Understanding Availability


Business-critical applications such as corporate e-mail must often reside on systems and network structures that are designed for high availability. Understanding high availability concepts and practices can help you minimize downtime in your messaging environment. Moreover, using sound information technology (IT) practices and fault tolerant hardware solutions in your organization can increase both availability and scalability.

A highly available system reliably provides an acceptable level of service with minimal downtime. Downtime penalizes businesses, which can experience reduced productivity, lost sales, and reduced confidence from users, partners, and customers. By implementing recommended IT practices, you can increase the availability of key services, applications, and servers. These practices also help you minimize both planned downtime (such as maintenance tasks or service pack installations) and unplanned downtime (such as server failure).

High Availability Planning Process

To aid in this planning, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the Microsoft Operations Framework (MOF). MOF is a collection of best practices, principles, and models that provide you with operations guidance. Adopting MOF practices provides greater organization and contributes to regular communication among your IT department, end users, and other integral departments in your company. For specific information about MOF, see the MOF Web site.

In addition, the Solution Accelerator for Microsoft Systems Architecture (MSA) Enterprise Messaging provides referential and implementation guidance to enable a customer or solution provider to adequately plan, build, deploy, and operate a Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003 messaging system that is secure, available, reliable, manageable, and cost effective. For specific information about Solution Accelerator for MSA Enterprise Messaging, see the Solution Accelerator for MSA Enterprise Messaging Web site.