Eventually, your hardware will fail you – make sure you're ready

Nick Cavalancia

I’ve been covering a series of topics around the three sources of failure within an organization that may cause IT to need to recover. The first was on acts of nature – you know, those nasty storms, floods, and the like, that can take your operations with them. While enjoying a low probability of actually happening, their impact can be materially greater than any other kind of “disaster”. Then came acts of people – your users are the least predictable part of your recovery strategy, as you never know what they may “accidentally” do that takes operations down.  From a single file to an entire system, and everything in between, users represent the “unknown disaster” keeping IT on its’ toes, always ready to recover, no matter the loss!

But this last one is about your hardware. You know, the most important pieces of IT that, well… give IT meaning. Those humming, spinning, churning, heating, moving, and working components of your servers, switches, storage, firewalls, workstations, and beyond are the most critical part of IT.

And they can fail. Pretty easily, actually.

There are a few scenarios that trigger a recovery due to hardware:

  • Simple hardware failure – haven’t seen a piece of IT hardware recently that doesn’t come with a warranty, right?
  • Age – When Server 2012 came out, there were still around 8 Million instances of Windows Server 2003 (no doubt, running on older hardware) still around. It’s tough sometimes to get budget in IT, we get it. 
  • Another impactful “disaster” – Think along the lines of a fire that triggers the sprinklers, that in turn shorts out your hardware, or like a hurricane that takes out an entire building. 

There are lots of reasons for and scenarios where hardware fails.

But that’s not the toughest part.

The real pain is that unlike, say, acts of people, where you just need to recover something they deleted (whether accidentally or maliciously), with acts of hardware, you need to first figure out how you’re going to replace the hardware that you were using and then recover to it.

Now, for servers, you can always go virtual – a pretty mainstream tactic in today’s cloud-infused world. But how about a workstation… the CEO’s workstation. Or how about a database server that has better performance running on physical hardware?

You see, you can’t always just lean on the “I’ll spin up a VM” thinking; you need to have as many recovery plans as you do hardware failure scenarios. In fact, with acts of hardware, your proactive approach should be more one of “how do I keep services available” (in the case of tier 1 workloads) versus a more legacy approach of “how to I recover the data I lost”. You see, a hardware loss can do more than just trigger a recovery scenario; it can trigger a loss of company productivity, revenue, and reputation. 

Find out more about how acts of hardware can impact your business and how to prepare for hardware-related disasters by attending the upcoming webinar “Ensuring Recovery Succeeds when Hardware Fails” on October 6th, 2016.