Uptime has become crucial in our “always on, always connected” society. I already wrote about the impact of downtime in an earlier blog post. But per permanent uptime, which is considered a given by end users, can have a serious impact on a company. Uptime is about more than managing hardware. Scalability, the ability to handle peaks in traffic, security, online privacy, etc. They all have their impact on uptime. At the same time, companies – read: system administrators – don’t want to spend their time with hosting. They have other complex challenges to address.
Go big or Go local
We believe that Uptime-as-a-Service is the future of hosting. With this, all aspects of hosting are outsourced to experts in exchange for the guarantee of maximum uptime. In the course of this, the experts take over all elements of hosting: Infrastructure, management, maintenance, security, privacy, monitoring, etc. In regard to this, there is one choice that the customer must make with great care. Either he chooses the infrastructure of a large player (e.g. Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), etc.) and does the management or maintenance himself or via a third party. Or he chooses to use local experts with their infrastructure, which can follow up on everything via local service provisioning and local support. This choice has a great impact on the success of the entire Uptime-as-a-Service aspect.
What can you expect from Uptime-as-a-Service?
With “Uptime-as-a-Service”, the word “service” is at the core. What can/should you expect? We will briefly list a number of important components that a hosting company should definitely offer. Consider this a step-by-step plan towards true Uptime-as-a-Service.
Firm uptime guarantees
When you fully outsource your hosting, then you definitely want to receive one thing in return: The guarantee that your website or online application will be available to the maximum degree. Analyse together with the hosting company which uptime you actually require – read my blog post on the myth of 100% uptime for this – and check which guarantees your hosting company provides, should something go wrong after all.
Murphy’s law definitely applies to IT infrastructure. Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong one day. For this reason, it is extremely important for a cloud environment that everything, truly everything is set up in a redundant manner and each single point of failure is avoided. Power supply, networking, computing power, storage, security, … It all deserves the same amount of attention.
Good security is crucial, because you do not simply want to make your data accessible to all. Definitely inquire whether your hosting company is in possession of an ISO 27001 certificate for data protection. Also inquire whether they are willing to determine which level of security you actually require and whether they will take care of the set-up and monitoring.
In order to achieve maximum uptime, your infrastructure must be (automatically) scalable. Only in this manner can you absorb (un)expected user peaks. At the same time, scalability is an important factor in order to efficiently handle your infrastructure. Can your hosting company both quickly upscale as well as downscale? In other words, are they willing to think along with the real-time needs of your company?
Reliable back-ups & disaster recovery
You strive for maximal uptime, but what happens when things go wrong anyway? Are good back-ups and disaster recovery options included in the services of your hosting provider? Can you decide on your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO)?
No single company is the same, no individual project is identical. For this reason, it is important that your hosting company listens to your specific challenges and business targets and poses critical questions in order to get to the heart of the matter. Only in this manner can you find the solution that perfectly fits your specific situation. This also includes advice: Not only before, but also during as well as after each project. Support and advice during DevOps is a major benefit in order to continue to guarantee your uptime in the future.
When you have a question or encounter a problem, you do not want to end up in some anonymous ticketing system. You want to be able to pick up your phone or send an e-mail and immediately receive an answer from someone who has detailed knowledge. Quick, high-quality and local support is vital.
From 2018, the new European privacy legislation will take effect: The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This determines the regulations on the maintenance and securing of personal data of European citizens. As an organization, you must be able to show which personal details you collect, how this data is used and how it is secured. Be sure to inquire whether your hosting company stores your data in a data centre within or outside of the EU. All of these elements together form Uptime-as-a-Service. And peace of mind for those that use it. How crucial is uptime for your company? Do you believe in Uptime-as-a-Service? Let us know in the comments below. This blogpost is part of a free eBook that covers all aspects of uptime.