What is Geo-Redundancy and Why Is It so Important in UCaaS?

Downtime—it’s the big, ugly word that no MSP or telecom reseller wants to hear. When you’re operating in the UCaaS industry, downtime should be measured in seconds because every minute of downtime will threaten the success of your business.

 

To prevent this, a strong geo-redundant network is essential. However, when you’re out comparing different UCaaS providers, you’ll quickly realize that most say they have a geo-redundant network when in reality, their network doesn’t provide a true solution for failover and customers still see hours of downtime. Sometimes this downtime can even extend in day-long periods. Watch the video below to hear how Dan Napolitano, CEO at Highbridge Communications, experienced multiple outages with a provider and was left in the dark.

 

If you’re ready to learn about geo-redundancy and how to determine whether a provider actually has a strong geo-redundant network, read on.

What is Geo-Redundancy?

As a UCaaS provider, data and service that is always available is essential to maintaining and increasing your clientele. Geo-redundancy refers to the physical separation of data centers that span multiple geographic locations.

The reasoning behind building out a large, geographical network, is that it provides resiliency against natural disasters, catastrophic events or glitches that cause network outages. By physically separating servers in geographically diverse data centers, you can ensure that even if one center goes down, data and service can failover and utilize another operational data center.

Not All Geo-Redundant Networks Are Created Equal

Just because a provider says that they have a geo-redundant network, it doesn’t mean that their system is actually built to minimize downtime as promised.

There are two main, commonly used strategies for geo-redundant networks: distributed systems and hot standbys.

Related Blog Post: UCaaS Redundancy: Active-Active vs. Active-Spare

Redundant Hot Standby Method

If you’re questioning your provider about how the redundancy of their platform works and you realize that they’re utilizing a hot standby method, you probably want to consider other providers. This is because the hot standby method isn’t ideal for true geo-redundancy.  

Carriers that implement a hot standby method begin by selecting a Switch and then implement that into a Data Center. In order to ensure backup of data in case of a natural disaster or accident, call traffic is redirected to a backup system – in this instance, the backup system is known as a Hot Standby. The Host Standby is an exact copy of the original softswitch.


The next detail really tells all. If the carrier is taking a proactive approach, that hot standby will be installed in a second datacenter. However, most carriers do not, resulting in a single point of failure if that data center goes down. So that means if the interconnect goes down, the connection to the data center is disabled and boots customers offline.

Geo-Redundant Distributed Systems Method

The distributed systems method tackles the core issue of the hot standby method by implementing multiple data centers that simultaneously run with the same functionality. So in the same scenario, if a user’s primary data center goes down, the service that is normally tied to that center will connect to a secondary data center.

For example, with SkySwitch’s geo-redundant network, any phone can utilize service from any of our three data centers. All SIP clients are provisioned with a primary and secondary data center (although all SIP clients can actually utilize the third data center if needed – nothing prohibits that).

If you dig deeper into how we’ve built redundancy into our platform, you’ll see that there are multiple power supplies, diverse IP connectivities and diverse geo-location – all to ensure that you have leading-class service uptime.

If you’d like to learn more about the physical and software architecture we’ve built into our platform, watch the video below that concisely encapsulates why SkySwitch resellers all back up our 99.99% uptime guarantee: