Fifty Ways to Improve Your High Availability

I love the start of another year. Well, most of it. I love the optimism, the mystery, the potential, and the hope that seems to usher its way into life as the calendar flips to another year. But, there are some downsides with the turn of the calendar. Every year the start of the New Year brings ‘____ ways to do_____. My inbox is always filled with, “Twenty ways to lose weight.” “Ten ways to build your portfolio.” “Three tips for managing stress.” “Nineteen ways to use your new iPhone.” The onslaught of lists for self improvement, culture change, stress management, and weight loss abound, for nearly every area of life and work, including “Thirteen ways to improve your home office.” But, what about high availability? You only have so much time every week. So how do you make your HA solution more efficient and robust than ever. Where is your list? Here it is, fifty ways to make your high availability architecture and solution better:

1. Get more information from the cluster faster

2. Set up alerts for key monitoring metrics

3. Add analytics. Multiply your knowledge

4. Establish a succinct architecture from an authoritative perspective

5. Connect more resources. Link up with similar partners and other HA professionals

6. Hire a consultant who specializes in high availability

7. 100x existing coverage. Expand what you protect

8. Centralize your log and management platforms

9. Remove busywork

10.Remove hacks and workarounds

11.Create solid repeatable solution architectures

12.Utilize your platforms: Public, private, hybrid or multi-cloud

13.Discover your gaps

14.Search for Single Points of Failure (SPOFs)

15.Refuse to implement incomplete solutions

16.Crowdsource ideas and enhancements

17.Go commercial and purpose built

18.Establish a clear strategy for each life cycle phase

19.Clarify decision making process

20.Document your processes

21.Document your operational playbook

22.Document your architecture

23.Plan staffing rotation

24.Plan maintenance

25.Perform regular maintenance (patches, updates, security fixes)

26.Define and refine on-boarding strategies

27.Clarify responsibility

28.Improve your lines of communication

29.Over communicate with stakeholders

30.Implement crisis resolution before a crisis

31.Upgrade your infrastructure

32.Upsize your VM; CPU, memory, and IOPs

33.Add redundancy at the zone or region level

34.Add data replication and disaster recovery

35.Go OS and Cloud agnostic

36.Get training for the team (cloud, OS, HA solution, etc)

37.Keep training the team

38.Explore chaos testing

39.Imitate the best in class architectures

40.Be creative. Innovation expands what you can protect and automate.

41.Increase your automation

42.Tune your systems

43.Listen more.

44.Implement strict change management.

45.Deploy QA clusters. Test everything before updating/upgrading production

46.Conduct root cause analysis exercises on any failures

47.Address RCA and Closed Loop Corrective Action reports

48.Learn your lesson the first time. Reuse key learnings.

49.Declutter. Don’t run unnecessary services or applications on production clusters

50.Be persistent. Keep working at it.

So, what are the ideas and ways that you have learned to increase and improve your enterprise availability? Let us know!

Cassius leads the Customer Experience team at SIOS Technology responsible for customer success.