There is a reason why meteorologists can’t predict the weather months in advance. It’s chaotic. This means that although it is readily modeled with the help of computers, it is highly sensitive to the smallest of inputs. Tiny inputs like the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in one area, can lead to a tornado weeks later on a different continent thousands of miles away. This disproportionate cause and effect chain is called the butterfly effect. The term was coined by Edward Lorenz who was a meteorologist, mathematician, and a pioneer of chaos theory.
In unstable or chaotic systems, small inputs can have big consequences. This effect applies to many systems besides the weather. It’s the reason why dice work so well for generating the nearly random results necessary for gambling. The sensitivity of dice to how they’re tossed (initial linear and angular velocities and orientation) makes it virtually impossible for anyone to exercise control over their landing.
The Butterfly Effect and Your Data
How does the butterfly effect affect your business? In a number of ways. A slight misinterpretation of a client’s requirement can lead to a product failure that brings your company’s survival into doubt. If you store vital information on in-house servers without adequate infrastructure in place, small things like a coffee spill, leaky overhead plumbing, a lightning strike, hardware theft by the cleaning person, or a distracted employee knocking a server off a table can mean the loss of this data. Even a weather event, perhaps caused by the proverbial butterfly, can knock out your power and take your website offline during a critical buying period.
Perhaps your IT person whose real job is doing something else, may make a small change to an important database and cause disastrous side effects. Years of quick band-aid fixes to aging equipment can set up an unstable environment that falls apart when the smallest of problems strike. Security oversights may also leave your data vulnerable to viruses or hacking.
How do you eliminate these vulnerabilities? By setting up a fault tolerant environment that absorbs errors and component failures yet continues normal operation, and by isolating your servers from the mishaps of the outside world. You can do this in one of two ways: commit the funds and do it yourself, or outsource your data storage through colocation server hosting. The first option is beyond the means of many small businesses while the second option is highly cost-effective. To learn more about our colocation server hosting, contact us.