Redundancy is one of those necessary evils. It’s necessary in the modern world for not-so-uncommon scenarios of unplanned, and often unavoidable circumstances. For example, I’ve been waiting for my new DSLR camera from Nikon for two years and counting. But there were tragic natural and unnatural disasters in Japan (tsunami and nuclear meltdown). Among countless bigger issues, it halted development, production and delivery of my camera to my home in Boston (yes, I got off easy). Nikon then turned to its backup plan… Thailand. Then, catastrophic floods dealt another major blow to my 36.3MP camera. (Before sending me hate mail… I know that the losses, expenses, and recovery related to these disasters are beyond comprehension or calculation). In our global economy, disasters anywhere can affect people everywhere. And this is why redundancy is more necessary than ever.
However, redundancy is evil because it feels duplicative, wasteful, and often, there is no payoff… like insurance. So what can businesses do to protect themselves from disasters while reducing the expense and effort that gets passed down to customers in the form of higher prices?
One example is within the huge and growing world of data centers and pubic cloud services. Two seemingly competing companies, which are both participating members of the Cloud Commons Ecosystem, have partnered in a true win-win-win scenario. One, StratITsphere is in Houston, and the other, ScaleMatrix, is in California. Both have robust data centers that provide cloud services and infrastructure to business customers. Instead of each of them having to develop independent (and possibly inferior) secondary plans for disasters, they have chosen to cross-leverage the world-class facilities that they have already created. ScaleMatirix will act as the backup for StratITsphere and vice versa. They’re accomplishing this by investing in a 10Gbps transport ring between the two centers. In addition, each company will set up dedicated, secured equipment in the other’s facility.
Instead of massive investments that would be passed down to end user customers as costs, ScaleMatrix and StratITsphere gain competitive advantages in their regions and retain the ability to keep customers satisfied. This type of collaboration is achieved through open-mindedness and partnerships that develop through participation in industry ecosystems such as the Cloud Commons Ecosystem. This is a prime example of how redundancy is necessary, but not evil. There is huge potential in online communities and industry ecosystems to stimulate win-win-win scenarios such as this. I look forward to more success stories from those who are willing to tip their hands and talk about their problems with the people who understand them best.