EDI Networking & Telecommunications, Fail over, Backup & Disaster Recovery
In the not-too-distant past, most EDI transmissions were sent via modems and telephone lines. While some EDI is still done this way, for the most part fiber optic cables and high speed internet have replaced the telephone modem as a means of data transmission. Typically an EDI server will be in some sort of data center facility that has appropriate network infrastructure in place to support the required EDI communication methods. Network routers and switches help direct the path for data travel. Firewalls, VPN gateways and intrusion detection systems ensure the data is secure and protected and can not be spoofed. Data centers can be in-house or co-located depending on the business’ needs.
Fail over, Backup & Disaster Recovery
EDI is a mission critical component for most organizations, which means a disaster recovery and a failover plan should be in place. Fail over: would be the method to become operational again, if for example, the hard disk or the CPU motherboard of the EDI server crashes. The speed at which the EDI environment needs to become operational again will dictate the type of fail over requirements. For example, in a just-in-time automotive manufacturing environment, auto parts are being received an hour before they are put on the assembly line. The EDI failover time is zero. To mitigate the risk of a situation like this, parallel live production servers could be set up to mirror each other. If one fails, the other instantly picks up the processing. Not a beat is missed. Backup: Before EDI, business transactions could be placed in file cabinets and stored off site somewhere. With EDI in place it is important that EDI data is backed up frequently. All EDI data formats should be backed up, meaning the machine-readable EDI data, the translated proprietary data, communication logs and obviously the database. Again, the extent to which a company backs up and restores its data is determined by the business’ requirements. A lot of data backup options exist such as online and on-site, which is the most quickly accessible data. Off-site storage should also be considered.
Disaster Recover (DR): If a plane crashes into the data center building, a well-implemented disaster recover plan would be set in motion. For example, if the EDI server is in Silicon Valley (San Jose, CA) it might make sense to put the second hot-production mirroring server somewhere in a data center in New Jersey. Typically, a well-implemented disaster recovery plan includes all components of the IT environment and not just EDI. For example, the EDI server interacts with the business application server (e.g. SAP or PeopleSoft server). During disaster recovery testing it would make sense to test that in the off-site data center location the DR business application server and the DR EDI server successfully interact with each other
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