The purpose of this paper is to offer an increased understanding of the market segment and technical forces shaping this important facet of the industry. It will cover the basics of availability, including how it is measured; the most common causes for downtime and best-known methods to avoid them; the difference between network, system, and component availability; and the concept of failure groups and redundancy. It will also introduce the eight most common and most economic high availability architectures and provide insight into the pros and cons of each.
The concept of "High Availability Economics" is introduced to offer a greater understanding of the techniques and science behind determining the cost of availability for each of these architectures. This paper concludes by proposing the "10 Theorems of Availability" that every designer should keep in mind when selecting COTS components and architecting a highly available, yet cost effective telecommunications system.
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