Five Ways to Optimise Offsite Storage and Business Continuity

White Paper

Storage people are from Mars. Network people are from Venus. Despite interdependencies, each group has its own acronyms, vendors, and metrics - making it difficult to communicate between these two "silos".

But the fact is that WAN Optimisation is critical to the success of strategic storage initiatives, including replication, remote file access, VDI over distance, and implementation of private and/or public clouds for initiatives such as Storage-as-a-Service.

Supported by results from specific case studies, this whitepaper shows how you can finally meet your recovery objectives, provide seamless failover between multiple sites, improve remote application performance, and lower your ongoing bandwidth costs.

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Five Ways to Optimize Offsite Data Storage and Business Continuity

A WAN optimization primer for Storage Professionals

Storage people are from Mars and network people are from Venus. Despite the interdependencies of the two functions, each group often has its own language, vendors, and metrics which can make it difficult to communicate between the two “silos”. WAN optimization is a functional area that bridges this gap. That is because business continuity strategies depend on the network infrastructure for success. The WAN, for example, is the “highway” upon which data is sent for remote replication and backup and it is the main conduit upon which centralized files are sent and retrieved by distributed users.

WAN optimization ensures that this highway is operating at its full potential by maximizing available capacity, overcoming distance limitations, and ensuring that packets are delivered in a manner that is fast, consistent, and reliable. In other words, by enhancing available WAN bandwidth and fixing network latency and packet loss issues, WAN optimization is a key enabler for various storage initiatives.

This is why all the major storage providers (e.g. Dell, EMC, HDS, HP, Netapp, …) have partnered with Silver Peak to include WAN optimization as part of their business continuity and storage centralization strategies. It is also why the largest enterprises in the world have deployed Silver Peak WAN’s optimization as part of their data center initiatives. Below are some examples:

  • Maximize RPO. Recovery Point Objectives (RPO) dictate the point in time that data will be recovered to in the event of data loss. Simply, RPO is the amount of data you can afford to lose.

    When managing RPO with replication, the WAN can limit the amount of data that can be transferred, which can cause RPOs to be missed or replication to fail entirely

    There are three WAN constraints that can impact replication and remote backup throughput, and therefore impact RPO: 1. Limited bandwidth. 2. Distance between locations (latency). 3. Quality of the WAN (amount of dropped or out of order packets). The relationship between the three is complicated, with some of the above being more important than others in any given network environment.

    A regional bank reduced EqualLogic replication time over the WAN from 10 days to 5.5 hours, enabling a 6 hour RPO.

    Adding more bandwidth, for example, will not always make a difference if there is too much latency due to long distances between source/target devices. Similarly, all the bandwidth in the world will not matter if packets are being dropped or delivered out of order due to congestion, as is often the case in lower cost, but lower quality MPLS and cloud environments.

    All three of these challenges need to be addressed to optimize replication throughput across a WAN, and thus maximize RPO. Silver Peak does this with three “buckets” of technology. Network Acceleration mitigates latency using various protocol acceleration techniques. Network Integrity fixes packet delivery issues caused by dropped and out-oforder packets and enables enterprises to prioritize key traffic to ensure it gets allocated necessary resources. Network Memory maximizes bandwidth utilization using compression and WAN deduplication. The result: more data can be sent between source target locations in less time and across longer distances.

    For example, a major US based cable company deployed Silver Peak’s virtual appliances to optimize offsite data replication using NetApp SnapMirror. Prior to Silver Peak, the replication wouldn’t complete at all across the WAN, despite have a 10 Gbps WAN infrastructure. With Silver Peak, the company is completing offsite data replication every day and exceeding their goal of a 24 hour RPO.

    Similarly, a regional bank in the North Eastern United States reduced Equallogic replication times from 10 days to 5.5 hours, enabling the company to meet a 6 hour RPO.

  • Seamless operations between data centers. It is increasingly common to see multiple data centers configured in a hot/hot configuration. In the event one data center goes down, the goal is to get users up and running on the secondary data center as quickly as possible. However, when data centers are geographically separated (which makes sense to avoid catastrophic disasters), poor network performance can ruin all the fun.

    For example, various tools exist to seamlessly move servers, storage and data between locations (eg. VMware Vmotion and EMC VPLEX). However, if the network isn’t up to par, these tools will not work effectively over a WAN.

    In addition, if one of the data centers goes down, some users will have to access the secondary data center over the WAN. If the network is not performing well, these users will not be able to use their applications and storage effectively.

    By overcoming bandwidth, latency and loss challenges across the WAN, Silver Peak ensures that hot data centers always remain in synch, and that remote users can access all their applications and data with LAN-like performance, regardless of where the data center is located. In this respect, Silver Peak’s WAN optimization is an insurance policy that guarantees seamless business continuity.

    Linklaters ensures that 6,000 Citrix users always have access to the same data with the same performance, served from any of 4 global data centers.

    For example, Linklaters, the largest law firm in the world, deployed Silver Peak to ensure seamless failover between their four global data centers. Their goal is to have every user, regardless of location, have a consistent application experience. They are using Silver peak to optimize EMC SRDF/A replication between data centers (with a 4 hour RPO), and Silver Peak in remote offices to optimize over 6,000 Citrix clients who connect to these data centers. By deploying Silver Peak’s WAN optimization, Linklaters has achieved its goal of anywhere, anytime access to data. For example, users in Atlanta can access all the same data with the same performance whether going to their primary data center in New York or a backup data center in London.

  • Backup to any location, over any WAN link. In the past, enterprises were limited in where they could backup data due to network constraints. Some storage companies, for example, would recommend that replication not take place over distances with too much latency (e.g over 80 ms). In addition, it was also recommended to only replicate over expensive dedicated lines, where packet delivery issues are less common. This placed an enormous burden on many enterprises, often requiring them to deploy and manage expensive data centers with dedicate networks for storage.

    With WAN optimization, these restrictions no longer exist. By mitigating WAN latency, Silver Peak customers like a UK based insurance company are replicating over a 622 Mbps WAN with > 200 ms latency (using DoubleTake). Prior to Silver Peak, they were replicating 260 GB / hour over an OC-12 connection. With Silver Peak, they are moving over 1.5 TB / hr between Michigan and England, which is a 6x improvement in replication throughout.

    Similarly, by mitigating packet delivery issues, Silver Peak customers like Toshiba are running SnapVault over a shared MPLS network between Massachusetts and California. Despite 100 ms latency and over 1% packet loss, Toshiba is consistently completing replication in under 30 minutes, which is well below the company’s 1 hour RPO. Prior to Silver Peak, replication took over 2 hours to complete.

    Toshiba reduced SnapVault replication times by 5x (from 2+ hours to 26 minutes) by solving latency and loss issues on MPLS WAN between Massachusetts and California

    [Download PDF to view image]

    Charleston Area Medical Center is seeing an 18x improvement in NAS performance with average downloads reduced from 370 seconds to 20 seconds.

    [Download PDF to view image]

    With Silver Peak’s WAN optimization, data replication takes place wherever it makes the most business sense.

  • Access remote files from anywhere (ie centralized NAS). Many enterprises have difficulty centralizing Network Attached Storage (NAS), as remote access to centralized files can be slow and expensive over the WAN. Old technologies like Wide Area File Services (WAFS) emerged to help alleviate this problem through advanced file caching and remote file management. However, these solutions were often difficult to deploy, prone to data coherency issues, and considered more expensive than broader WAN optimization solutions because they only worked on a subset of applications (ie file services).

    With the advent of deduplication, WAN optimization has supplanted WAFS in recent years as the primary means of enabling fast and reliable access to centralized file services. Data reduction technology has been combined with QoS, traffic shaping, latency mitigation, and loss correction techniques to overcome all of the network challenges that hinder access to centralized NAS. As a result, enterprises can deploy NAS devices in any location regardless of the size of the WAN, distance, or quality of the network. As WAN optimization works on all IP traffic, it offers a considerably better Return on Investment (ROI) than WAFS, with no risk of stale or corrupted data. As a result, most vendors that previously highlighted WAFS solutions have subsequently backed off or terminated those products (e.g Blue Coat, Expand, Riverbed, and Cisco).

    Charleston Area Medical Center wanted to centralize all users’ directories on a single Network Attached Server (NAS) located in a regional data center. Unfortunately, as the project got underway, users began calling into the medical center’s support center to complain about slow application response time that impacted the performance of file sharing, email, and medical billing databases. Rather than spend $20,000 per site to deploy distributed NAS devices, the company turned to Silver Peak. Through a combination of compression, QoS, TCP acceleration and advanced deduplication techniques, the Medical Center was able to keep its servers centralized, while ensuring LAN-like performance for all applications. Opening an 11 MB excel file across the WAN went from several minutes (370 seconds) to 20 seconds with Silver Peak in the equation. Copying files to the NAS had similar results –10 times faster performance on average. Similar benefits were experienced across the medical center’s email and SQL applications. End-user productivity increased, enabling doctors, nurses and medical center staff to better focus on their primary objective – delivering outstanding patient care.

  • Lower ongoing telco costs. In many instances, bandwidth is expensive or difficult to attain. Many storage companies have therefore incorporated compression and deduplication technology into their replication solutions to help alleviate this burden. When the network is dedicated just for storage, these work great. However, when the storage traffic is sharing the WAN with other enterprises traffic, such as file, email, web, video, etc, than deduplication within the storage medium is not enough – it also needs to take place within the network.
    A Leading Pet Retailer lowered bandwidth utilization by 77% using Silver Peak and EMC RecoverPoint, saving over $100,000 per year in telco costs by avoiding a WAN upgrade.

    [Download PDF to view image]

    By putting deduplication on the WAN, non storage traffic is optimized for even greater bandwidth savings, making data backup on a converged network that much more affordable. This is Silver Peak’s specialty, as we are the only vendor with a patented Network Memory™ solution for deduplicating traffic at the IP layer. This means we dedupe anything that runs over IP for maximum bandwidth utilization, and maximum cost savings. The Silver Peak solution is completely complimentary to deduplicaiton that is already occurring within the storage medium.

    One Silver Peak customer, an international service provider, has deployed Silver Peak and Data Domain in every one of their data centers to simultaneously lower network and storage utilization for optimal cost savings. Another retail provider has deployed Silver Peak with RecoverPoint for similar reasons – to optimize both storage and non storage traffic on a shared WAN. The retailer is seeing a 77% reduction in overall WAN bandwidth utilization, which has saved the company over $100,000 per year by avoiding WAN bandwidth upgrades.

    There are enormous benefits to running Silver Peak’s WAN optimization in conjunction with data replication and remote backup solutions. That is why Silver Peak is deployed with every major storage solution and is partnered with all the major storage vendors. (Many are also using Silver Peak internally for their own disaster recovery initiatives!). If you would like to learn more about how we can help with your backup initiatives, please contact

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