Businesses encountered almost 50 hours of unplanned network outages in 2022.1 And with nearly half of all data disruptions resulting in lost productivity,2 ensuring network availability has become increasingly important for organizations across all industries.
In this blog, we share everything business leaders need to know about network redundancy – what it is, why it's important for your company, and how you can leverage network redundancy with the right colocation provider.
What Is Network Redundancy?
Network redundancy refers to the practice of maintaining multiple paths, systems, and infrastructure to ensure network availability in the event of a critical failure.
What Are the Most Common Network Redundancy Models?
There are several types of network redundancy you can implement depending on your needs and the nature of your network environment. The most common network redundancy examples include:
One of the most common forms of network redundancy involves maintaining redundant pairs of networking equipment, such as servers, routers, and access switches, often in an Active/Active or Active/Standby relationship. If one device fails, the other takes over seamlessly to ensure minimal downtime.
Link aggregation, sometimes referred to as link redundancy, combines multiple network connections to increase bandwidth and availability. If one link fails, the remaining aggregated links can still handle all the traffic without interruption.
A ring network is a type of network configuration where each device (node) is connected to two other network devices, forming a circular pathway for network redundancy. This setup enables data to travel around the ring until it reaches its destination. Often, a ring network design will also implement a "dual ring" or "double ring" structure that enables data to travel in both directions around the ring. If the primary path fails, the data can still reach its destination via the alternate path.
This method involves deploying network infrastructure at multiple, geographically diverse locations to safeguard against catastrophic systems failure at a single location. If an outage occurs, the disaster recovery (DR) site will continue to operate and ensure network availability.
Data redundancy refers to duplicating and storing critical data in different locations to maintain its availability in the event of a system failure or outage. This method typically involves storing data on multiple servers or physical storage media to serve as a backup that organizations can fall back on to maintain operations and prevent data loss.
What Are the Benefits of Network Redundancy?
Network redundancy offers many advantages that can improve your business operations, maintain team productivity, and more. Some key benefits include:
Maximized Network Uptime
The primary goal of redundant network services is to maximize uptime and availability. By having automatic network failover capability in the event of a failure, your business can avoid the impact of downtime events that would otherwise disrupt productivity, network communications, and services.
Faster Disaster Recovery
Network redundancy plays a crucial role in any disaster recovery plan. Geographic redundancy, for example, ensures that an outage at one location won't impact your entire network as it can switch to a separate backup server.
There are 2,200 cyber attacks every day,3 and corporate networks are particularly attractive targets for hackers. Network redundancy provides extra capacity to ensure that your IT teams have more time to detect and respond to the threat if one node is compromised during a security breach.
Redundant networks are often a regulatory necessity for industries with strict compliance requirements, such as finance and healthcare. Redundancy ensures data is preserved, even in the face of technical failures or cyber threats. Meeting compliance standards not only helps businesses avoid penalties but also demonstrates a commitment to data security.
Redundant network services can help your business enhance customer satisfaction by offering uninterrupted services, high availability, and improved reliability. This increase in productivity leads to a better user experience, ultimately boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Why Is Network Redundancy Important?
Network outages and downtime can have major consequences on businesses of all sizes and across every industry. Even minor hiccups can equate to massive losses in revenue and productivity.
Network redundancy aims to limit the impact of equipment failures, natural disasters, human error, cyber attacks, and other variables that could disrupt your business. Implementing network redundancy systems can help your business:
Avoid Costly Downtime
A recent study reports that the average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute4 – and even short network outages can have massive financial implications. During downtime, critical applications become unavailable, employees can't work, and e-commerce transactions grind to a halt. Network redundancy can reroute network services as needed to ensure minimal disruption and keep your business running smoothly, no matter what.
Meet Customer Expectations
Today's customers have very little patience for businesses that experience frequent service disruptions or slow networks. Network redundancy ensures improved uptime, speed, and reliability so you can more easily meet modern customer expectations.
Support Business Growth
As your business grows, network demands increase. Network redundancy offers seamless scalability and flexibility to upgrade your capacity without interruptions, accommodating the addition of new servers and equipment without interrupting your existing services.
Overcome Unpredictable Threats
From cyber attacks to natural disasters, unexpected threats can instantly cripple enterprise network operations. The distributed nature of redundant networks makes them more resistant to these issues – and more resilient when the unpredictable occurs.
Tips for Simplifying Network Redundancy
While network redundancy is critical for minimizing costly downtime, complex redundant configurations can become an administrative headache. The key is finding the right balance between resilience and simplicity with as few network connections as possible. Here are tips for simplifying redundancy for your business:
Leverage Cloud and Virtualization
Migrating your network services to the cloud lets you take advantage of built-in redundancy across hardware, data centers, and other services managed by your cloud provider. Virtualization also enables easy failover between virtual machines.
Automate Where Possible
Intelligent monitoring tools can detect failures and automatically switch to backup links and network devices in seconds. The less manual intervention required, the easier it is for your IT teams to manage the network efficiently.
Maintain updated network redundancy diagrams, configurations, and instructions in a central location so that your in-house IT or external providers can quickly understand the setup and perform maintenance or failover procedures when needed.
Test Failover Regularly
Schedule regular failover tests to verify that your network redundancy mechanisms function properly. This also familiarizes IT staff with proper failover processes before an actual network failure occurs, ensuring network availability.
Consider partnering with a managed service provider to monitor uptime, receive alerts, and manage your network infrastructure, so in-house staff can focus on business-critical tasks rather than redundancy maintenance.
eStruxture: Your Partner for a Secure, Reliable Network
Failing to implement network redundancy could result in data loss, downtime, frustrated customers, and more, making network redundancy a critical element in securing an organization's operations and reputation.
However, achieving maximum network availability with minimum complexity in your redundant networks is often easier said than done. By outsourcing your enterprise network infrastructure to a trusted colocation provider like eStruxture, you can leverage powerful redundancy measures designed to safeguard your network.
As the largest data center provider in Canada, eStruxture offers the most efficient combination of space, power, cooling, and connectivity to meet your unique networking needs. From cabinets and cages to custom suites, we'll help you find a data center solution that reduces your bandwidth costs and enhances business continuity.
Get in touch with our team today to learn more.