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4 ways CIOs can respond to a service outage

Jonathan Hassell | Oct. 1, 2013
Nasdaq and Intermedia are among the latest firms to suffer lengthy -- and public -- service outages. Eventually, the same thing will happen to you. Here are four key lessons IT leaders can learn from others' mistakes.

4. Run Off Your Backups Every Once in a While
One problems with having hot standby servers sitting around is that they rarely get an actual workout. It's usually only under stress that those systems are used. Hardware problems and software quirks get magnified when largely unused systems suddenly take on a failover load.

Backup systems rarely share the same specifications as the primary systems that traditionally run a load. Many backup systems are more lightly equipped because they won't be used very often. These decisions often have a way of coming back to haunt you, though.

One way around this is to regularly use your backup systems as production systems. Schedule times to move your regular load to your backup systems. Use them often enough that you're confident in their ability to service should something go wrong with your primary systems.

As a CIO, a system outage that occurs on your watch is one of the worst ways to give your company publicity. With proper time and attention, though, you can at least make sure that, when outages attack, you're prepared, confident and responsive so that a bad situation isn't made worse.


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