Distribute.IT hosting had a catastrophic event (or ‘epic fail’) recently when hackers who compromised its infrastructure irretrievably destroyed almost 5,000 websites. It is a timely reminder to be vigilant and strategic about backup and recovery.
As was just proven, even your host’s backup procedure may not be enough. As many websites are often the primary shop-front and first point of contact for both marketing and sales, it is definitely worth review.
Websites and web applications are living breathing systems that in some cases have unique needs in terms of backup and recovery. There are a few points to consider when evaluating your level of required backup and availability.
1. What type of website/application do you have?
2. What is reasonable downtime?
3. What are your customers’ expectations of your downtime?
4. What is the cost to benefit balance between expected customer needs and site availability?
Before you say the obvious, that ‘downtime is not acceptable at all’, let’s look at some numbers.
|Availability||Downtime / Year||Downtime / Month (30 days)||Downtime / Week|
|90% (one nine)||36.5 days||72 hours||16.8 mins|
|99% (two nines)||3.65 days||7.2 hours||1.68 mins|
|99.9% (three nines)||8.76 hours||43.2 mins||10.1 mins|
|99.99% (four nines)||52.56 mins||4.32 mins||1.01 mins|
|99.999% (five nines)||5.26 mins||25.9 secs||6.05 secs|
|99.9999% (six nines)||31.5 secs||2.59 secs||0.605 secs|
Each ‘nine’ could push your hosting cost up almost exponentially.
As at January 2010 Facebook’s uptime was 97.22% and LinkedIn’s was only 95.48%. That’s almost 16.5 days per year! [http://techcrunch.com/2010/01/04/twitter-uptime-facebook/]
So first, let’s mention domain names:
Too much jargon? Apologies. Just ask your web guys to arrange it for you.
In our experience every client has different expectations, which usually differ from their budget. So let’s consider a couple of options for the budget conscious:
1. Static business site
2. More complex application or site with a blog
This is a great insurance policy and considering that standard website hosting is only a few hundred dollars a year, a very cheap redundancy option. Just remember to choose a completely separate provider and geographical location.
In this case it all depends on your downtime expectations. Here are a few things you should check:
Note: On basic hosting THIS PROCESS WON’T NECESSARILY BE HAPPENING – check with your provider but you may need a more custom plan and hosting solution.
In the past this was very costly to implement and support. However, Cloud hosting has provided SMEs an alternative, cost-effective option worth exploring. Cloud hosting automatically spreads your data and website across multiple hardware components, so it doesn’t matter if one component fails – your website will still be live. This effectively solves your availability issue, so all you have to worry about is backup! Yes, cloud servers and systems do have downtime, but the risks are considerably less.
As you can see, backup and availability quickly becomes complex with several options available depending on budget and existing infrastructure. Every business has different needs and expectations, so contact your web professional for advice.
About the authors
Jason Hawkins is a senior application strategist, information architect and director at KND. His knowledge is based on years of industry experience in taking online application ideas to reality across a broad range of industries.
KND are web and digital professionals with over 10 years in the business. We specialise in web, cloud and mobile apps, eMarketing and SEO strategy, servers, hosting and design. We work closely with out clients to achieve successful outcomes. Call us today (+61 7 3367 0600) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss your next project.
photo credit: Jamison JuddPosted by Jason Hawkins on 4 July 2011