There is often confusion between failover vs disaster recovery. While both are critical to ensuring high availability of your services in the event of system failure, the two are distinct entities that serve different purposes.

Before discussing failover vs. disaster recovery, it’s important to address the concept of downtime. Downtime refers to the duration of time a particular system or network is unavailable. Large downtimes can severely impact revenue and customer satisfaction, especially if your company provides services that require extremely high availability.

With that in mind, let’s explore the differences between failover and disaster recovery, and how both tools can help your business reduce downtime in the event of a system outage. 


What Is Failover?

Failover vs disaster recovery by Novotech(Image Source)

In short, failover is your backup. Failover solutions involve having standby systems and networks that you can easily switch to if the main system or server fails or is unexpectedly terminated. The standby machine can be in the same location as the primary system or a different one, depending on your company's data center design. 

Failover ensures the continued availability of your services in the event of hardware or infrastructural failures. Effective failover solutions can prevent your business from losing revenue and help to minimize service disruptions for end users. 


What Is Automatic Failover?

Automatic failover consists of automatically moving data or applications to the standby server in the event of primary system failure — as opposed to carrying out the process manually. Most failover processes are configured to operate automatically in order to minimize downtime.


What Is Disaster Recovery?

Diagram of disaster recovery(Image Source)

Disaster recovery refers to the set of procedures an organization follows to recover its IT infrastructure after massive system failure caused by a natural or human-induced disaster.

A strong disaster recovery plan will consist of multiple disaster recovery methods such as cold sites and hot sites, disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), data backup, and virtualization, among others.


What's the Difference Between Failover and Disaster Recovery?

Like failover, disaster recovery is a critical component of ensuring high availability and business continuity. However:

  • Failover is more relevant for every day small-scale machine or network failures. A failover system can be in the same location as the previously active system.
  • Disaster recovery addresses large scale infrastructural damage. Back up systems for disaster recovery often have to be set up in a different geographic location from the primary system.

What Does My Business Need?

To maximize your uptime and ensure your business stays protected amidst IT infrastructure failures, it’s strongly recommended that all businesses implement both a disaster recovery plan and a failover system. However, as a first step, failovers are often more practical to ensure high availability and continuity in the event of smaller system or machine outages. Failover solutions also tend to be more flexible, so you can more easily adapt one to fit your company’s needs.

There are hundreds of products to choose from when setting up your failover architecture. Novotech offers a number of routers and gateways to help you get started. Let's work together to build a seamless, cost-effective failover solution for your business.