High Availability

For those services and applications where even the slightest amount of downtime has an immediate and measurable impact to our operations; controls and technologies have been implemented to reduce or eliminate the probability of a disruption or to dramatically reduce the amount of time required for recovery.  Controls include redundant system and network components, fault tolerant network topologies, load balanced server pools and real-time data replication; all working together to meet and exceed the strict security and availability objectives demanded by today’s users.

The High Availability (HA) strategy at CU*Answers focuses on 24-7 availability for core-processing products and services that our member credit unions depend on including the CU*BASE/GOLD and online/mobile banking platforms.  To accomplish this, CU*Answers owns and manages redundant state-of-the-art datacenters fully equipped with redundant power sources, multiple communications service providers, environmental controls, physical access security zones with video surveillance, and centralized network/system monitoring. (SSAE-16 report is available on request for client credit unions.)

High-Availability Rollovers

To ensure our readiness for a critical event affecting our primary processing facility, semi-annual rollover exercises are performed to “redirect” core-processing from systems at our primary datacenter to identical systems at our secondary datacenter. This is a live online event, not a dress rehearsal. Performing this exercise live brings with it the urgency and demand for high performance from our systems and from our recovery teams. This is yet another example of the pressure we put on ourselves in order to best serve our client credit unions.

Due to the nature of these production rollovers, a minimal amount of application downtime is required. This can range from 30-45 minutes, depending on the circumstances of the event. In some cases, should issues arise, actions are taken to collect debug information and/or perform additional checks and audits in order to ensure system and application stability. For these reasons, we schedule rollover exercises during non-peak operational hours. We treat each rollover exercise like a recovery test with full gap analysis reports available for review.

Performing regular HA rollovers helps us to validate our procedures, train new recovery team members, and confirm our readiness and capabilities for those unexpected incidents when unplanned rollovers are necessary. Planned rollovers also allow us to perform routine system and host maintenance with minimal downtime.

View our High Availability Rollover Schedule

Important Instructions for CU*BASE Credit Unions!

Monitoring network connectivity to the secondary datacenter is the responsibility of both CU*Answers Network Services and the credit union. Every time there is a change on your IT network (new branch opens, new PC added, new vendor interface added, firewall or router configuration change, etc.), it brings with it the potential for disrupting access to our secondary datacenter.

For this reason, we recommend that you regularly test connectivity from at least one GOLD workstation at each branch by performing one or both of the following tests:

If the PING or TELNET tests fail, confirm your network’s DNS and IP Routing configuration for compliance with the following AnswerBook items:

For assistance in troubleshooting network connectivity to the CU*Answers secondary datacenter, please contact a Network Services associate.

Updated
August 2, 2018

Don’t Forget the Human Element

It is important for all businesses big and small to have a Business Continuity plan/program to plan for those events that disrupt business as usual. One important concept to remember is that even though there is a plan for the business, it revolves around people. The Business Continuity Plan is only as good as the… Read more »

Jun 4, 2020

CU*Answers publishes gap analysis report for spring high-availability rollover test

On April 7, 2020, CU*Answers published and announced the gap analysis report detailing the results of the spring high-availability rollover test performed from March 8th through March 15th. During the rollover event, live production for CU*BASE is redirected from systems at the primary data center in Grand Rapids, MI, to identical systems at the secondary […]

Apr 14, 2020

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Results Now Available

[The Pulse] HA Rollover Results Now Available

HA Rollover Results Now Available Rollover: March 8 – 15 Now available for your review is a summary of the recent HA (high-availability) rollover event, performed March 8 – 15.  In the report, you will find details about the exercise, including challenges observed, lessons learned, and recommendations for improving the rollover process. HA Rollover Results… Read more »

Apr 7, 2020

Is Your Staff Ready for the Next Disruption or Security Incident? We Can Help.

Is Your Staff Ready for the Next Disruption or Security Incident?  We Can Help.

A credit union can invest in technology, write comprehensive contingency plans, and check all of the compliance boxes – but if effective response and recovery is not part of regular day-to-day activities, business disruptions can catch you by surprise, last longer than they should, and increase the level of frustration for you, your staff and… Read more »

Mar 3, 2020

Last Chance to Test Connectivity Before this Weekend’s Scheduled HA Rollover

Last Chance to Test Connectivity Before this Weekend’s Scheduled HA Rollover

ATTENTION ONLINE CREDIT UNIONS Perform your connectivity test before this weekend! Don’t forget: the next scheduled HA rollover will begin this coming Sunday, March 8, at 3:00 AM ET.  At that time, CU*BASE core-processing will be redirected from our primary production data center to systems at our high-availability (HA) data center.  We will continue providing… Read more »

Mar 2, 2020

A Note from CU*Answers Regarding Our Large-Scale Pandemic Plan

A Note from CU*Answers Regarding Our Large-Scale Pandemic Plan

With media escalating awareness of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, several credit unions have reached out to CU*Answers asking about our large-scale pandemic plans. Our team would like to share our response with the CU*BASE credit union network. Planning and preparing for disruptive events, whether the result of a natural, man-made, or technology incident, is the… Read more »

Apr 20, 2020

Action Required: We Need You to Perform a Connectivity Test Before March 8th!

Action Required: We Need You to Perform a Connectivity Test Before March 8th!

ATTENTION ONLINE CREDIT UNIONS Don’t forget: our next High Availability Rollover is scheduled for Sunday, March 8 Twice each year, CU*Answers tests our ability to redirect CU*BASE core-processing from our production data center to our high-availability (HA) data center.  The next HA rollover will begin at 3:00 AM ET on Sunday, March 8. We will… Read more »

Feb 24, 2020

Action Required: We Need You to Perform a Connectivity Test Before March 8th!

Action Required: We Need You to Perform a Connectivity Test Before March 8th!

ATTENTION ONLINE CREDIT UNIONS Don’t forget: our next High Availability Rollover is scheduled for Sunday, March 8 Twice each year, CU*Answers tests our ability to redirect CU*BASE core-processing from our production data center to our high-availability (HA) data center.  The next HA rollover will begin at 3:00 AM ET on Sunday, March 8. We will… Read more »

Feb 17, 2020