Preventing Outages with High Availability (HA)

Preventing-outages-with-High-Availability-Banner-image

Preventing Outages with High Availability (HA)

High Availability (HA) is a fundamental part of data management, ensuring that critical data remains accessible and operational despite unforeseen challenges. It’s a comprehensive approach that employs various strategies and technologies to prevent outages, minimize downtime, and maintain continuous data accessibility. The following are five areas that comprise a powerful HA deployment.

Redundancy and Replication:  Redundancy and replication involve maintaining multiple copies of data across geographically distributed locations or redundant hardware components. For instance, in a private cloud environment, data may be replicated across multiple availability data centers. This redundancy ensures that if one copy of the data becomes unavailable due to hardware failures, natural disasters, or other issues, another copy can seamlessly take its place, preventing downtime and ensuring data availability. For example: On Premise Vs private cloud (AWS) offers services like Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) and Amazon RDS (Relational Database Service) that automatically replicate data across multiple availability zones within a region, providing high availability and durability.

Fault Tolerance:  Fault tolerance is the ability of a system to continue operating and serving data even in the presence of hardware failures, software errors, or network issues. One common example of fault tolerance is automatic failover in database systems. For instance, in a master-slave database replication setup, if the master node fails, operations are automatically redirected to one of the slave nodes, ensuring uninterrupted access to data. This ensures that critical services remain available even in the event of hardware failures or other disruptions.

Automated Monitoring and Alerting:  Automated monitoring and alerting systems continuously monitor the health and performance of data storage systems, databases, and other critical components. These systems use metrics such as CPU utilization, disk space, and network latency to detect anomalies or potential issues. For example, monitoring tools like PRTG and Grafana can be configured to track key performance indicators (KPIs) and send alerts via email, SMS, or other channels when thresholds are exceeded or abnormalities are detected. This proactive approach allows IT staff to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into outages, minimizing downtime and ensuring data availability.

For example, we write custom monitoring scripts, for our clients, that alert us to database processing pressure and long-running queries and errors.  Good monitoring is critical for production database performance and end-user usability.

Preventing-outages-with-High-Availability-Middle-imageLoad Balancing:  Load balancing distributes incoming requests for data across multiple servers or nodes to ensure optimal performance and availability. For example, a web application deployed across multiple servers may use a load balancer to distribute incoming traffic among the servers evenly. If one server becomes overloaded or unavailable, the load balancer redirects traffic to the remaining servers, ensuring that the application remains accessible and responsive. Load balancing is crucial in preventing overload situations that could lead to downtime or degraded performance.

Data Backup and Recovery:  Data backup and recovery mechanisms protect against data loss caused by accidental deletion, corruption, or other unforeseen events. Regular backups are taken of critical data and stored securely, allowing organizations to restore data quickly in the event of a failure or data loss incident.

Continuous Software Updates and Patching:  Keeping software systems up to date with the latest security patches and updates is essential for maintaining Data High Availability. For example, database vendors regularly release patches to address security vulnerabilities and software bugs. Automated patch management systems can streamline the process of applying updates across distributed systems, ensuring that critical security patches are applied promptly. By keeping software systems up-to-date, organizations can mitigate the risk of security breaches and ensure the stability and reliability of their data infrastructure.

Disaster Recovery Planning:  Disaster recovery planning involves developing comprehensive plans and procedures for recovering data and IT systems in the event of a catastrophic failure or natural disaster. For example, organizations may implement multi-site disaster recovery strategies, where critical data and applications are replicated across geographically dispersed data centers. These plans typically outline roles and responsibilities, communication protocols, backup and recovery procedures, and alternative infrastructure arrangements to minimize downtime and data loss in emergencies.

We develop database disaster automatic failure procedures and processes for clients and work with programmers or IT departments to help them understand the importance of HA and how to change their code to optimize their use of High Availability.

An Essential Tool

Data High Availability is essential for preventing outages and ensuring continuous data accessibility in modern IT environments. By employing the strategies we outlined, you can mitigate the risk of downtime, maintain business continuity, and ensure the availability and reliability of critical data and services.

High Availability is available on all modern database platforms and requires a thoughtful approach. We’d be happy to show you how we can help your organization and make your applications and systems fly without disruption. Call us today.

Why Do My Servers Keep Crashing?

Why Do My Servers Keep Crashing banner

Why Do My Servers Keep Crashing?

An organization’s worst fear is to have a server failure where essential data may be lost forever leaving your organization unable to function properly.

According to research, server failure rates rise noticeably as they age. The failure rate for a server within its first year is 5%, compared to a four-year-old server’s yearly failure frequency of 11%. Understanding server failure rates is helpful as it enables a more effective risk management as well as long-term planning for server administration and maintenance expenses.

Dealing with a server crash is never enjoyable. Users may encounter significant disruptions if a large company’s server collapses, resulting in significant financial loss. If your host’s server crashes and you are an individual with a single website, you are at the mercy of the host leaving you to pace away until the problem is fixed.

A server crashing is bound to happen at some point time so it’s a good thing to note what exactly a server crash is and why it happens.

What is a Server Crash?

A server crash is a catastrophic failure of a server that can affect the entire operation of a business as well as cause a severe financial loss. Server crashes usually occur when a server goes offline, preventing it from performing its tasks. There can be issues with the server’s numerous built-in services once it crashes. Additionally, the impact will be more significant, and the repercussions will be more severe because the server serves many customers.

  • Video Website: A significant accessibility issue within a video website makes it impossible to watch any online videos. It would be a catastrophe if the server’s data was lost and many writers’ original animations and movies could not be recovered.
  • Financial system: A rock-solid server is necessary for a financial plan that processes millions of transactions every second. Since everyone’s capital exchanges were impacted, the loss is incalculable.
  • Competitive games: There may be tens of millions of participants online for most popular and competitive games. There will undoubtedly be a lot of upset gamers if they were all disconnected from their beloved game.
    Why Do My Servers Keep Crashing middle

Reasons for Server Crash

A server may go down for various reasons, including occasionally, a single fault or multiple problems co-occurring at other times.

The following are the most typical reasons for server crashes:

  • Startup Failure: This is the most common reason for a server crash. When your server starts up, the code must run before it starts doing its job. If some of these steps fail, your server will not start properly.
  • A Software Error: The most common reason for a server crash is an application error, such as an unexpected exception or an operation that cannot be completed because of execution limits on the system.
  • A Hardware Failure (such as a power outage): If the cause of your crash is a power outage, there may be no way to recover without restoring your backup data. If this happens, you should contact your hosting service provider and ask them what steps they recommend to restore service.
  • Errors in Configuration Files or Other System Files: Sometimes errors occur in configuration files or other system files that result in incomplete or incorrect actions being taken by your application when it starts up, which can lead to crashes.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Security vulnerabilities are typically caused by hackers, allowing them access into your server. If you have a secured server, you should not be worried about this problem as your server is well protected from hackers.
  • Overheating: If the server cannot keep itself cool, it will be unable to function correctly. If a server has an overheating problem, the system will shut down and restart itself. This may be caused by a faulty fan or power supply unit (PSU).
  • Virus Attacks: Viruses can cause server crashes in many ways. One way is that they can infect your server’s operating system or hardware and cause it to crash when it tries to process requests from the internet. Another way is that they make your computer run slowly and eventually crash, which causes fewer requests for content from your server and makes it more likely that its hard drive will run out of space and have to be replaced.
  • Expired Domain: Domain names are like URLs (uniform resource locators) for websites, but they have expiration dates set by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). When the expiration date passes, the domain name becomes available again, so any website using that domain must be changed manually. This can cause issues when your site goes offline due to a server crash because you no longer have access to the proper domain name.
  • Plug-in Error: This happens when a server gets stuck in some loop and cannot exit it because it gets stuck in an infinite loop. For example, if you have two routers connected with a switch between them, but only one router works appropriately while the other one doesn’t, then both will be affected by this issue. If you don’t want this to happen, make sure both routers have enough power or buy a new one.

Server Crashes: Numerous Causes, Numerous Solutions

No two servers are the same and they all tend to crash for a variety of reasons. While some of them we have slight control of, others are out of our hands. There are, nevertheless, precautions we may take to reduce the risk. Although they aren’t impenetrable precautions, they can mitigate end-user disruptions and downtime.

Your server and surrounding network may go down for either a few minutes or several hours, depending on the skill level of your hired IT team managing them. You can also partner with a server expert like Protected Harbor.

Protected Harbor takes care of server maintenance and upgrades to keep your systems running at peak efficiency. We have a team of engineers to look after your servers and data centers to keep them safe from threats like natural disasters, power outages, and physical or cyber security issues. We also monitor your networks to ensure that your systems are always connected to the internet and that your data is secured with maximum efficiency.

Our engineers are certified in troubleshooting a variety of server hardware and software. We also provide 24/7 tech support, ensuring that your critical applications stay up and running.

We offer a 99.99% SLA (Service Level Agreement) plus have a proven track record with clients of various industries from e-commerce and SaaS to healthcare clients. We offer flexible, scalable plans to suit your business needs.

Let our team of experts assess your current server setup and get a free report today.

How to Prevent Crashes and Outages?

How to Prevent Crashes and Outages Banner image

How to Prevent Crashes and Outages?

Today’s workforce relies heavily on computers for day-to-day tasks. If a computer crashes, we tend to get more than just a little agitated.

Fear of being unable to work and get our jobs done for the day races through our minds while anger takes its place in the forefront of trying to fix whatever went wrong, throwing all logic out the window.

When a system abruptly ceases to work, it crashes. The scope of a system failure can vary significantly from one that affects all subsystems to one that is just limited to a particular device or just the kernel itself.

System hang-ups are a related occurrence in which the operating system is nominally loaded. Still, the system stops responding to input from any user/device and ceases producing output. Another way to define such a system is as frozen.

This blog will explain how to prevent crashes and outages in 6 easy steps.

 

What is a System Crash and an Outage?

A system crash is a term used to describe a situation in which a computer system fails, usually due to an error or a bug in the software. An outage may also be caused by an application program, system software, driver, hardware malfunction, power outage, or another factor.

“A system freeze,” “system hang,” or “the blue screen of death” are the other terms for a system crash.

An outage is a general term for an unexpected interruption to a service or network. Outages can be planned (for example, during maintenance) or unplanned (a fault occurs). Outages can last for minutes, hours, days, or even weeks.

 

Main Reasons for Crashes and Outages

System outages can be caused by various factors, from hardware failures to software glitches. In many cases, outages are the result of a combination of factors. The following are some of the most common causes of system outages:

  • Hardware failures: A defective component can cause an entire system to fail. Servers, hard drives, and other components can fail, leading to an outage.
  • Software glitches: Software glitches can also cause system outages. A coding error or a bug in the software can disrupt the system’s regular operation.
  • Power outages: A power outage can cause the entire system to fail. The system may be damaged permanently if the power is not restored quickly.
  • Natural disasters: Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes can damage or destroy critical components of the system.

System crashes can be caused by various things, from software defects to hardware failures. Sometimes, the crash may even be caused by something as simple as a power outage or due to a more severe issue, such as a virus or malware infection.

  • Overheating: When a computer’s CPU or graphics card gets too hot, it can cause the system to freeze or crash. This is often the result of inadequate cooling or dust and dirt buildup inside the computer.
  • Bad drivers: If a driver is outdated, corrupt, or incompatible with the operating system, it can cause the system to crash. In some cases, this can even lead to data loss or permanent damage to the computer.

How-to-Prevent-Crashes-and-Outages-middle-imagePreventions Against Crashes and Outages

Nobody wants their computer to crash, but it will happen eventually. Here are a few ways to help prevent them and keep your computer running smoothly.

 

1.    Keep Your Software Up to Date by Installing Updates

One of the best ways to prevent crashes and outages is by updating your software. This means installing updates as soon as they become available. You should also keep your operating system and programs up to date. These updates can fix bugs and security vulnerabilities, so installing them as soon as they are released is essential.

 

2.    Avoid Clicking on Links or Downloading Files from Unknown Sources

It’s essential to be proactive in preventing crashes and outages. One way to do this is to avoid clicking on links or downloading files from unknown sources, as these can often contain malware that can harm your computer or network. Additionally, you should routinely back up your data to recover it if something goes wrong.

 

3. Make Sure You Have Good Antivirus and Anti-Malware Programs

One of the most important things you can do to prevent crashes is to ensure that your antivirus and anti-malware programs are up to date. These programs can help protect your computer from malware infections, which can cause crashes.

 

4.    Close Programs You’re Not Using

One of the best ways to prevent crashes and outages is to close any programs you’re not using. When too many programs are open, your computer’s performance can suffer, leading to crashes and outages.

 

5.    Delete Unwanted Files

Another way to improve your computer’s performance is to regularly delete files you no longer need. This will free up space on your hard drive, allowing your computer to run more efficiently.

 

6.    Try a Trusted Disk Clean-Up to Free Up Some Space

This will help your computer run faster and smoother. You can even defragment your hard drive occasionally to keep it organized and running smoothly.

Remember to install updates for your operating system and software as soon as they are available. Keeping your computer clean and organized will help prevent crashes and outages.

 

Final Words

Don’t forget that you are the one running the computer, not the other way around. Therefore, it is your top priority to maintain the computers for improved performance and to continually check for any disruptions that could result in computer failures.

Try to pay attention to the little warnings your system sends you so you can save not just your computer but also yourself from a mental spiral.

Now that you know what causes crashes and outages, you can stay on top of them by following a few simple rules. Regularly monitoring your system resources, updating your software, keeping your system up to date, and having a good antivirus are the best ways to keep your computer running smoothly and keep both crashes and outages at bay.

Taking care of your data can help you to protect it from crashes and outages. You can get expert help from Protected Harbor to manage and maintain your systems and data. Protected Harbor provides an added layer of security that helps to ensure the uninterrupted flow of business-critical data. Additionally, our expert team monitors and detects any threats or updates to your system in order to ensure a smooth, efficient operation that saves it from crashing.

We help you to avoid the most common causes of data loss and system outages. These include network issues due to malicious activity, viruses, and system overload; natural disasters; power outages; and accidental deletion or corruption of data. You’re less likely to experience a system outage or lose critical data if you have a backup, plus 99.99% uptime is our guarantee.

 

Sign up now and get a free consultation to learn more about how Protected Harbor can keep your company’s data secure and your business up and running.

 

AWS global outage; disrupts services and aftermath

AWS global outage disrupts and aftermath

 

AWS global outage; disrupts services and aftermath

Facebook, Alexa, Reddit, Netflix, and more apps were affected by the AWS outage.

If you faced problems logging in to Amazon.com for shopping ahead of Christmas, you’re not alone. On Tuesday, December 7, large parts of the internet and apps reported disrupted services based on the AWS platform. Netflix, Alexa, Disney+, Reddit, and IMDB are some of the services reported downtime.

UPDATE: 19:35 EST/16:35 PST, The official Amazon Web Services dashboard published the following affirmation. ” With the network device problems resolved, we are now operating towards the recovery of any impaired services. We will roll out additional updates for impaired services within the connected entry in the Service Health Dashboard.

AWS down

Users began reporting issues around 10:45 AM ET on Tuesday about the outage and took to Twitter and other social media platforms to discuss. More than 24,000 people reported cases with Amazon, which included Prime Video and other services, on DownDetector.com. The website collects outage reports from multiple sources, including user-submitted errors.

The AWS problems came from the US-EAST-1 AWS region in Virginia, so users elsewhere may not have noticed as many issues, and even if you were affected, you might have seen a slightly slower loading time while the network redirected your requests.

Peter DeSantis, AWS’ vice president of infrastructure, led a 600-person internal call about the then-ongoing outage. Some said it was likely an internal issue, and others pointed to more nefarious possibilities.
“We have mitigated the underlying issues that caused network devices in the US-EAST-1 Region to be impaired,” AWS said on its status page.

What caused the outage?

Engineers at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the enormous cloud computing provider in the US, are still unsure what caused the outage on December 7. AWS does not list any issues on the status page currently. Previous outages have also not been reflected on the status page or even brought down the site entirely, so it is not unusual.
There is, however, a 500 Server error on the specific page for the us-east-1 AWS Management Console Home, instead of information about the Northern Virginia region.

A 500 server internal error means their server is trying to show the requested web page (the technical answer is delivered rather than the web page). But it can’t show the webpage because something within the server failed – for example, the storage failed, so the file is unavailable.

“Possible causes are internal routing problems within Amazon, a defective Amazon-wide update, an Amazon-wide misconfiguration. A defective API (application programming interface) or network device issue might also be a cause of the amazon console down,” said Richard Luna, CEO, Protected Harbor.

Amazon global outage comes just a few months after Meta Platforms, Inc. (FB) went offline due to network problems, affecting some of its most popular apps, including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger.
The research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that major cloud platforms suffer significant outages once per quarter per year. Many people felt the disruption; however, since AWS controls about 90% of the cloud infrastructure market and many people continue to work and study from home during the pandemic, the outage was widely felt. Gartner vice president Sid Nag told The Wall Street Journal that these guys have become almost too big to fail. Our day-to-day lives rely heavily on cloud computing services.

Credible solutions

On Tuesday, the world received a reminder of just how much we rely on Amazon Web Services. A simple outage for a brief period disrupted the operations and services of millions of people. Amazon is in the monopoly and would never partner with another provider. So the simplest solution is to opt for a service provider who puts customers first.

Amazon, as big it is, is still just one location and provides a single server location to the clients. At its core, it is one batch of servers. Protected Harbor solves this problem by spreading the customers across multiple server locations, preventing a site-wide misconfiguration. We protect our clients by using various services; we expect one service to fail- that gives us time to resolve and repair the situation quickly.

We differentiate from other providers by being proactive and planning for failures like this. We do it all the time- partner with other providers to deliver unmatched services to the customers because their satisfaction comes first.

Key Takeaways:

  • An hours-long AWS outage crippled popular websites and disrupted smart devices, as well as creating delivery delays at Amazon warehouses.
  • Companies like Facebook, Netflix, Reddit, IMDB, Disney+, and more were affected by the outage.
  • Amazon stated that it “identified the root cause” but yet to reveal what precisely the root cause was?
  • AWS controls almost 90% of the cloud services market, and the outages are not uncommon.
  • Now is the time to choose the provider which satisfies you and your business needs.

Go complete risk-free

Protected Harbor is the underdog player in the market that exceeds the customer’s expectations. With its Datacenter and Managed IT services, it has stood the test of customers, and “Beyond expectations” is quoted by all customers. Best in segment cloud services with optimum IT support, safety, and security, it’s a no-brainer why organizations choose to stay with us. This way to the crème de la crème.

Facebook Down Globally: A Case of the Mondays for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp as they go dark midday Monday

Facebook Down Globally

 

Facebook Down Globally: A Case of the Mondays for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp as they go dark midday Monday

 

Some of the biggest social media sites on the planet, including Facebook, went down globally starting at noon EDT and are still not up in some regions. That’s right, no Instagram #motivationmondays or “Ugh, is it Friday Yet?” Facebook posts from your first semester freshman year college roommate. As the sky was falling for millennials (myself included) and your favorite newly-political aunt, the teams at Facebook were scrambling to keep their sites (including Instagram and WhatsApp, of which both are Facebook-owned) operating.

Facebook Chief Technology Officer Mike Schoepfer took to Twitter to address the situation:

“*Sincere* apologies to everyone impacted by outages of Facebook-powered services right now. We are experiencing networking issues and teams are working as fast as possible to debug and restore as fast as possible”

Facebook outages of this magnitude are rare, to have Facebook down globally for this amount of time is something that hasn’t happened in years. To put in perspective just how impactful the Facebook outage is, the term “Facebook down” was Googled more than 5,000,000 times today alone.
The cause of the outage is speculated to be tied to a recently aired “60 Minutes” segment where whistleblower and former Product Manager at Facebook, Frances Haugen claimed that Facebook knows the platform is used to spread hate and that they have tried hiding evidence of it, of course, Facebook denies this claim.

“The interview followed weeks of reporting about and criticism of Facebook after Haugen released thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators and the Wall Street Journal. Haugen is set to testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.” According to CNN

Jake Williams, CTO of cybersecurity firm BreachQuest mentioned to the Associated Press that this was an “operational issue” caused by human error.

Regardless of the reasoning, I’m sure this will be an issue that will be discussed for quite some time in the technology space as the outage was global and not regional. Facebook shares opened at $335.50 and closed at $326.32, a drop of 4.89%.

Nonetheless, as I’m sure many were beside themselves that they couldn’t post a nice “Los Angeles” filtered photo of their lunch on Instagram to show their followers, we can only hope, for Facebook’s sake, they can have it fixed by the time we want to show off our dinner.

It has been confirmed that per a Facebook blog that the outage was due to a botched configuration change. Facebook posted the following:

Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centers caused issues that interrupted this communication. This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt.”

Information about the depth of the outage continues to grow, it’s reported that Facebook’s internal chat was also down limiting communications within the company, it even went so far as the employee’s keycards began to fail which made them unable to enter certain buildings.

The Krebs on Security blog explains the problem as follows:

“…sometime this morning Facebook took away the map telling the world’s computers how to find its various online properties. As a result, when one types Facebook.com into a web browser, the browser has no idea where to find Facebook.com, and so returns an error page.”

The Facebook campus was only the beginning, due to the sites interconnectivity it stretched to sites that were utilizing Facebook’s authentication process as well, these effects resonated across the board, from those who rely on Facebook/WhatsApp for primary communication purposes, to small businesses unable to get in touch with their customer base, and even the large number of folks in countries where Facebook is their internet.

We will continue to update as information becomes available.