There is often confusion between failover vs disaster recovery. Both are critical to ensuring high availability of your services. But in the event of system failure, the two concepts serve very different purposes.
Before discussing failover vs. disaster recovery, it’s important to address the concept of downtime. Downtime is 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 need high availability.
With that in mind, we explore the differences between failover and disaster recovery. Further, we review 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 connection. It involves having systems and networks that you can easily switch to if the main system or server fails or is unexpectedly terminated. The standby machine(s) can be in the same location as the primary system. Or, they may be off-site, depending on your company's data center design. 
Failover ensures your services keep running if there are hardware or infrastructural failures. Effective failover solutions can prevent your business from losing revenue. They can also help to cut service disruptions for end users. 


What Is Automatic Failover?

Automatic failover consists of automatically moving data or applications to the standby server if the primary system fails. The alternative is a passive system where the process happens manually. Most failover processes operate automatically to reduce downtime.


What Is Disaster Recovery?

Diagram of disaster recovery(Image Source)

Disaster recovery referrs to the procedures an organization follows to recover its IT infrastructure after system failure.
A strong disaster recovery plan consists of many disaster recovery methods such as:

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 we recommend that all businesses put in place both a disaster recovery plan and a failover system.
As a first step, failovers are a good place to start. Failover will ensure continuity in the event 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 100s of products to choose from when setting up your failover architecture. Novotech offers many routers and gateways to help you get started. Let's work together to build a seamless, cost-effective failover solution for your business.

For advice on what router to use for failover, please review our "Best Failover Routers" article.