As traffic and demand grow, high availability becomes the need of the hour for every business.
DevOps, a combination of development and operations, typically needs several tools to support high availability and make up a highly scalable infrastructure. With the right tools, DevOps can provide continuous and high-quality delivery throughout the entire development lifecycle and ensure better availability and accessibility.
Cloud computing connects all hardware and software resources of an IT infrastructure to the cloud to make it more efficient. This is a beneficial approach for several businesses in different industries.
Without cloud power, most organizations face difficulty serving their customers and carrying out daily tasks. However, simply switching to the cloud may not give them a highly scalable infrastructure as a whole.
Certain tools or software ensure cloud services remain active with maximum uptime, even when there’s high demand. These tools are important because DevOps need stability on the cloud. A highly available infrastructure can undoubtedly be a great asset here.
What is high availability?
High availability (HA) refers to a system or component that can remain operational for long periods without interruptions or crashes. HA is generally calculated as a percentage, 100% being the highest value with zero downtime.
A hundred percent availability cannot be achieved when maintaining complex systems dependent on several instances. Organizations like Amazon and Google maintain their service availability at 99.9%, as it’s considered an excellent uptime percentage.
Every high availability software should aim to achieve at least 99.99% availability. How can it achieve such high availability? There are now several tools and precautions that ensure minimal downtime by reducing recovery time, balancing unanticipated loads, and conducting systematic maintenance. DevOps need to integrate such tools with an IT infrastructure and leverage their power to build a highly available and scalable infrastructure environment.
Why do we need high availability?
There are several reasons to aspire for highly available infrastructure.
- Reduces downtime and takes the service level agreement (SLA) to almost 100%
- Guarantees the continuity of mission-critical services at all times
- Offers high performance and data security
- Provides stability to systems that deal with critical application management on a daily basis
- Works well for websites with high traffic that cannot afford downtime
- Prevents service interruptions at critical junctures
- Ensures customer satisfaction and builds a service reputation
9 tools for DevOps to ensure high availability
The following tools address every aspect of high availability and ensure backup for highly scalable infrastructure.
1. Content Delivery Network (CDN)
A content delivery network (CDN) is a group of geographically distributed servers speeding up web content delivery. It has data centers across the globe that cache files for quicker access through a server near a physical location. You can perform internet banking, social media interactions, or e-commerce purchases without worrying about load time.
CDN provides high scaling and availability through proxy servers and data centers. Cloudflare is one such CDN that offers distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) mitigation to prevent traffic disruption from a targeted server. It exists between a web visitor and a hosting provider as a reverse proxy for websites.
Another great example of a CDN is Amazon CloudFront. It has a globally distributed network of proxy servers that locally cache content such as videos and other media to improve access speeds.
2. Load balancers and proxy
Load balancers work as a reverse proxy to distribute heavy traffic across multiple servers and ensure a highly scalable infrastructure. You can use proxies and load balancers to increase user capacity and application reliability.
HAProxy is one such fast solution that guarantees high availability through load balancing and proxying. It’s free, open-source software that acts like a proxy server for Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) based apps. Similarly, Nginx is a web server that can act as a reverse proxy, load balancer, and mail proxy.
These tools accelerate content delivery and uptime, improve security, and ensure website scalability.
3. Service discovery tools
Service discovery refers to the automatic detection of devices and their services on a network. The service discovery protocol can reduce the configuration effort for users and administrators. It also helps applications and microservices locate one another through a central server that maintains a global view of addresses and clients.
Consul is a service networking solution that automates network configurations and enables secure connectivity across the cloud. Its service mesh provides full control over service discovery and configuration. Similarly, Kubernetes or K8s automates deploying, scaling, and managing containerized applications through its open-source container-orchestration system.
4. Microservices environment
Microservices divide an application into small independent services that communicate through APIs and are owned by self-contained teams. With Docker, you can containerize your microservices and simplify how they are managed and delivered. This provides isolated workload environments for each microservice and makes them easy to scale.
Docker containers help DevOps teams to build, run, and secure applications with microservice modules that decentralize packages and divide tasks among instances.
5. Data centers
A data center is a dedicated physical space that houses computer systems and their components. It stores and shares applications and data, including switches, storage systems, servers, and routers.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a data center that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and APIs on a metered basis. You can build, deploy, and manage websites or processes on the AWS network. Another data center is Azure that helps you build, test, and manage applications through Microsoft’s data centers.
You can also opt for Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that offers cloud computing services from Google, including data management, multi-cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML). All these data centers provide reliable, flexible, and inexpensive services for highly scalable infrastructure.
6. Database systems
A database helps develop a highly scalable and available infrastructure by organizing information and storing it on a computer system. A database management system (DBMS) can define, manage, and retrieve this information from a database.
One such database system is PostgreSQL. It’s an open-source, object-relational database system emphasizing extensibility and structured query language (SQL) compliance. PostgreSQL allows you to manage considerable amounts of data and ensure maximum uptime, even during high traffic.
7. Caching systems
A cache is a high-speed data storage layer that stores a data subset locally and lets the user access it for future needs. It drastically lowers access time as you don’t have to wait to access the data’s primary location.
Redis is such an in-memory data structure store that supports various kinds of abstract data structures, like strings, maps, sets, sorted, sets, bitmaps, and so on. Another popular caching system is Memcached, a general-purpose distributed memory caching system. It speeds up dynamic database-driven websites by caching data and objects in random-access memory (RAM). Data caching systems are a great help in ensuring optimized load times and availability rates.
8. Search engines
Enterprise search makes content from multiple enterprise-type sources (databases and intranets) searchable for a specific audience. Tools like Apache Solr and Elasticsearch make searching easy and provide distributed search and index replication.
Solr, a standalone full-text search server, is designed for scalability and fault tolerance in infrastructured with high availability. It’s generally used for analytics and is regularly updated by an active development community. Its primary features are full-text distributed search, real-time indexing, automatic failover, query DSL, geo search, and horizontal scaling.
Another great search engine is Elasticsearch. It’s based on the Lucene library and provides a distributed, multi-tenant full-text search engine with an HTTP web interface and schema-free JSON documents. This analytics solution emphasizes speed, scale, and relevance in data searching environments.
9) Monitoring tools
Monitoring tools or observability solutions track the status of mission-critical IT applications, infrastructures, networks, and websites. They can quickly detect problems and alert the developers to resolve any issues. These tools enable maximum uptime and give customers round-the-clock access.
One such monitoring tool is Sensu. It’s an open-source infrastructure that acts as an application monitoring solution for servers, applications, and service health. It also sends alerts and notifications through third-party integration. Sensu uses Redis or RabbitMQ to manage messages and store data.
Monitoring tools eliminate data silos, automate diagnosis and self-healing, and make environments highly available and scalable to manage high demand and traffic.
Build a highly scalable ecosystem with the right tool
Without crashes or downtimes, a highly scalable ecosystem can handle a drastic increase in workload, transactions, or users. It’s imperative to use certain tools that efficiently support your infrastructure and expand your services and availability.
Middleware helps you achieve this with a no-code autonomous infrastructure to scale cloud applications. You can deploy tools like a predictive auto scaler powered by AI/ML technology to predict resource requirements and anticipate downtimes to reduce risks and maximize availability.
Middleware is a cost-effective solution and can help you save up to 60% of your organization’s cloud budget. Know how!