Author | Andrew Mahy

Minimising Data Centre Downtime with IBM Sterling Global Mailbox

“Data centre downtime” is a phrase that strikes fear in the hearts of any organisation, as it represents the potential for significant disruptions to critical systems and operations. It can have a major impact beyond the business community, including public services, emergency response, and critical infrastructure.

Despite the best efforts of IT professionals to maintain these systems, data centre downtime can occur because of a variety of factors:

Data centre downtime can result in a significant loss of revenue, not only from interrupted operations but also from additional expenses such as emergency repairs and customer support, coupled with the costly disruption to supply chain partners. In addition, it can tarnish a company’s reputation and result in a loss of customers. The consequences can be dire in certain industries, such as finance or healthcare, where downtime can pose life-threatening risks, compromising patient care and safety.

While the cost of downtime may vary depending on the size and nature of a business, the effects of being unable to access essential applications extend far beyond financial losses.

Strategies for Avoiding Downtime and Ensuring Continuous Operations

It is important for all organisations to invest in solutions and strategies to reduce the risk of downtime and ensure they can quickly rebound from any disruptions that may occur. To overcome the challenge of downtime, many organisations aim to achieve always-on, high-availability operations by implementing redundancy measures. This means that critical systems and applications are backed up with redundant hardware and software, ensuring that if one system fails, another can take over seamlessly, minimising or eliminating any disruption to operations.

The goal is to have a highly available infrastructure that can provide continuous access to critical applications and data, even in the event of an unexpected outage.

To ensure high-availability operations and redundancy, businesses commonly use approaches such as a database-driven strategy that leverages the disaster recovery capabilities of a database vendor or operating at a third-party hot site by transferring copies of the latest backup. However, these approaches can still result in occasional downtime, as well as recovery latency, and increased costs.

Alternatives to Traditional Downtime Prevention Methods

An alternative is to implement a Global Mailbox, which can provide always-on, reliable operations and redundancy. With a centralised platform for managing and processing data across multiple host sites, a Global Mailbox can help businesses achieve high availability operations and replication.

A Global Mailbox is a single platform that provides a resilient solution for managing and processing data across multiple server locations.

Data is automatically routed to the nearest server location based on the user’s location, ensuring fast access, and real-time data replication using triggers to ensure consistency and minimising the risk of data loss. A Global Mailbox is instantly accessible to trading partners and eliminates the demand for managing multiple connections or configuring systems. Utilising geographically dispersed locations and data replication features, vital business data and documents can be shared promptly. Ultimately, a Global Mailbox can establish a more reliable data infrastructure and minimise the risk of downtime and associated costs.

Differences in Global Mailbox Solutions: Not All Are Created Equal

While there are a few Global Mailbox offerings available in the market, they each have their own drawbacks. One common issue is that some rely on a single data centre, which makes them vulnerable to downtime and reduces their redundancy. Some solutions may not provide the same disaster recovery capabilities, while others may have limitations on data storage and transfer, potentially affecting performance and usability. Another important drawback is the level of customisation and control that companies have over their email infrastructure. Most solutions are restrictive in terms of configurations and integrations.

IBM Sterling Global Mailbox, on the other hand, offers a solution to these common issues. It is not reliant on a single data centre, providing greater redundancy and resilience. Additionally, IBM offers tailored plans based on an organisation’s specific needs, including additional storage and data transfer capacity. Companies using IBM’s Global Mailbox can enjoy greater customisation and control over their email infrastructure, avoiding potential restrictions on configurations and integrations. This makes the IBM Sterling Global Mailbox a highly attractive option for businesses seeking a flexible and resilient Global Mailbox solution.

IBM Sterling Global Mailbox’s all-inclusive solution addresses data centre downtime challenges by implementing private mailboxes, load balancing among data centres, and regular replication for disaster recovery.

Enhancing B2B Integration Processes with IBM Sterling Global Mailbox

IBM Sterling’s Global Mailbox leverages the functionality of other IBM Sterling B2B Collaboration portfolio architectures and technologies to provide a reliable, high-availability solution across multiple server locations. With quick deployment and seamless integration into existing processes, it enables businesses to achieve greater value from their current investments while extending the capabilities of their B2B integrator and File Gateway. The add-on solution also enhances data management and B2B integration processes, enabling organisations to evaluate system performance through the IBM Sterling Control Centre.

With IBM Sterling’s Global Mailbox solution, companies can establish a dependable, centralised data management platform that ensures a smooth experience for employees, customers, and suppliers.

This advanced functionality, which is an integral part of IBM B2B Integrator, includes a managed file transfer solution that addresses potential gaps caused by the requirement for both the sender and receiver’s B2B platforms to be available. The IBM Sterling Global Mailbox is crafted to seamlessly integrate with the IBM B2B Integrator, effectively bridging the availability gap by offering a reliable data management solution for both sender and receiver platforms. This ensures that both ends are operating simultaneously in a highly available manner for point-to-point file transfers, such as EDI transactions. Besides facilitating efficient data exchange between organisations and their trading partners, the IBM Sterling Global Mailbox also provides always-on, reliable operations, enhanced redundancy, and cost-effective disaster recovery solutions, improving the overall efficiency, reliability, and performance of B2B integration processes.

How IBM Sterling Global Mailbox provides always-on, reliable operations and replication

To achieve all the above, the Global Mailbox system typically includes separate independent B2Bi clusters and databases in each data centre, as well as smart load balancers that can detect failures and redirect traffic accordingly. One important consideration is the type of replication used by the Global Mailbox system, as this can impact both performance and data consistency.

Companies can choose between immediate (synchronous) or delayed (asynchronous) replication, depending on their needs and priorities.

  • Immediate replication ensures data consistency across all data centres but can affect performance.
  • Delayed replication offers faster response times but can lead to inconsistent data across different centres.
Organisations should carefully evaluate their requirements and priorities to select the most suitable replication type. Failure to do so could result in compromised data consistency or degraded performance.

It is important to note that implementing a Global Mailbox system requires careful planning and expertise as the exact configuration, management and maintenance of the system varies depending on the specific needs of your business. 

Earlier in this article, we showed the various problems that can cause data centre downtime. Now, let us revisit those issues and explore how a Global Mailbox effectively addresses and counteracts each of them: 

In summary, IBM Sterling Global Mailbox offers a holistic solution that not only addresses data centre downtime challenges but also revolutionises your organisation’s data management and B2B integration processes.

By leveraging the advanced features of IBM Sterling Global Mailbox, you can eliminate downtime challenges and achieve a high-availability infrastructure, leading to a seamless experience for all stakeholders. By partnering with Coliance, you can unlock the full potential of IBM Sterling Global Mailbox, customised to fit your organisation’s unique needs. Our expert team can guide you through the implementation process, ensuring a smooth transition and maximising the benefits of this innovative solution. Don’t let data centre downtime hold your organisation back – contact Coliance today to learn more about how we can help your business thrive in an increasingly interconnected and fast-paced digital landscape.