Highly Available Systems Are There When You Need Them

by Michael on September 9, 2019

Have you ever tried to log in to your favorite site or app and found that it wasn't working? What a bummer! You might have run into an availability problem.

I'm sure that most of you have had this experience at least once. The people responsible for the site don't like it any more than you do, I promise! That's why as stewards of technology, we should take preventative steps to reduce downtime whenever we can. Therefore, I'd like to take a little time to talk about some of the pieces of LogSpace that make it highly available.

It's no secret that the LogSpace platform runs on top of Amazon Web Services (AWS), as do some of the largest and most well known services. And, like many of them, we have built LogSpace to take advantage of certain service offerings from AWS that allow us to protect our uptime so that the platform is always ready for you.

Perhaps we should have uptime cupcakes. Similar to birthday cakes. — Photo by Mike Meeks on Unsplash

The first and perhaps most important system component is the database. Our primary database is an AWS Relational Database Service instance that uses a Multi-AZ configuration, which is a type of highly available database. This means that while our primary database instance serves requests, there is a secondary "hot standby" database instance in another Availability Zone that is being kept up to date so that if there is a problem with the primary instance, the secondary can take over while the primary is replaced.

The next tier of note is the application layer. Our application runs on AWS Elastic Compute Cloud. There we employ multiple compute instances behind a load balancer so that compute instances are not a single point of failure. Updates to our application are carried out to subsets of compute instances at a time to ensure that incoming requests can continue to be served during an update.

Finally, we have the presentation layer. This portion of the application actually runs in your web browser, but the major pieces of it are served to you from Amazon CloudFront. CloudFront is a content delivery network (CDN) which accelerates data transfer by hosting the content in various geographic locations that are closer to users. However, another important quality of CDNs is that they serve content with high availability because they are built as a network of redundant servers.

Having each layer of the application take advantage of high availability (HA) techniques and technology leads to a platform that has superior uptime and reliability. Because of these advantages, LogSpace has the benefit of a highly available platform that will lead to less frustration caused by service outages than platforms that do not utilize a highly available architecture.

So the next time you log in to LogSpace or another HA website, take a second to appreciate the benefit of highly availabile services!

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