Data Center Knowledge’s recent article, As Tenants Get Smarter About Data Center Availability, They Want More Options, discusses how companies can save money by reducing infrastructure redundancy. This concept has been a topic of conversation ever since.
After 15+ years of building infrastructure solutions, we’ve seen when, where, why, and how low redundancy infrastructure can work. Only a small percentage of companies can handle downtime. Consequently, low redundancy infrastructure increases the potential for downtime and carries with it significant risk. This doesn’t mean it can’t work for you, it just means there are a number of things to think about.
A few things to consider:
You never want to skimp on infrastructure redundancy for anything critical that requires continuous uptime. While it’s logical that low redundancy is not for workloads that need 24/7 uptime, it’s difficult to overlook the often enticing lower costs of low redundancy.
For example, reducing redundancy is a major cost saving for large CDNs that aren’t affected by losing a POP. It also works for offline processing and development resources that can sustain downtime. If you’re unsure of the impact that an application’s downtime will have on your business, carefully research the answer to this question before making any decisions.
Cabinet Redundancy vs. Data Center Redundancy
Redundancy at the cabinet level is different than redundancy at the data center facility level.
We have customers that don’t want redundancy in some of their cabinets. If a PDU goes out, they can absorb the downtime.
Not having redundancy in data center power, cooling, and network, however, is an entirely different risk.
It’s extremely common for organizations that experienced issues associated with low redundancy, low cost data centers to actively seek a fully redundant facility.
The difference between cabinet and data center redundancy is an important distinction.
Saving Money Through Grouped Applications
Structuring your infrastructure by redundant vs. non-redundant requirements can save a significant amount of money, in addition to increasing the efficiency of ongoing expansion and administration.
Many applications can be configured in non-redundant fashions. Group these applications together in non-redundant cabinet or cloud configurations.
Other applications require full redundancy. Group these applications together and deploy them in fully redundant cloud or cabinet configurations.
Architecting Application Redundancy
Architecting redundancy at the application layer is complicated. There are a myriad of factors that require skilled application architects. If you’re targeting this objective, be sure you stack the deck in your favor by working with experts in this area.
One Final Takeaway
Low-redundancy infrastructure makes sense for a small percentage of organizations. These organizations typically have a very detailed understanding of each and every nuance of their application stacks and infrastructure footprint. When all of these variables are known, low redundancy infrastructure can be a very cost effective solution. For the majority of businesses, however, our experience has shown there are far safer places to gamble.