Failover is the process of seamlessly and automatically switching to a redundant system when a primary system fails due to an outage, ransomware attack, or other issue. Failover ensures that despite the malfunction of the primary system—server, storage, or network—the overarching system, such as an application, continues to operate close to normal. Failover is an essential element of both business continuity and disaster recovery, and it should be easy to design and automated upon execution. A related operation, failback, is the process of restoring the failed system to full operation. Failover and failback can occur between on-premises production and on-prem standby systems; between on-prem systems and cloud; between cloud and cloud; and any combination in between.
Why Is Failover Important?
Failover is a critical function for protecting mission-critical systems that must be always available so your organization can operate business as usual.
Naturally, the redundant standby system to which the primary system switches must itself be robust and not susceptible to failure.
The biggest three benefits of deploying a proven failover solution are:
Ensures continuity of service – In case of a system failure, you can continue servicing customers and keep your business running.
Minimizes downtime – Allows your business to operate close to normal while the primary system is in ‘failed’ status or being fixed.
Lowers risk – Lets you avoid the high costs of downtime that can include lost productivity, lost data, lost revenue, and lost brand reputation.
Today’s IT environments are complex, spanning on-prem, private cloud, hybrid cloud, and multiple public clouds. Providing failover functionality for critical systems across all these platforms can be equally complex—and costly.
What Is the Difference Between Failover and Redundancy?
By definition, failover is the process of seamlessly and automatically switching to a redundant system when a primary system fails due to an outage, cyberattack, or other issue.
The definition of redundancy, on the other hand, is a characteristic of such a system—in this case, of having an identical extra system ready and available in the case of failure of the primary system.
What Does Production Failover Mean?
Production failover is when a production system successfully starts up on another standby or redundant system when an outage occurs. This should happen with minimal downtime and data loss.
What Happens in Failover?
If the failover definition is to automatically switch to a redundant system in case of an outage, then in a failover scenario, the standby system takes over when the primary system stops running. This involves automatically offloading tasks from the first to the second system as seamlessly as possible, so that normal functions can be sustained.
It’s important to do periodic failover testing to ensure that the failover system is indeed capable of moving operations smoothly and seamlessly from the failed primary system to the redundant backup system.
What Is the Purpose of Failover Clustering?
A failover cluster is a collection of separate computers (called nodes) that work together to boost the availability of clustered roles (also known as applications and services). If one of the nodes goes down, it automatically fails over to one of the other nodes. Failover clusters in Windows environments, for example, are managed by the failover cluster manager, which is used to create and add nodes to a cluster.
Cohesity’s Modern Approach to Failover
Cohesity simplifies failover. No matter where your application, server, network, or other system resides—on-prem or in the cloud—Cohesity provides automatic failover and orchestrated failback to the point of your choice.
Efficient failover – Cohesity SiteContinuity helps you design efficient failover strategies with a simple drag and drop GUI, and initiates a completely automated failover process in case of a failure.
Near-zero application downtime and data loss – Automated failover and failback orchestration with Cohesity of a single application or an entire site ensures minimum data loss and downtime as business applications are rapidly recovered in a disaster scenario.
Flexible recovery – Journal-based recovery helps you meet varying service levels across application tiers by restoring to any point in time—including days or even seconds before the disaster hit, on-prem or to a public cloud.