All server components eventually fail. That is the nature of hardware. The key for robust unified communications (UC) data centers is to ensure no individual component failure causes downtime to your business communications. Scale up to include geo-redundant data centers backing up data to ensure disaster recovery and business continuity, and you achieve the basic reliability standard of 99.999% uptime required for a cloud communications UC solution.
A fault-tolerant design enables a system to continue its intended operation, possibly at a reduced level, rather than failing completely, when some part of the system fails (Wikipedia).
Designing Fault Tolerance
Fault tolerant unified communications data centers are designed with redundant components for each piece of hardware within the data center – disk mirroring to replicate data, dual power and cooling systems, multiple synchronized processors, etc.
A fault tolerant data center will continue to operate while experiencing individual component failures.
Qualities of a Fault Tolerant Data Center
- Non-stop operation
- Redundant hardware protects against component failures
- Non-disruptive maintenance
- Hot-swappable components enable replacement without interruption to operations
- General operating systems (Windows® / Linux® / VMware®)
- Delivering the same operability as most widely-used servers
Tier IV Data Centers
The standard Tier Classification System was created as a means to effectively evaluate and provide business requirements for data center infrastructure. The Tier Classification System provides the industry with a consistent method to compare unique, customized facilities based on expected site infrastructure, performance, and uptime. Classifications currently range from the least robust at Tier I to the most robust at Tier IV.
Organizations selecting Tier III infrastructure typically have high-availability requirements for their business, having identified a significant cost for disruption due to a data center shutdown.
Tier IV site infrastructure builds on Tier III, adding the concept of Fault Tolerance to the data center architecture. With Fault Tolerance built into the infrastructure, when individual equipment fails or an interruption occurs, the effects of these events can be addressed without interrupting business IT operations, such as a unified communications service.
When organizations cannot afford to have their data center and business operations offline, they select Tier IV data center infrastructure. Tier IV is required for organizations delivering 24×7 services like unified communications. As a critical business/mission component, UC needs to be supported by Tier IV data centers.
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)
Business cloud communications service providers should provide your organization with a team of experts who specialize in cloud-based unified communications together with Tier IV data centers. Learn more at UnivergeBlue.com.
Download our free white paper on Achieving High Availability in UC to learn more about system reliability, availability, and who is responsible for what components in different UC deployment options: cloud, on-premise, or a hybrid solution.