Load balancing? Replication? Failover? Multiple datacentres? Dedicated virtualisation? Clustering? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes! But definitely not everything every time. I suppose the second challenge in providing the 100% uptime solution is knowing which technology is best to use and in which circumstance.
At UKFast we are very lucky. We have hugely qualified (or should I say certified) Microsoft and Red Hat engineers, who have the industry knowledge and experience to architect solutions to achieve the stated goal.
For relatively simple database driven websites, it may well be that a couple of load balanced web servers connecting to a pair of replicated database servers do the trick. Keeping this solution online is not a problem as there is no single point of failure. In addition, the technologies used for high availability of websites and databases are tried and tested. Its when you add in bespoke applications and complex software relationships that we have to get the grey matter working.
2009 was definitely the year of the cloud – UKFast launched our cloud hosting platform in addition to launching a number of “private cloud” solutions for our clients – these virtualized solutions dedicated for use by a single customer have proved to be excellent. Combining redundant pairs of firewalls, switches and load balancers with multiple hardware nodes and SANs ensures the required level of hardware fault tolerance. What you do on top of this hardware layer is the key to providing 100% solution uptime. Creating virtual dedicated servers on the cloud ensures they have intrinsic resilience to protect against hardware failure. Combine this with load balancing and replication technologies and you are protected against software issues and traffic spikes.
The uptime benefits are clear. But there is much more to it than that. Depending on who you’re talking to at any time, the scalability can be even more of a draw. Additional hardware nodes can be added to the pool of resources and made available without fuss and the same goes for SAN systems. Windows and Linux virtual machines can exist alongside one another in a single solution.
If its a combination of scalability and flexibility you want, this is your answer.