Data center computer racks showing cyber resilience

Cyber Resilience Paired with Business Functions Equals Greater Security

The three top goals of most every organization are security, cyber resilience, and profitability. In fact, in 2020, McKinsey & Company noted that when an organization partners cyber resilience with the business, the result is “a more secure and profitable institution.” But how can an enterprise have the best chance of reaching this pivotal trio of goals?

The key is that in order to have true cyber resilience, it takes more than ensuring just high availability (HA)—and also more than ensuring just disaster recovery (DR). Both are needed, and this is where some businesses get tripped up, assuming that HA and DR are one in the same. They aren’t. In a nutshell, this is the distinction:

  • High availability means the continuous, non-failing operation of a database and its associated services, delivering operational uptime to the agreed-upon service level.
  • Disaster recovery means that an organization is able to maintain or regain services in the wake of a catastrophe or outage and recover its data and databases.

Layers of challenges

It’s difficult to ensure database HA and DR, with many challenges when it comes to resilience, security, and scalability. This is true for data stored on-premises as well as public clouds and remote storage. One challenge is companies must provide database resiliency not only between availability zones, but also within these various regions. Security, data integrity, and scalability concerns are also part of the puzzle, with data moving between isolated networks and organizations needing to scale multiple database instances, not just manage them.

Let’s consider the HA/DR challenge of guaranteeing remote data protection and reliably harnessing the full power of Microsoft SQL Server’s DR capabilities plus local HA. Traditionally, this major obstacle was the fact that using SQL Server on Linux for HA as well as DR, companies were faced with selecting one of two suboptimal choices. One was using a solution based on a Pacemaker that required virtual private networks (VPNs) for DR, and separate clusters for HA. The other required using VPNs for DR, then merging HA SQL Server instances with a separate data-replication solution. The result can best be described as “Frankenstein” mish-mosh that:

  • Lacks scalability
  • Fails requirement for recovery time/recovery point objective (RTO/RPO)
  • Lacks data security (VPN)
  • Is expensive

A better solution

There’s a smarter alternative to the above VPN-centric solution, and it runs on top of SQL Server: Smart Availability clustering software, which offers triple the SQL Server AG performance and boosts RPO via micro-tunnels. It’s also easy to implement and facilitates simplified automatic failover management end to end.

This type of solution offers the cyber resiliency that enterprises need, with:

  • Standardized HA and DR
  • Single cluster setup
  • Little downtime
  • Workload portability
  • Evergreen infrastructure
  • Cost savings
  • High ROI

These aren’t the only benefits of Smart Availability clustering software; it also offers data safeguards via secure network communications in multiple sites and clouds, plus strong network security by removing the lateral network attack surface of VPNs. This software additionally banishes server replication, which means there is no need to use VPNs, SQL Server licenses, and multiple clustering technologies.

It’s true that other enterprise data management systems provide HA clustering, but Smart Availability software is much more efficient in the cloud and between datacenters, offering both HA and DR capabilities for cyber resilience. The software is very effective with Microsoft SQL Server, and helping companies run HA, distributed SQL Server clusters on Linux as well as Windows. By eliminating both the complexity and the performance problems of traditional VPN, clustering, and replication solutions, availability software emerges as the clear winner.