What is Data Redundancy—and is it Important for Restaurant POS Systems?

Written by  on 18 January 2016

POS Buyers GuideIn the American lexicon, “redundancy” usually means repetitiveness—and not in an especially good way. In other lexicons, for example, the British lexicon, redundancy is a state of unemployment—yet another negative connotation. But when it comes to restaurant POS systems, redundancy—at least, data redundancy—is hardly a negative phenomenon. In fact, it’s a very positive one, and it’s very important.

Defining Data Redundancy

To understand why this is so, you need to understand what data redundancy is. In a POS environment, restaurant or otherwise, achieving data redundancy entails duplicating data onto a second server. The data on the second server can then be used for backup and recovery purposes in the event of a server, network, or Internet failure. For example, suppose a fast-casual restaurant has several POS workstations, with a master server functioning as a database for customer transactions at all workstations. Then, say there is a sudden failure of the workstations’ network connection to the server. Data redundancy would, in this case, allow the terminals to continue to temporarily function in backup or standalone mode.

Now, let’s explore why data redundancy is a “must” for restaurant POS systems.

Data redundancy prevents loss of business. Customers will quickly become frustrated—and business will be lost—if your restaurant is unable to process transactions because a network or other failure has suddenly made your main POS database inaccessible and your POS terminals inoperable. While the financial outlay entailed in acquiring the storage needed for data redundancy was once somewhat steep, the cost of such storage has become quite reasonable. In fact, the price you’ll pay for data redundancy will be a pittance compared to the loss of sales you might expect without it.

Data redundancy keeps tables turning. Even if your customers aren’t overly upset about transaction delays caused by connectivity and similar glitches, you can’t afford to have customers sitting at the table or in line, unable to pay their checks because the Internet cannot be used to obtain issuers’ approval for credit card transactions and employees are instead attempting to manually verify credit card information. When data redundancy has been built into the POS configuration, tables continue to turn, and lines keep moving at a normal rate because it’s a quick, painless switch from the master server to the temporary backup server, and/or because temporary 3G/4G connectivity is achievable with no effort whatsoever.

Data redundancy keeps mission-critical data safe. Using a redundant array of independent disks (RAID; formerly a “redundant display of inexpensive disks”) constitutes one key means of achieving data redundancy. Under a RAID umbrella, data is distributed across multiple drives in one of several ways, depending on end-users’ individual data redundancy and performance needs. Multiple copies of all data across all connected drives, rather than just one copy, are created.

The RAID “flavor” of data redundancy affords restaurants a more secure data storage solution for mission-critical data, including—but not limited to—POS data. What’s more, it guards against the loss of this data in the event of serious occurrences, like hard drive crashes, while simultaneously keeping servers operational. There is no need to manually adjust to backup mode in the midst of hard drive failure.

With competition for consumers’ dining dollar growing ever more fierce, restaurant operators must do all they can to safeguard their ability to provide top-tier customer service, as well as to run their establishments with maximum efficiency and minimal technical glitches. Data redundancy plays a critical role in toeing the mark and, as a result, merits support at every turn.

POS Buyers Guide

Read 396 times Last modified on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 17:13

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