Windows software is prevalent in the world of business. Employees are likely to be familiar with it from previous jobs and/or in their personal life. Microsoft has developed a number of business application software solutions that fit most, if not all, of a company’s technology needs.
Beyond email, word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations, Microsoft has also provided companies with a highly popular platform of business servers. Since it’s designed to streamline IT infrastructure and is based on a platform that practically all software applications are designed to work on, IT admins appreciate the streamlined approach for ease of management.
For security and performance purposes, it’s also best practice for companies to cluster those servers.
What is a server cluster?
While not edible, it is every bit as delicious as a peanut cluster for its usefulness. A server cluster involves assigning two or more machines to operate as one server. This provides backup for mission-critical applications (like Microsoft Outlook) that are needed to conduct business.
Clustering gives companies the peace of mind that comes with redundancy and load balancing; it ensures the hardware system is never overworked. And when peak demand on system resources occurs, more machines can kick in to help so there isn’t a lag in response time for end users.
Benefits of a server cluster
The three primary benefits of a server cluster is its ability to address: site failures in multi-site organizations, application and service failures, and system and hardware failures.
The first of these, the site failure, is typically caused by large events such as natural disasters, connectivity outages, or power outages. This is when a server cluster becomes a major piece of a company’s disaster recovery plan.
Application and service failures are those that affect day-to-day operations by causing disruptions in application software and essential services. Third, a server cluster will save the day in the event of a hardware and/or system failure that affects incredibly important portions of the IT infrastructure — such as drives, CPUs, power supplies, memory, and network adapters.
They are designed in such a way that the servers in a cluster work in harmony to keep services and applications running, even in the event of a failure on another one of the servers. They work together to protect data, and maintain a level of consistency in configuration for the cluster itself over time. The redundancy in servers means greater availability of resources, higher performance, and more work productivity.
Making IT management easier
At the end of the day, technology is supposed to improve our lives: simplify, make things better, and in the case of server clusters, add to the peace of mind for companies. There is no doubt that implementing server clusters is a best practice for companies because it acts like a really great insurance policy when it comes to protecting investments of time and money.
It also means cost savings when it comes to managing a network. The flexibility afforded to IT admins who have a server cluster means maintenance can be performed on servers even during regular business hours because it won’t disrupt the flow of day-to-day business.
As more companies adopt this practice, more IT infrastructure, consulting, and solution companies like Singlehop are creating offerings that simplify the process even more. With an array of offerings that enable businesses to customize and tailor not only their server clustering needs, but their hosting needs as well, the cost savings can be substantial.
The moral of the story is to invest in server clustering for the happiness of the IT administrator, for the best interests of the company, and to keep your business as lean, mean, and efficient as possible — which is to say, more competitive.