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What is Network Redundancy?

by: Hostwinds Team  /  February 8, 2020

You know what they say: "Hope for the best, prepare for the worst." This expression perfectly illustrates the reason hosting companies like Hostwinds employ network redundancy. Upon the first view, the term 'network redundancy' seems a bit complex. That is a fair assessment, as network redundancy is incredibly intricate. 'Redundant' aptly describes this method because it is doing more than what is required – much more, technically.

Hostwinds' fully redundant network, for instance, involves numerous components. Seeing as Hostwinds' hosting services must be available and running strong 24/7/365 for our clients, we have taken scrupulous measures to ensure our network performs flawlessly around the clock. We do this by setting up many redundancies for our network, equipment, power supplies, hardware, and network components.

See, being redundant isn't always bad! We'll show you why. This blog post will cover just a tiny portion of that which is required to implement network redundancy.

What is a Redundant Network?

Network redundancy is a method for preventing network outages. To be more specific, maintaining a redundant network requires installing exact replicas of various network components to ensure that the backup can take its place seamlessly should an initial network component fail. You can keep a network up and running 24/7/365 if you have created a duplicate of each of its components because if the network goes down, all you have to do is switch over to the duplicate.

Managing a fully redundant network includes ensuring that it's re-routed right away if a connection is lost. Alternate paths are on standby round the clock in case the connection needs to be re-routed through them, so ultimately no connectivity is ever lost.

Life Hack Pertaining to Network Redundancy: If you have a backup plan for all theoretical issues, you'll never have problems! That sums up the utility of taking the time to set up a completely redundant network right there.

Think About it This Way: It is a 'redundant network because the best-case scenario is that your network will never have downtime. Therefore, the best-case scenario is having redundant (AKA more than what is required for the network to function correctly) backup copies of all components comprising your network.

To Sum Up: The best-case scenario is having backup copies of never-used components, rendering them redundant.

What is the Ideal Result of Network Redundancy?

Sure, the ideal result is never experiencing downtime, so your clients don't have a single clue if a network issue comes up. Notwithstanding, in a perfect situation, you simultaneously want to keep the complexity of the process to a minimum, so things don't get super complicated. Why? When things get too complex, it can be easier for errors to arise. It also makes it harder to troubleshoot issues. The balance is between redundancy and complexity paramount.

What is Automatic Network Failover?

Automatic failover means smoothly and instantly swapping out a prepared backup for a piece of hardware or infrastructure, so a network doesn't experience downtime.

In other words, failover is a backup measure set up, so a network, system, server, etc., don't go down, as backups are in place at every step of the way. Automation is set up in cases like these, so a backup on standby automatically jumps in when a network component fails. Automatic failover makes network availability a definite.

If you would prefer to view details regarding Hostwinds' automatic network failover procedures as mentioned in our site's 'Enterprise Redundant Network' page, have at it:

"We use several automatic failover resolutions for everything from upstream provider re-routing to redundant switches and redundant core network routers."

Hence why Hostwinds is always on top of "Resolving pathway failures instantly with automatic re-routing."

READ MORE: Hostwinds' Enterprise Redundant Network

What is a Tier 1 Network Provider?

Tier 1 Network Providers, also known as Tier 1 Carriers, own their networks entirely and transfer network connections to data centers. Tier 1 providers have a massive infrastructure and a wide-ranging area of internet coverage.

Hostwinds works with the following Tier 1 Network Providers:

1. Zayo

2. GTT Communications

3. Cogent Communications

4. Level (3) Communications

5. NTT Communications

These network providers are next to none but don't take our word for it. There are plenty of online resources detailing how each carrier goes above and beyond to ensure companies like Hostwinds receive solid and reliable network connections.

In addition to collaborating with multiple Tier 1 Carries, Hostwinds also employs N+1 redundancy to keep our network in tip-top shape.

What is N+1 Redundancy?

Let's break this one up:

'N' means 'Number' AKA 'the number of elements you need for your network to function.'

'+1' stands for 'plus one more component that is stored as a reliable backup.' The '1' refers to an additional independent element added to the network for the sole purpose of being a ready backup in case another component fails.

Thus, N+1 redundancy means that all the network's components are all set up. On top of that, one additional backup component is installed in the network's infrastructure just in case something goes awry. In that case, the backup would take the place of the failed component so the network would continue to perform impeccably.

To accompany our N+1 redundancy, we've also set up A+B power sources in our data centers.

What is A+B Redundant Power?

A + B Power entails sending power to a server board using two buses. If one of the power connections hooked up to a bus fails, the other circuit automatically generates power, ensuring the power never goes out entirely.

The list of measures taken to increase redundancy for the Hostwinds network goes on and on, folks.

Exhibit A: Hostwinds has redundant hardware too! If a core router fails (which is highly, highly unlikely because our technicians regularly monitor them), there would be no problem at all, as the failover would automatically take effect.

What is Hardware Redundancy?

This refers to multiple hardware devices set up, one running, the other as a backup. Hostwinds has prepared backup hardware to ensure our infrastructure is always safe and sound even if a piece of hardware acts up. We have, for instance, redundant hard drives put in place within our network infrastructure.

To piggyback on all the information just mentioned, "Multiple layers of redundancy are built-in at every level to guarantee higher uptime and increased reliability. We have taken special care to build numerous fail-safes to ensure that in the event of a failure, your service remains accessible. Our servers are connected with two access switches, and all switches are connected to multiple core routers. All of our equipment has redundant power supplies, and separate power feeds."

To piggyback on that quote from our site's 'Enterprise Redundant Network' page, another section from that same page:

"We value our clients, so we provide them with only the best by using enterprise-grade equipment to manage our network. We house our servers in the most secure and advanced facilities and offer multiple locations so our clients can enjoy the lowest latency."

To piggyback on that quote, the concluding paragraphs for this blog post:

Hostwinds' Redundant network & 99.9999% Uptime Guarantee

In conclusion, our redundant network is how we can do what we do best: offer tremendously fast and dependable hosting 24/7/365 to clients around the globe. Hostwinds guarantees 99.9999% uptime because of the various levels of redundancy we've set up.

If you don't believe us, here is a short excerpt from our website's 'Commitment to Uptime' page:

"Hostwinds continuously monitors all aspects of our infrastructure and employs complete redundancy at every level. All this ensures that your service is always available. Rest assured your site will be ready to greet any visitor at any time as a result of our 99.9999% guarantee."

If you would like to review more information about Hostwinds' 99.9999% Uptime Guarantee, please feel welcome to click the link below!

READ MORE: Hostwinds' Commitment to Uptime

Signing Off With a Redundant Statement From the Hostwinds Team: We are thankful to provide our wonderful and fantastic clients worldwide with hosting. We are thankful and grateful that you took the time to read and browse through this blog post.

Have a wonderful and fantastic week, dear friends!

Written by Hostwinds Team  /  February 8, 2020