As I noted in part one of this blog, active-active and active-passive data center architectures are often used in businesses’ disaster recovery and business continuity plans. Without such plans in place, companies may face outages which hurt them financially while risking their brand reputation. An active-active data center architecture enables businesses to improve system availability, reduce or eliminate disruptions in service and provide quick and reliable failover in case of an outage due to a disaster.

In this blog, I’ll describe the active-passive data center approach and list some of its benefits and challenges. In an active-passive data center architecture with asynchronous replication, data centers are located farther apart but usually no more than 500 miles and require high resiliency. This approach utilizes a recovery site for non-production applications and includes a primary (active) data center and a standby (or passive) site. If the primary data center experiences an outage, the standby site takes over to avoid extensive downtime. Active-passive data center architecture has the throughput of one device.

Benefits of the active-passive data center approach include:

  • Minimized service disruptions
  • Improved efficiency
  • Less complex implementation
  • Increased system availability
  • Reduced extended outages
  • Predictable performance during a failover
  • Improved business continuity
  • Simplified maintenance

As with the active-active approach, there are challenges to utilizing active-passive data center architecture, the biggest of which is cost. Because this approach requires two or more data centers with full capacity, it necessitates additional hardware that isn’t used on a regular basis. Plus, active-passive data center architecture does not provide the true load balancing that the active-active approach does. With IT budgets increasingly being tightened, many business administrators don’t want to expend capital on resources that aren’t used on a regular basis.

With either the active-active or active-passive data center approach, it’s important to enlist the help of a trusted and reliable data center provider that offers a wide array of services including colocation, managed services, cloud and Hybrid IT. In addition to 100 percent uptime and a record of operational excellence, this provider should employ multi-level security, carrier diversity, a high level of network connectivity, a minimum of N+1 redundant infrastructure and strategies for optimal density.

To learn more on what to look for in a data center provider, please read our executive brief titled “Data Center Selection & Design Best Practices.”

Comment (1)

Leave a Reply


  1. Troy

    Eric, nice blog page and good read. Thank you for posting!