There are no simple answers to everything in life.

A tool that might work great for one task might be a poor fit for another task. A hammer, for instance, is perfect for building a shelf, yet not so useful when trying to fix a computer. (Unless your definition of “fix” has deteriorated to “utterly destroy” at that point.)

Likewise, you can’t try to slap one solution on your business’ IT infrastructure and call it done, even if the problem is singular in nature: “keep my machines going.” While this goal may seem unified, the solution actually needs a tiered approach.

When looking at the problem, you must categorize the different types of IT resources and establish a priority for handling them, based on what the resource does and what happens to them.

Brian Proffitt is a veteran technology journalist, analyst, and author with experience in a variety of technologies, including cloud, virtualization, and consumer devices. Follow him on Twitter @TheTechScribe and Google+ at +Brian Proffitt.

For instance, the servers running your organization’s million-customer-a-month ecommece site will have a much higher priority than the server that contains the employee database. Both are ultimately important, but not equally so. If the HR server dies, you will have some headaches, but the business won’t lose money. Fail the ecommerce servers, and you and your business are in for a world of hurt.

Then there’s what happens to the resources: there’s a big difference between a power supply failure dropping a single server with several VMs on board versus a flood that wipes out your whole datacenter.

These scenarios suggest a three-tiered approach to uptime. For important, yet non-mission critical systems, a business continuity appliance (BCA) is a great solution. These appliances will afford you some protection at the local level if human or machine error causes a problem.

For the mission-critical systems, this is when high availability (HA) strategies are much more appropriate. HA enables servers to be immediately replaced if something fails, with little to no downtime..

Over both of these tiers is the disaster recovery plan. This is what you need if your business experiences a catastrophic shutdown. This is roll-up-your-sleeves and make sure everything’s covered kind of planning, but it’s well worth it if things blow up.

All of these solutions can be physical, virtual, or some combination thereof. Virtual solutions, though, can deliver a lot of management continuity if your virtual environment has the right sort of tools.

It might be well worth your while to explore virtual solutions to address your singular uptime problem.