Backup Plan for Website Outages?

I have a client that is using Rackspace.com to host both their website and their hosted Exchange mail. Client's website is very heavily trafficked and it's really important that it have close to 100% uptime. A couple of weeks ago (due to some problems experienced by Rackspace) the website went down for a few hours. And thanks to Murphy's Law this happened right while they were doing an important pitch to a large prospective client!

So now my client wants to know if there is some way to implement a Plan B if Rackspace experiences this kind of problem again in the future.

They were suggesting setting up a backup webserver in their office they could be brought online in the event of a future outage, but this doesn't sound like a good strategy given that there would be no way to fully test it out until the next outage.

What do other companies do to guard against this sort of problem?
anuneznycAsked:
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fosiul01Commented:
having a backup site in your office , its not a bad idea .. i totally agree on that.

or may be you might hire another host just to have backup.

if you have control over zone record, then you can use script , or some paid service , as soon as it will see host A is down it will change A record to your backup host

or you can use round robin way so that both host will serve at a time

but it needs more work as replication of database .. if database does not change too much then having 2 host on 2 different provider is a good solve


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AndyBeardCommented:
You mention Rackspace, but not which service, for instance they have their cloudsites offering

http://www.rackspacecloud.com/cloud_hosting_products/sites

Going beyond that level of hands free replication & reliability starts to become a technical challenge of eliminating points of failure in a cluster.

Things to think about if you decide to do your own solution

Hosted DNS with failover
Minimum 2 data centers

What you have in each datacenter really depends on the load you are looking at

Load balancer
Firewall
1+n webservers
1+n database servers
backup

If you want to guarantee uptime then 2 locations is the primary factor, as last year I ended up with over 24hrs downtime on a primary site due to a DDOS attack and being null routed.

That might not have happend if I was with Rackspace who might have more upstream providers or better routing, but 2 locations ensures you are not subject to sod's/murphy's law.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murphy%27s_law

When you have 2 locations, you have replication to worry about for any kind of dynamic site, and that requires a a server management tech who knows what they are doing.
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