The Importance of Hardware and Component Redundancy

It is the heart of the company. And when IT systems stop working, all operations come to a halt. This means lost sales, angry customers, unproductive employees, and potential legal problems. An hour of downtime during business hours can easily cause tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for busy company.

That’s why you need to make contingency plans for all possible causes of unplanned downtime. The most common causes are either related to hardware, software, human error, or some sort of external event such as fire or natural disaster.

In this article, we’ll focus on the hardware-related causes of server failure.

The most catastrophic server failures are the ones caused by damage to the internal components of the machine, including the processor, or motherboard. In these instances, the entire machine may need to be replaced. If a duplicate system isn’t already on-site, this may mean shutting down operations until the new replacement box is delivered.

Then, we have the failure of individual server components such as fans, power supplies, disc controllers, internal fans, and network adapters.

Although not as serious as the critical server failure, these types of incidents also require time-intensive manual maintenance, where the server must be opened up and parts must be exchanged.

One way of protect against these types of physical hardware failures is to invest in heavy-duty brand-name equipment, and making sure that proper maintenance schedules are adhered to.

An additional measure you can take is to add some sort of redundancy at the component level. Some basic examples are the addition of redundant power cooling to prevent overheating, and RAID disc configurations to maintain operations if one device should fail.

Of course, there are other potential causes of server downtime. Regardless of how much hardware redundancy is built into your system, you should always have a backup plan.

If uptime is critical, you should implement some sort of high-availability system that can allow you to quickly switch operations over to another device or datacenter in an emergency. Another possibility would be to implement a virtualization system that could allow you to distribute your servers across multiple redundant host machines. Or at the very least, have a spare machine on-site, which can be quickly swapped in for the defective server.

Either way, your company needs to face the possibility that hardware failure is a very real threat to the integrity of your IT systems. That’s why you need to make sure your infrastructure is robust and well maintained, and that you have a backup plan in case something goes wrong.