The moderated business community for business intelligence, predictive analytics, and data professionals. Like a finely tuned symphony, the success of complex contact center operations depends upon the flawless performance of many moving parts – from the way calls are routed through your ACD, to the way each agent interacts with your customers.
As reaching out to the contact center becomes a last resort for customers, the stakes grow higher. Disaster recovery planning involves many facets of your business, only a few of which have been presented in this series.
With Hurricane Irene still fresh in our minds, it’s time to continue my series on disaster recovery for the contact center. Since the topic of disaster recovery seems to resonate with many of you I am extending the series. Using server virtualization for the infrastructure of the second data center allows the physical servers in the second data center to be used for other functions (such as development or other less critical applications) until needed for your contact center applications. When deployed in a data center, the majority of traffic flows in a multi-tier application are inter-server.
For VLANs having their Layer 3 termination on the SVI interfaces of Data Center Aggregation Switches, Hot Standby router Protocol (HSRP) will be configured as first hop redundancy protocol (FHRP). In the large pod VMDC design, the access and aggregation layer functionality are combined into one layer as opposed to a three tier data center architecture which provides segmentation and scale. Without the right tools and functionality, the contact center is at a distinct disadvantage in addressing customer issues. The tornado that hit Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011, reinforced the need for thorough disaster planning and recovery, and contact center operations are a critical function in such situations. Using more work from home agents reduces the percentage of the agent population impacted by a disaster event.
In the data center, pod-based architectures provide predictable resource pools, power, and space consumption. VRF-Lite completely isolates L2 and L3 control and forwarding planes of each tenant, allowing the flexibility in defining an optimum network topology for each tenant.
Cloud data centers offer IaaS to either internal Enterprise customers or external customers of Service Providers. This architecture provides multiple forwarding paths for data traffic, enables load balancing, and reduces the number of STP instances required to support a large number of VLANs.
Cisco NSF with SSO allows a router or switch, which has experienced a hardware or software failure of an active RP or SUP, to maintain data link layer connections and continues forwarding packets during the switchover to the standby RP or SUP. When one data center becomes unavailable, all the telephony resources can be devoted to the remaining data center.
Different vNICs with unique MAC addresses are required for each VM data and management networks, as well as NICs on the ESX host itself. Fortunately, a recent disaster recovery project had been completed, preserving critical applications and patient records in another data center 250 miles from Joplin. After a loss of the main data center, the backup of the contact center application must be brought online at the second data center. Depending on the number of data centers feeding the edge layer, the BGP peering is accordingly distributed.
Routing information is recovered dynamically in the background, while packet forwarding proceeds uninterrupted. RAID 1 and 5 were deployed in this particular instance as two more commonly used levels; however the selection of a RAID protection level will depend on a balancing of cost versus the critical nature of the data that is stored.
Hospital services were restored within a week, in part through a temporary facility in Joplin and access to patient information in the remote data center.
Many possible variations exist for using the pod concepts to scale the data center topology.
In this discussion, the access-layer switch pair, storage, and compute resources are in the data center pod (Figure 3-1).
The concepts of disaster recovery may have a technical nature, but aren’t as complex as one may believe.The recovery time objective, or RTO, is the maximum desired length of time between an unexpected failure or disaster and the resumption of normal operations and service levels.
The RTO defines the length of time that is allowed to pass between system failure and repair before the consequences of the service interruption become unacceptable.The recovery point objective, or RPO, is the maximum amount of data allowed to be lost, measured in time. It refers to the age of the files or data in backup storage required to resume normal operations if a computer system or network failure occurs.
If you have an RPO of 30 minutes, system backups must be performed every half hour to keep the data current.Failovers are designed to allow the system to seamlessly switch to a backup. If you’re maintaining a data center, maintain an off-site failover device to monitor your system health and reroute traffic in real-time, to another data center if your data center experiences failure.ConclusionIn the end, businesses are far safer implementing disaster recovery plans in their operations.
Area back by several centuries noticed is $30-$40 basis, which indicates the percentage of sufferers who.
Just like you, I choose where to live, a company chooses where to locate their data center with some emphasis placed on the odds of a natural disaster occurring. Inevitably data centers will be built in locations that seasonally face the wrath of mother nature and because of this disaster recovery plans (DRP) – sometimes referred to as a business continuity plans (BCP) or business process contingency plans (BPCP) – have to be put in place, in order for organizations to have a plan describing how to deal with potential disasters.
Just as a disaster is an event that makes the continuation of normal functions impossible, a disaster recovery plan consists of the precautions taken so that the effects of a disaster will be minimized and the organization will be able to either maintain or quickly resume mission-critical functions. These sites are suitable for applications and services which are very critical in nature and cannot risk any downtime during a disaster.


Cold DR sites have offsite backup to main datacenter servers and services and in the chance of disaster, backup will be restored on newly acquired and installed servers.
Those with on-premises infrastructure will often invest in additional disaster-recovery tools, such as remote backups, archives, etc.
A detailed disaster recovery plan, which is practiced on a regular basis, will limit the interruption to your business when you have to deal with a real disruption.
We’ve talked in-depth before about how high availability is virtually synonymous with disaster recovery from an operational perspective, as well as a customer experience perspective. In a given year, businesses may be susceptible to the impact of natural disasters or other events that threaten their operations.
In most contact centers, the primary communication channel for contact transactions is voice. The answers to these questions should enable you to assess the importance of your contact center operations and apply a cost-benefit analysis to the various disaster recovery solutions. Likewise, using the cloud for this second data center is another low-cost deployment option, as the pay-as-you-use cloud model would only be employed should the main data center be inaccessible.
A data center based on a large pod design can provide a minimum of 256 tenants and a range of workloads from 8,192 and up, depending on workload type. In a VMDC environment, tenants are separated with VRFs and VLANs, and multi-tenant virtual cloud architecture requires large numbers of VLANs and VRF instances compared to a traditional data center deployment model. Experts from Miercom and Aspect will share their insights on meeting evolving customer expectations, with advice to help you limit or eliminate the experience of downtime for customers interacting with your contact center.
While part 1 focused on a couple of high-level deployment options for disaster recovery solutions, part 2 concentrates on the location of telephony infrastructure.
Therefore, the data center design must ensure that a single failure either in hardware or software in the infrastructure does not affect the cloud subscribers' service. These notifications are sent to the Cisco UCS 6100 Series Fabric Interconnect, which updates its MAC address tables and sends gratuitous ARP messages on the uplink ports so the data center access layer network can learn the new path. John’s Regional Medical Center, with buildings completely destroyed in the event, needed to resume services to patients as quickly as possible. As a result, control plane scalability is a key factor in determining the number of VRFs (or tenants) that can be supported using large pod growth. As no customer can build resources at infinite scale, the optimal and cost-effective solution adds resource pools to existing data centers based on projected usage without disrupting the existing network. Typically, an 8:1 over-subscription ratio is considered while performing network capacity planning.
The resource container concept, called pod, achieves elasticity, simplifies capacity planning, and does not disrupt the existing environment. Similarly, depending on the number of pods feeding a data-center core layer, the scale of BGP peering decreases as we descend the layers. Nevertheless, we recommend enabling STP to prevent any configuration errors and using MEC or vPC port-channeling techniques on the links connect to the Core and Data Center Services layer devices.
It will outline several disaster scenarios, define the detailed responses to each while aiming to keep impact to a minimum. It ensures synchronization of data and backups across distributed infrastructure to keep your business continually running smoothly in the event of hard drive failure, or any other number of IT disasters. And just like you and I, these companies may choose, or be forced, to build or relocate somewhere that has a higher likelihood for disaster. Typically, disaster recovery planning involves an analysis of business processes and continuity needs; it may also include a significant focus on disaster prevention, even data center migration.
Only some applications are considered for Disaster Recovery due to cost constraints or application dependency. However, for small businesses, disaster recovery may be deemed costly or an unnecessary expense.Disaster recovery is an important aspect of business continuity. On March 27, experts from Aspect and Miercom will be hosting an informational webinar on High Availability for the Contact Center: Ensuring Customer Service Continuity to share their insights on meeting evolving customer expectations, with advice to help you limit or eliminate the experience of downtime for customers interacting with your contact center.
Aspect has long understood the importance of business continuity to contact center operations, and our commitment to providing dependable solutions informs every phase of our development process. In figure 2, the telephony infrastructure resides in one or more locations separate from the data centers. While agents and contacts are processed through a main data center, a second data center contains the infrastructure necessary to run the contact center application should the main data center become unavailable. In this design, two or more data centers actively process a subset of the agent and contact transactions. To build an end-to-end resilient design, hardware redundancy is the first layer of protection that provides rapid recovery from failures. Tools such as VMware's Site Recovery Manager, coupled with Cisco's Global Site Selection for DNS redirection and synchronous or asynchronous data store replication solutions such as EMC's SRDF may be used to create automated recovery plans for critical groups of VMs. Consequently, understanding how the location of the devices in the telephony infrastructure contributes to business continuity for the contact center is crucial.
Careful consideration is required when an aggressive implementation of HSRP timers are required because this may affect control plane stability.
This installment focuses on the use of multiple data centers, typically located hundreds of miles from each other.
Specifically, you use Bridge Assurance to protect against a unidirectional link failure or other software failure and a device that continues to forward data traffic when it is no longer running the spanning tree algorithm.


A highly available data center infrastructure is the foundation of SLA guarantee and successful cloud deployment. As a result, BGP will tear down its neighbor relationship and look for alternative paths immediately without waiting for the hold timer to expire and thus provides faster failure recovery.
MEC and vPC form port-channels across multiple aggregation devices by treating a pair of aggregation layer devices as a single device from the control plane perspective. The benefit of a investing either in infrastructure or a monthly subscription – in the case of SME-oriented cloud services – to protect yourself from disaster is definitely worth the investment compared to the potential loss of revenue and the damage to your reputation as a result of downtime or online security issues. The planning involved in these particular sites is minimal and only require that a space be identified for the DR move and a basic infrastructure be built.
Agents who work from a data center or telephony site that experiences a disaster event may not be able to relocate to one of the remaining data centers or telephony sites due to distance constraints or safety concerns (such as impassable roads where the agents live).
Here again, the costs of multiple data center locations may be mitigated by hosting a contact center application instance in the cloud, especially if you don’t need full capacity in the event a disaster occurs. Typically, the amount of telephony resources would be overprovisioned at each data center so that the same number of contact transactions is processed regardless of whether both data centers are available or not. Business continuity also takes on added importance: if the contact center platform isn’t robust enough to be dependable in all settings, the company is at risk of alienating customers at critical times. Through manual backup processes or automatic Storage Area Network (SAN) replication technology, the application is periodically copied from the main data center to this second data center.
As a result, it is recommended to deploy default BGP Hello and Hold timers to provide faster convergence, yet to minimize control plane load.
Naturally, from a fiscal standpoint, it makes sense to build disaster recovery into your organization's budget, and with monthly subscriptions that range from less than $100 to a few hundred dollars for a cloud-based DR solution, it’s more affordable than you may realize.Disaster Recovery Concepts to Implement in Your BusinessOne reason why many small businesses skip over disaster recovery is a lack of understanding of its basic concepts. In case of Disaster, the DR site will initiate connections and business will be back in action in minimal time.  This approach, however, is extremely costly and requires huge investments due to the fact that the datacenter is mirrored at the DR Datacenter location.
If the incident does however exceed the MTO, data center management will then invoke the DR plan, theoretically lessening the impact felt by the business. In part 2, I’ll share some ideas on disaster-planning considerations for your telephony infrastructure and self-service applications. While the terms reliability and high availability are sometimes used interchangeably, the difference between a so-called reliable system and one that meets high-availability standards is its ability to maintain operations and quickly recover normal functioning following a failure – limiting downtime to hours, or even minutes, over the course of a year. Next week, I’ll discuss agent location, which can severely affect how much contact processing your business can handle after a disaster event.
This configuration is cost effective when the data centers are located close to the contact population. Depending on the nature of the disaster, agents may be in a location where they cannot access the available data center(s).
The Cisco Nexus 1000V Series VSM is not in the data path so even if both VSMs are powered down, the Virtual Ethernet Module (VEM) is not affected and continues to forward traffic. To control the cost, only mission critical applications are considered for Hot DR and other are either moved to DR site or rebuilt in the chance of disaster. Aspect's blogs share and comment on technology news, trends, real-life customer experiences, tips, techniques and best practices for organizations embracing the power of unified communications to enhance customer experience and bottom-line business results across the contact center, the enterprise and beyond.
This solution enables your business to continue, albeit at a reduced capacity, until additional agent resources can be directed to the available data center(s).
The Cisco VMDC design takes into consideration network, compute, and storage scale requirements of a base pod and reflects what components must be repeatable to satisfy cloud data center scale requirements. While the pictures show both data centers in an active state, the design works equally well for a deployment where one data center is active and the other is standby.
In the Cisco VMDC solution, service tiers are the basis of the end-to-end design of the cloud data center. A reduced capacity contact center application would need fewer compute resources, thus making it a cost-effective solution.
This enables the same number of contact transactions to be processed even in the event of a data center outage. Data center scalability is a multi-dimensional attribute that refers to the capability of a platform within the system and the ability to provision, manage, and operate the system.
This ability should be introduced in the resource container so that it is a completely self-sufficient unit of the data center itself.
Initially, a customer implements the data center using a base pod and adding more pods to expand the data center. This refers to the management plane provided by the service orchestration piece, which is outside the scope of this document.
Figure 3-2 presents the access-layer network, compute, and storage (IP and block) resources in the data center pod. Because they are homogeneous and modular, pods support templates for incremental build-out of the data center that address environmental, physical, logical, and application requirements.
Efficiency of resource utilization and multi-tenant solutions are directly dependent on the amount of virtualization implemented in a data center.



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