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A Spare Is Just a Spare

Yes, it takes time and money to prep redundant components, but that's the price you must pay if you're serious about minimizing downtime.

Time To Do Our Part

Network equipment vendors have answered the call to minimize downtime by building redundancy into their gear and making upgrades easier. Many also make redundant links to other redundant components possible using standards based on the IETF's VRRP (Virtual Router Redundancy Protocol, RFC 2338) and the IEEE's 802.3ad and 802.1w. We found this to be the case when we evaluated backbone proposals from Alcatel, Enterasys, Extreme and Foundry for our March 21, 2003 cover story. All those vendors support redundant CPUs and power supplies inside their devices, and standards-based redundant links between their devices.

As impressed as we were with those vendors' products, though, we know no vendor can guarantee 100 percent uptime. Complex gear is tough to maintain and troubleshoot, so before you introduce a redundancy scheme, you must understand exactly how the product works.

But How?

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