Home > Articles > Cisco Certification > CCDP > CCDP Self-Study: Designing High-Availability Services

CCDP Self-Study: Designing High-Availability Services

  • Sample Chapter is provided courtesy of Cisco Press.
  • Date: Mar 18, 2005.

Chapter Description

Cisco IOS high-availability technologies provide network redundancy and fault tolerance. Reliable network devices, redundant hardware components with automatic failover, and protocols like Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) are used to maximize network uptime. This chapter will help you get a handle on high-availability technologies.


In this chapter, you learned the following key points:

  • Enterprises implement high availability to meet the following requirements:

    • Ensure that mission-critical applications are available

    • Improve employee and customer satisfaction and loyalty

    • Reduce reactive IT support costs, resulting in increased IT productivity

    • Reduce financial loss

    • Minimize lost productivity

  • Availability is a measurable quantity. The factors that affect availability are MTTR and MTBF. Decreasing MTTR and increasing MTBF increase availability. Using the following equation results in a percentage that indicates availability (99.999 percent is a common goal):

    Availability = MTBF / (MTBF + MTTR) 
  • A Cisco high-availability solution has the following requirements:

    • Reliable, fault-tolerant network devices

    • Device and link redundancy

    • Load balancing

    • Resilient network technologies

    • Network design

    • Best practices

  • One approach to building highly available networks is to use extremely fault-tolerant network devices throughout the network. Fault-tolerant network devices must have redundant key components, such as supervisor engine, routing module, power supply, and fan. Redundancy in network topology and provisioning multiple devices and links is another approach to achieving high availability. Each approach has its own benefits and drawbacks.

  • Cisco IOS Software provides the following Layer 3 redundancy features:

    • HSRP or VRRP

    • Fast routing protocol convergence

    • EtherChannel technology

    • Load sharing

    • CEF

  • The Cisco spanning-tree implementation provides a separate spanning-tree domain for each VLAN called PVST+. RSTP as specified in 802.1w supersedes STP specified in 802.1D, but remains compatible with STP. RSTP shows significant convergence improvement over the traditional STP. RST's advantage is experienced when the inter-switch links (connections) are full-duplex (dedicated/point-to-point), and the access port connecting to the workstations are in PortFast mode. MST allows you to map several VLANs to a reduced number of spanning-tree instances because most networks do not need more than a few logical topologies.

  • To design high-availability services for an enterprise network one must answer the following types of questions:

    • Where should module and chassis redundancy be deployed in the network?

    • What software reliability features are required for the network?

    • What protocol attributes need to be considered?

    • What high-availability features are required for circuits and carriers?

    • What environmental and power features are required for the network?

    • What operations procedures are in place to prevent outages?

  • To fully determine the benefit of device, chassis, and link redundancy, one should discover the answers to the following questions:

    • Will the solution allow for load sharing?

    • Which components are redundant?

    • What active-standby fault detection methods are used?

    • What is the MTBF for a module? What is the MTTR for a module? Should it be made redundant?

    • How long does it take to do an upgrade?

    • Are hot swapping and online, insertion and removal (OIR) available?

  • Cisco Systems recommends implementing the following software features:

    • Protect gateway routers with HSRP or VRRP

    • Implement resilient routing protocols, such as EIGRP, OSPF, IS-IS, RIPv2, BGP

    • Use floating static routes and access control lists to reduce load in case of failure

  • Consider protocol attributes such as complexity to manage and maintain, convergence, hold times, and signal overhead

  • Because the carrier network is an important component of the enterprise network and its availability, careful consideration of the following points about the carrier network is essential:

    • Understand the carrier network

    • Consider multihoming to different vendors

    • Monitor carrier availability

    • Review carrier notification and escalation procedures to reduce repair times

  • The general network design conclusions with respect to high availability are

    • Reduce complexity, increase modularity and consistency

    • Consider solution manageability

    • Minimize the size of failure domains

    • Consider protocol attributes

    • Consider budget, requirements, and areas of the network that contribute the most downtime or are at greatest risk

    • Test before deployment

  • Cisco has developed a set of best practices for network designers to ensure high availability of the network. The five-step Cisco recommendations are

Step 1

Analyze technical goals and constraints.

Step 2

Determine the availability budget for the network.

Step 3

Create application profiles for business applications.

Step 4

Define availability and performance standards.

Step 5

Create an operations support plan.

  • Within the Enterprise Edge functional area, the following must be considered for high availability:
    • Service level agreement

    • Link redundancy

    • Load balancing

    • Policy-based routing

    • Routing protocol convergence

Cisco Press Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Cisco Press and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Cisco Press products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@ciscopress.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Cisco Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.ciscopress.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020