Prior to being an analyst I held many roles in corporate IT, including being responsible for protecting the company’s information, so I understand the absolute mission-critical nature of backup/restore and disaster recovery. However, I also understand that this is one of the hardest things to get right within corporate IT. I’ve often joked that every company I’ve ever talked to is an expert in backing up information, but that it’s the restore that’s problematic. This is one of the reasons so many companies are choosing to replicate data offsite.
Offsite storage may seem simpler than some other solutions, but it does have its challenges. According to a Forrester study, almost two-thirds of organizations believe that their offsite replication capabilities are limited by WAN performance. The same study showed that over half of the respondents felt the data replication takes too long, meaning companies aren’t meeting their recovery time or recovery point objectives. Recovery time is something that IT leaders still struggle with, despite the improvement in replication tools. In other words, if you’ll excuse the profanity, same *#^&!, different day.
Historically, solving the WAN problem hasn’t been easy. Bandwidth isn’t cheap and latency remains an issue over long pipes. Enter WANs made easy (well, easier) by Silver Peak. Two weeks ago the company announced a suite of virtual appliances for speeding up data duplication for disaster recovery purposes without the requirement to purchase or deploy expensive hardware.
Silver Peak’s VRX-2, VRX-4, and VRX-8 software products are a suite of virtual WAN optimization appliances and part of the company’s Velocity solutions. The VRX software uses Silver Peak’s WAN optimization technologies to help solve bandwidth, distance, and quality challenges. This gives storage managers the ability to actually meet their recovery point objectives for once, since more data can be replicated in less time over short and long pipes. Virtual WAN optimization technology is an excellent alternative to upgrading bandwidth, which is how most organizations try and solve the problem.
The pricing Silver Peak put in place is relatively low-risk as well. Companies can start out with the VRX-2, which replicates up to 60 GB/hour, for as little as just under $2800 per year. The high-end product, VRX-8, can replicate up to 1.5 TB/hour and costs a shade over $38,000 per year. Reasonable costs considering the price of bandwidth today.
The speed of deployment and ease-of-use of their products are key to the Silver Peak approach. Customers can get started by installing the software on any of the major hypervisors, buy a license, do a bit of tweaking, then start reaping the benefits. I’m not sure most customers can hit the 20 minute market that Silver Peak touts, but deployment time is probably no more than a couple of hours.
WAN Optimization has become increasingly popular and a strategic technology. Expanding the use of the technology to the data center can reap huge rewards for companies that struggle with meeting their storage replication goals.