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Some places can make even a power outage exotic. Last month, the Maui Electric Company in Hawaii suffered an outage after a metallic balloon came across power lines, causing the electrical frequency on the system to drop suddenly and leaving various parts of the island without power. The power company apologized to its customers, asking “Mahalo for your understanding.”
We don’t have information about any damage caused by this outage, but it would be safe to assume that some businesses suffered losses when they could not serve their customers during this downtime. A person walking in her flipflops to a restaurant on the beach of Maui and finding it unable to serve food would be understanding, having witnessed the outage first hand. But the expectations are different when the business is global or regional, such as an airline or a major financial institution, for example.
A customer trying to withdraw money from an ATM in Texas would be less understanding if the bank couldn’t process the transaction due to a tornado in Oklahoma. And rightly so. In the age of the Cloud, there is no excuse for a local outage to bring down an essential service. Any enterprise today is expected to have failover capabilities that would transfer the computing load from one geographic area to another to allow for continuous service. And while in theory every large enterprise does have such infrastructure in place, local outages still disrupt their services more often than one would expect – just ask the millions that were impacted by airline outages over the past year.
The reality, though, is that such failover capabilities are far from being reliable. They are hardly ever tested, since simulating an outage is a risky proposition in and of itself. Even the people in charge often have little to no confidence in their ability to move computing loads to a different location. In the hours leading to superstorm Sandy, many businesses located in the path of the storm had such little trust in their ability to relocate their services that they preferred to take the risk of the storm over the risk of an orderly failover to a different location.
Why are major enterprise unable to trust their failover capabilities? What can you do to overcome these challenges and get your business ready for the next metallic balloon? Read our new whitepaper – Demystifying IT Outages – and find out.
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