cloud computing recovery

Storm Front Coming: Looking to the Cloud for Recovery

cloud computing recoveryMy home state of Massachusetts is not usually thought of as “tornado alley” as we average three, typically non-destructive twisters per year. Nevertheless, last week we were hit with four separate twisters in a single day.

Those four tornadoes are a tiny fraction of the more than 1,400 reported in the U.S. this year. Their frequency and severity this year have been stark reminders of the violence and destruction Mother Nature can inflict without warning. One fact should now be abundantly clear to all businesses if it wasn’t evident before these disasters – fast and reliable disaster recovery plans need to be in place in anticipation of when, not if a disaster strikes.

Flirting with Disaster

I had that though in mind when I recently re-read a cloud computing case study by Chris Murphy at InformationWeek. The article included an interview with the CIO of Brady Corporation, a product, facility and safety identification company specializing in the kinds of identification technologies that take on a heightened sense of urgency in the wake of disaster. What was notable about the article is that Brady Corporation, as Murphy writes, “has embraced the cloud more aggressively than most.”

While Brady Corp. may be “aggressive,” many companies are looking to the cloud for their disaster recovery solutions.

Cloud for disaster recovery makes sense. Since all cloud computing initiatives have one thing in common – data is centralized, while users are distributed – it is, by its very definition, a sensible solution for disaster recovery.

disaster recovery cloudIt does have its drawbacks. Recovering data from the cloud places an increased emphasis on the network, making cloud computing susceptible to the same WAN bandwidth, latency, and quality challenges that impact other enterprise applications. Even with deduplication, recovery processes from the cloud involve the transfer of large amounts of data across a WAN, requiring a significant amount of WAN bandwidth. Moreover, the transfer of these large amounts of data must be done without interruption. Yet WAN latency and packet loss can disrupt this process, resulting in missed recovery point objectives (RPO).

When the time spent in recovery means time lost making money, the last thing a company needs is to get bogged down by bandwidth limitations when it is trying to get mission-critical systems back up and running.

Clearing the Path to the Cloud

WAN performance does not have to be an obstacle to cloud-based disaster recovery, though. Use of advanced WAN deduplication – the kind pioneered by Silver Peak – enables more data to be protected across the WAN without adding costly bandwidth. Latency and packet loss also need not adversely impact backup and recovery processes when a company utilizes features such as those in Silver Peak’s Network Integrity and Network Acceleration applications.

WAN optimization (WANop) is an indispensible component of cloud-based disaster recovery projects and Silver Peak’s WANop solutions increase the performance and reliability of cloud backup, replication and recovery while reducing IT costs. Using WANop, Silver Peak creates a smooth, efficient path to the cloud that includes:

  • Improved data transfer times: Silver Peak’s Network Memory recognizes repetitive information and delivers it locally.  In addition, Silver Peak provides enhancements to accelerate TCP and CIFS, reducing the impact of latency on data transfers.
  • Maximized WAN efficiency: Network Memory can reduce as much as 95% of WAN traffic by eliminating the transfer of duplicate information.  Network memory fingerprints at the byte level, enabling Silver Peak to detect and eliminate repetitive patterns even when the backup/replication solution is performing similar functions at the block level. In addition, Silver Peak leverages advanced compression techniques to further reduce the amount of WAN bandwidth required for backup and replication.
  • Reduced packet loss and delivery errors: Silver Peak reduces the impact of both packet loss and jitter that occurs when router links are oversubscribed and drop or re-order packets. Adaptive Forward Error Correction (FEC) for example, can reduce effective packet loss by an order of magnitude.
  • Guaranteed data security: Silver Peak NX appliances use hardware-based AES encryption to protect network traffic and local content, protecting all data at all times from unauthorized access.
  • Cost -effective scalability: Silver Peak can support a full 500 Mbps WAN capacity in a single NX appliance, with several variants available that support over 45 Mbps. This enables enterprises to support data center to data center links cost-effectively, while also supporting network-based backups across many remote locations.

The Silver Peak solution cost-effectively scales to support large data center environments, delivering the most LAN and WAN side throughput for disaster recovery environments. Only Silver Peak optimizes both TCP and non-TCP traffic, improving data transfer times and maximizing WAN efficiency across all backup and replication solutions.

So when it comes to disaster recovery, a company should keep its feet on the ground, its data in the cloud and its access to the cloud WAN-optimized.