I recently reconnected with the boss of a clinic. He told me he uses two software applications on his server, which has been running for the past 6 to 7 years. He does not engage an IT person for his clinic and he cannot imagine the amount of work he needs to do if the server suddenly crashes due to hardware failure:
- reschedule all patients!
- call vendor A and vendor B for help
- purchase a new server! How? Technical jargons (e.g. RAID 1). What are the minimum specs required by the vendors? What's worse than one crashed server? A brand new server that is not suitable for deployment!
- call vendors again to work out specs; too much work; choose simplest approach - get the same server.
- manufacturer says server end of shelf life, no longer in stock! Call vendors again to rework specs.
- more coordination work; time is not on his side...
Indeed, that is really a stressful situation to be in. It could easily take a week (usually more) to get things back running again.
I am glad he decided to do something about it when things are fine. Here's what I did for him:
- devise a disaster recovery plan based on his budget
- purchase and set up a new server
- coordinate with the vendors to install their software
- perform a planned failover test
- conduct training, complete with documentation, for his staff
Now he is using his old server as a backup and his staff is able to resume 80% of the operations within 20 minutes if something happens to the new server.
After the project was completed, I found out that just weeks before he contacted me, one of his old PCs had crashed. It affected his business slightly while it was down for 2 weeks. Fortunately, it was not the server but that was the trigger for him.
Have a recovery plan in place to reduce downtime.