Mission Critical

What is mission critical?

A mission-critical factor is an IT component, such as a database, process, application, or a piece of software/hardware, that is used to streamline business operations. Disruption or faults within mission-critical systems affect the long-term success and survival of businesses as a whole. 


Large enterprises and corporations use process control servers to deliver mission-critical services. Mission-critical computing is also used as an umbrella term for IT systems and network devices that are critical to business operations and encourage IT transformation.


System resilience, high availability, redundancy, backup, and digital business strategies help to maintain and preserve uptime if mission-critical components fail.


Data centers and database servers that are used for internet applications should protect themselves from failures caused by power outages, software corruption, faulty hardware, or natural disasters.


When data is reproduced across multiple server clusters, it enables businesses to protect mission-critical systems and workloads.  


Mission-critical systems are essential to the ongoing functionality of business operations. Disruption or failure of mission-critical systems seriously impacts business operations, processes, and functions.


On the worst end of the spectrum, mission-critical systems that aren’t implemented or managed correctly can cause bad press and even business catastrophes. 


Utilizing mission-critical strategies that have embedded contingency plans is the best way to prevent failure or disruption to operations.


Mission-critical functions aim to prevent entire operations or business processes from grinding to a halt and causing disruption.

Mission critical software

A mission-critical application is a piece of software or a suite of related programs that continuously operate to promote business success. If mission-critical systems fail and experience downtime, it can have devastating financial consequences. 


Failure of mission-critical applications can damage a business’ reputation. This is why information technology (IT) teams discern and identify support frameworks that specify the necessary steps needed for operating applications under sub-optimal circumstances. 


For example, if a server runs transactional data, it should incorporate multiple, redundant power supplies to ensure operational continuity during power failures. Mission-critical applications require N+1 redundancy to ensure that help desk support is available round the clock, automate backups, and protect applications from corruption or deletion.

Mission-critical system examples

Mission-critical systems are fundamentally important and necessary to the success of a specific operation or procedure within a business.

Mission-essential equipment and mission-critical applications can also be referred to as mission-critical systems. 


Typical examples of mission-critical systems include: 

  • Railway/aircraft operating and control systems
  • Electric power grid systems
  • First responder communications systems

Mission-critical infrastructure

The validity of mission-critical systems hasn’t yet caught up with the realities of global digital transformation.

The future of mission-critical infrastructure is a hyper-converged infrastructure model that delivers operations for storage, computing, networking, and cloud resources. A single console powered by industry-standard servers helps to provide businesses with digital leverage. 


Digital businesses are looking for new, innovative ways to map applications to modern infrastructure. Modern applications employ high availability with only a small percentage able to justify mission-critical hardware. This means that modern HCI systems are usually deployed at a small scale before being expanded. 

Mission-critical projects

Mission-critical projects can include the following: 


  • Systems for controlling and collating data from an experimental physics project are considered mission-critical because of the risks and restrictions related to monitoring and controlling equipment. 
  • Distributed control systems (DCS) are used to regulate and operate oil burners in boilers to generate steam in industrial manufacturing plants. 
  • Software as a service (SaaS) systems, such as on cloud providers, are mission-critical because of the requirements of availability, responsiveness, and execution. 

Mission-critical IoT data

Businesses are only just starting to classify big data applications as mission-critical, with most IT departments in the early developmental stages of launching frameworks that support big data. 


In the manufacturing world, real-time internet of things (IoT) data is recorded from production lines and instantly notifies manufacturers when a piece of equipment is at fault or needs to be replaced. These alerts act as a direct stimulus for maintenance to step in and oversee operations. 


All industries, including healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, agriculture, and big data have united traditionally structured data as mission-critical elements.

What is the connection between mission critical and digital transformation?

As digital transformation strategies are implemented by businesses worldwide, innovative methods of using technology, people, and processes are changing the way performance and growth are measured. Digital innovations are ranked as having the highest impact on workplace transformation. 


Migrating work into the digital sphere is more important than ever and is now a necessary component for modern business survival. This means that digital transformation initiatives are mission-critical, given the fact that most knowledge workers are either remote or hybrid. 


Data security is an integral part of mission-critical digital transformation. Businesses are realizing that they need to do more than just shift work into the digital sphere and wait for inevitable security issues to arise. Mission-critical digital transformation represents inbuilt data security that limits or eliminates data breaches and security risks. Digital transformation takes cross-departments commitment to truly thrive and shouldn’t be carried out by IT teams alone. 


Another key trait of mission-critical digital transformation is the importance of external partners. Businesses won’t be able to build every digital solution completely on their own, and off-the-shelf products don’t fulfill the complex needs of large organizations. Businesses are now turning to enterprise suppliers to build customizable technology solutions that are the key to complex mission-critical digital transformation.

It's time to move mission-critical to the cloud

Mission-critical roadmaps are used to migrate, re-host, convert, or re-platform crucial processes and services. Businesses are looking to the cloud to provide cloud-based mission-critical services that revolutionize the way applications are run. 


Mission-critical processes that are migrated to the cloud cut long-term IT spending and increase global agility and transformational business value. This means that pilot and production projects are now expanding with the end goal of driving enhanced performance and dexterity through merging, streamlining, and remodeling core digital infrastructure and applications

Updated: May 04, 2023

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