The Olympic Games and Server Downtime
What’s the Biggest Challenge that Businesses in London Will Face During the Olympic Games (Besides Getting Employees to Pay Attention)?
Anyone that has a business or doing business in London, whose cash flow relies heavily on Internet transactions, is going to have their own challenging event this summer, which will be to operate without their servers going down. In fact, this is such a serious issue that the government has even gone so far as to send out warnings to local businesses that they could lose their Internet connection between July 27 and August 12.
Why is Server Downtime a Big Issue Now, But Not in Past Games?
Over 11 million tickets have already been sold for the Games, more than 10,000 athletes will be competing, two million people will visit London during the Olympics, and there will be thousands of world news and sports media in attendance. But the major thing this time around is the massive amount of smartphones, tablets and laptops that will be churning data and the explosion of social media that will have posts, pictures and videos being sent out over Facebook and Twitter at all hours of the day. This will bring London well over and above the massive data volumes already generated daily by local residents and businesses.
What Can These Businesses Do to Avoid Server Downtime During These Three Weeks?
Quite simply, plan! Here are a few specific things that can be done between now and July 27th:
Follow the example of the U.K. emergency services: The U.K. police, fire and ambulance services completed a two-day systems test earlier this year. If you have a disaster recovery plan, now is a good time to test it to make sure it will work. If you don’t have a DR plan, well, good luck.
Get in contact with your telecom service provider: Be very straightforward with them and ask what they are doing to ensure adequate network capacity, response time and back-up. At the same time, re-evaluate your own capacity, back-ups and vendor quality-of- service commitments.
Hasten your virtualization strategy: This is especially important for companies that involve geographically dispersed sites, or remote or branch office implementations. The farther away from London proper you are, the less impact you may experience.
Look at Amazon as a case study: Remember when thousands of Amazon Web Service customers when dark for four days last April? Amazon blamed them for their lack of foresight. If only they had spent more money spreading risk among more Amazon “availability zones” the outage probably would not have hurt as much. If you use the cloud, know with absolute certainty how extended downtime will affect you, and if better options are open to you. Don’t assume you are safe.