Before hosting your website, you need to understand how the system works, and just as importantly, how it should work. Being aware of the workings of your website can help you understand how to protect your website while your business grows.
Here we help you understand what data redundancy is, how it works, and how it can help keep your website safe.
What is data redundancy?
Redundancy is an engineering term that refers to creating systems so that they don’t fail. In web hosting, data redundancy is a strategy that ensures that you never lose any data.
Data redundancy might seem very similar to backups, but redundancy and backups are not interchangeable terms. A backup is, to put it simply, a duplicate copy of your data. Irrespective of how many backups of data you make, where you store them, or even how you create the backup, to begin with — backups are still just duplicate copies of existing data.Redundancy, on the other hand, is more than just duplicating data. It’s a proactive action plan that you design so that you never lose data. Backups are a part of an overall redundancy plan.
When data is lost from your web server, your website can crash, you can lose important customer information, business details, and even records of financial transactions. All these are crucial for your business, and therefore, data redundancy should be a top priority.
Importance of redundancy in web hosting
Continuity of business operations is the first and foremost reason for having a robust redundancy design. If you’re a website owner and you have a business, you’re losing money every minute your website is down. This is even more important if your website is new, has low traffic, and you’re spending money to get people to visit your website.
A website going down has far-reaching consequences and isn’t just about the people who try to visit your website during an outage. If customers see an error message when they try to visit your website, you can be sure that they’re not going to come back easily.
Outages can also affect your search engine rankings. Leading search engines have a series of guidelines about how their algorithms choose which websites to show to their users. One of the factors listed is uptime or the reliability of a website. When all other things are equal, search algorithms will prefer a website with a greater uptime than one that crashes often. Data loss can, of course, bring your website down pretty quickly.
Additionally, loss of business data or, worse still, customer data can bring a website and a business down. People are more cautious than ever about how their data is stored, who can see it, and the consequences of it being stolen. So, not only will data loss hurt your business directly, but it’s also a massive dent in your reputation.
With all this in the background, it’s easy to see why redundancy matters so much and why, as a website owner, you should be putting a lot of thought into designing your website’s redundancy and understanding the best way to protect your website’s data.
How does website data redundancy work?
All robust redundancy designs have one thing in common — little dependency on any one copy of data or a data centre that houses a copy of data.
This means that there are usually multiple copies of data (backups), often following the 3-2-1 rule of backups. The rule essentially says that you should have three copies of data stored in two locations, one of which is an offline storage facility.
Doing this means that you’re never dependent on just one copy of data. You always have a backup, and in the worst-case scenario, you have a backup for your backup too.
As mentioned earlier, redundancy is more than just backups. A good redundancy strategy will consider other important factors too. Some of them are listed as follows:
Most web servers use hard disk drives (HDDs) to store your website information. The adoption of SSDs or Solid State Drives that are more reliable isn’t widespread yet. So, for starters, use SSDs if your web hosting company offers them, even if the price is marginally higher. It’ll pay off in the long run.
The better hosting companies will usually mitigate the problem of hard disks by using some form of RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) and un-RAID solutions. These methods mirror HDD data to another storage device periodically to ensure that an HDD failure has little to no impact.
Power failures happen everywhere. It’s only the frequency and duration that vary. Hosting companies should ideally invest in Uninterrupted Power Supplies to ensure that a power outage does not affect your web server.
Some web hosting companies will additionally get their power from two different sources to ensure that the power never goes off. This way, your data will never be inaccessible to you.
Network redundancy is essentially how a data centre gets connected to the internet. A great way to ensure that a data centre is always online is a multi-vendor policy. It means that a data centre is continuously connected to two or more network providers ensuring that the failure of one network provider has no impact on the uptime of your website.
In-built redundancy of a web hosting platform
Cloud Hosting is one of the most popular web hosting platforms. The winning feature that makes it the future of hosting is the advanced data security and redundancy in-built into the Cloud Hosting architecture. In Cloud Hosting, the website data is hosted across multiple servers. This eliminates the single point of failure and ensures that if one server fails, the data is seamlessly restored from the other server. Cloud Hosting platforms use a process called Data Mirroring, wherein data is mirrored in real-time. As a result, data can always be seamlessly recovered from mirrored locations.
The importance of a robust redundancy plan is clear. As a website owner, you need to do everything that you can to implement redundancy designs. However, there’s only so much that you, as a website owner, can do. You can take backups, yes, but that’s about it. Other factors like network, power, and hardware redundancy depend entirely on your web hosting provider.
Eastlink Cloud Pvt. Ltd.
Tripureshwor, Kathmandu, Nepal