Why Redundancy in Data Centers Matters for Ensuring Business Continuity


In the digital landscape, where every moment counts, data centers serve as the backbone of businesses, ensuring seamless operations and unfaltering connectivity. In this dynamic environment, redundancy is key.  

What does it mean, and why is it crucial for your business? 

Redundancy is the insurance policy against downtime—a proactive approach to safeguarding your operations. Let’s dig deeper into it and find out why it matters to you.

What Is Redundancy in a Data Center?

Redundancy in data centers is a strategic approach that involves duplicating critical components to ensure uninterrupted operations. It acts as a safety net, mitigating the impact of potential failures in power, cooling, network, and hardware systems. 

A good example here is redundancy in case of a power outage or having a secondary way to power the data center in case the first one fails. Since the Midwest is no stranger to severe weather, redundancy can be a lifesaver for businesses who depend on interrupted uptime to deliver their services—which describes pretty much any modern business.

Redundancy is measured in N classifications, where N stands for duplicate units (diesel generators, UPSs, and so on). If a data center is classified as N-type, it means it has no redundancy.

Very few data centers can afford to operate this way, though, because N-type essentially means that, in the event of any crash or outage, one or more of the data center’s components will stop functioning. 

The most common industry standard is N+1, which means that there is an extra unit for every four that the data center needs to operate. 

N+2 is the standard that defines a completely redundant system. In this case, there are two extra units for every four units in use. For data center clients, this doesn’t only mean increased uptime.

It also means a better performing data center altogether. This level of redundancy allows the operator to conduct extensive maintenance while the data center is still running at full capacity.

Why Should You Care about Your Data Center’s Redundancy?

The way your data center handles redundancy dictates your uptime. In turn, your uptime dictates your revenue.

The average cost of downtime is roughly $9,000 per minute. For Fortune 500 companies, the cost can be as high as $1 million per hour.

This proactive approach enhances overall system resilience, reducing the likelihood of critical failures and the subsequent impact on business operations.

Check What Tier Your Data Center Is to Know How They Tackle Redundancy

According to the ANSI/TIA-942 standard, data centers can be classified in four tiers:

  1. Tier 1: The data center has dedicated infrastructure and a 99.671% uptime. These are basic data centers, with no redundant components, thus suitable for businesses that can tolerate more frequent downtimes. 
  2. Tier 2: These data centers have redundant infrastructure and a 99.741% uptime (N+1). You will usually find all the tier 1 capabilities plus some redundancy for critical elements, like generators and cooling systems.
  3. Tier 3: Tier 3 data centers are fully fault-tolerant and have a 99.982% uptime (N+1). In this case, the equipment is connected to more than one power source and cooling equipment. Only one of these is active at a time, the others are connected just so they can take over when the first one fails. This is the perfect option for businesses that cannot tolerate downtime and that store extremely sensitive data.
  4. Tier 4: These are also fully fault-tolerant, with a 99.995% uptime (N+2). In a tier 4 data center, you can expect no more than 52.56 minutes of downtime per year because they have multiple redundancies in place.

Heartland Technology’s data center is a Tier 3 data center with Tier 4 power. If you choose to work with us, your data will always be safe and you can expect virtually no downtime.

Wrapping Things Up

There’s a popular misconception that redundancy is costly. While it can definitely cost a lot to add redundancy to your on-premise data center, if you opt for colocation, you will barely see a difference.

Since the costs of running the data center are shared among all its users, colocation becomes the future-proof and cost-effective approach to storing data. You don’t have to pay for all the spare equipment needed to ensure redundancy but you can reap all its benefits.

At the Heartland Technology data center, we take our commitment to excellence in storage solutions seriously. If your business in the Midwest is looking for a reliable data center to house mission-critical data, give us a call or pay us a visit.

We’d be happy to give you a virtual or in-person tour of our facility. You’ll learn that redundancy is just one of the many state-of-the-art features our data center has.