessary to define the redundancy approach to be adopted. For example, a backup server can be deployed to duplicate information existing on the main server. In addition, load balancing can be planned to share TCP sessions between all the redundant servers.
Choosing the right tools and technologies
To set up an efficient redundant server infrastructure, it is essential to choose the right tools and technologies. Think about integrating virtual machines, database management systems, web servers and application instances into your redundant architecture:
- Server clusters : These make it easier to implement redundancy by grouping together several servers working in tandem.
- Network redundancy technologies : These enhance network security by providing alternative routes for affected network traffic.
- Geo-redundancy : This involves distributing databases across several data centres for optimum security.
Implementation and testing
Implementing server redundancy requires particular attention. Once you have chosen the appropriate tools and technologies, deployment must be carried out carefully to avoid any errors that could affect the availability of your services.
- Data replication: Set up real-time replication between your servers. This can be done manually or using a solution such as IBITruck.
- Server deployment: Install and configure your redundant servers. Ensure that all virtual machines, databases and application instances are correctly deployed and working as expected.
- Setting up clusters: If you are using server clusters, make sure that they are correctly configured and that the load is shared between them.
- Network configuration: Configure your network to ensure optimum redundancy. This may include setting up alternative network traffic paths to avoid outages.
Once the implementation is complete, rigorous testing must be carried out to ensure that everything is working properly:
- Functional tests: Check that all your applications and services can be accessed and function correctly from all your servers.
- Failover tests: Simulate failures to check that failover between servers is carried out correctly.
- Performance tests: Make sure your system can handle the expected load without any problems.
Don’t forget to run these tests regularly to ensure that your system remains reliable and efficient.
The benefits of redundancy for businesses
Server redundancy is an added value for businesses. It offers a number of advantages, including resilience in the event of breakdown or human error, business continuity in the event of an incident, and reducing the risk of services downtime being unavailable.
Resilience: Thanks to redundancy, systems and networks made up of several technical components and storage media offer greater resilience. If one component fails, another can take over to keep the solutions running.
Business continuity: Redundancy ensures business continuity in the event of an incident. Whether it’s a temporary shutdown for maintenance purposes, or a major incident, redundancy ensures that the service remains available to users.
Reduced risk of services downtime: Redundancy reduces the risk of service downtime. Thanks to redundancy, in the event of a problem, all users can switch to a live server, thereby guaranteeing user access.
Redundancy also improves performance. The presence of additional servers increases overall capacity and/or performance.
IBITruck: An advanced solution to better meet criticality requirements
The IBITruck solution is the answer to criticality problems in factories. This solution is based on a centralised management system capable of managing all events on site. Users can access the functionalities of the solution wherever they are on site, whether via desktop computers, touch terminals, industrial stations or even PDAs.
IBITruck also offers an interface that can be used to interconnect with your ERP or other customer order management software, such as CRM and GRC. The solution includes a range of hardware and applications, including industrial workstations, multimedia touch terminals and handheld terminals.
Thanks to its reporting system, IBITruck provides precise monitoring of flows, including flow monitoring reports, business-defined KPIs, activity and tracking reports.
In conclusion, business continuity is an imperative for modern plants, and redundancy plays a central role in achieving it. Understanding the risks, implementing appropriate redundancy strategies, planning, and regularly testing their back-up systems is a necessity. By investing in redundancy, it is possible to ensure seamless business continuity, minimise financial losses, and maintain customer satisfaction.