Anatomy of an Outage Part I: What is an Outage?

No one likes dealing with an outage.

Outages –  They’re bad for nearly every aspect of a business, from employee morale to productivity, competitiveness, profitability, and reputation.

It’s a common problem, though, and there are lots of noisy claims on the market from a lot of different vendors. You’ll hear everything from “Recover in minutes” to “Avoid downtime” to “Zero data loss”.

Figuring out which claims are bogus and which ones make sense for YOUR operation is daunting. Each organization has unique requirements and, since budgets are never unlimited, an IT Superhero has to do more than just implement gold-plated protection for every application and data repository.

What do the labels mean?

Making things more confusing – and making it difficult to compare services and vendors – not everyone means the same thing when they talk about Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, High Availability, RaaS, DRaaS, and so on.

Here’s what Neverfail means:

Disaster Recovery (DR)

DR as a general concept refers to your business’s ability to get its systems up and running again after an outage. The primary goal here is to protect your valuable data.

The most important metric when discussing Disaster Recovery is RPO – Recovery Point Objective. RPO is a measure of many transactional data can you afford to lose in the event of an outage. For example, a bank is hopefully looking for a very small RPO; you don’t want them losing track of deposits and payments for yourself or anyone else. However, such high levels of protection can get a little pricey, so businesses with less critical transactions – a movie theater chain, for instance – might get by with a slightly bigger RPO. It will cost them less to deal with a few lost transactions in the event of an outage that it will maintain a “zero RPO” DR environment.

You will also hear the term “DRaaS”, which is simple “Disaster Recovery as a Service”. This means that you don’t have to buy any applications or equipment to implement DR. You pay a service provider like Neverfail to set up and maintain all the systems and equipment needed to provide your business with a given RPO-level DR service.

Business Continuity (BC)

BC encompasses a lot more than just your data, applications, and computer systems. The Business Continuity Institute defines it as having a plan in place to deal with difficult situations, so your organization can continue to function with as little disruption as possible. It encompasses decision-making processes, communications plans, it’s a good, simple definition about a big topic and people can – and do – write whole books about it.

NEWCOM focuses on the critical IT aspects of BC. Specifically, we have developed a range of services that you can use to ensure a low Recovery Time Objective (RTO). In essence, BC is all about time, and therefore, RTO is a good way to measure how good your BC systems are. Low – or even zero – RTOs are achievable. What a low RTO means is that, no matter what happens to your buildings, servers, or software, your systems stay up and running.

A zero RTO BC system can be expensive to support, but it’s cheap compared to the alternatives for a 911 call center or a hospital, for example. Most businesses can afford to live with a low RTO, which is a lot less costly. For example, you may decide that your business can afford to live with outages lasting no more than 15 minutes.

NEWCOM offers a range of Business Continuity options for our customers, including services that require no capital outlay.

Learn more about Neverfail – Anatomy of an Outage Part I: What is an Outage?, and contact NEWCOM today at or by online chat!

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