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How to Expand Your Backup Windows with WAN Optimization

by on October 22, 2010

You know the problem. It keeps you awake at night. Your backup window is shrinking and you don’t know how to stop it. Maybe you should take a look at your Wide Area Network.

Bandwidth Many storage environments are built without careful consideration of how a WAN network can impact backups. Replicating and backing up data requires large amounts of information to be pushed through a WAN’s pipes to data centers, branch offices and replication sites. If the pipes are too small all kinds of problems develop–high latency, network congestion, chatty protocols, out-of-order packets, packet loss and redundant transmission of data.

All those problems can contribute to backup times that are so long that IT folks will find it impossible to keep an organization’s data current. Unwieldy data will take the “recovery” out of disaster recovery and leave you with just the disaster.

At first blush, the solution to the problem is to add bandwidth. But not only is that solution expensive, it may be short sighted. It’s far cheaper and more effective to focus on shrinking what’s traveling through the pipes than enlarging the pipes themselves. That can be done in two steps.

First, by virtualization an organization’s storage infrastructure, better use can be made of the system’s capacity.

Second, optimize your WAN by using data compression to reduce the volume of information that must travel over the network and use data deduplicaton to scotch redundant data moving through the WAN.

You can optimize your WAN with either a software solution or a hardware appliance. With our Archived Data Manager (ADM) solution, for example, older backup images—usually used primarily for audit and compliancy—are archived. Only recent backups—used primarily for recovery—remain. With considerably smaller backup catalogs, you’ll experience a drastic reduction in your backup window (up to 90%).

There are also some advantages to deploying a virtual appliance for optimization. A virtual appliance may more closely follow your organization’s virtualization strategy. Moreover, a virtual appliance may save you money. The total cost of ownership for the virtual appliance can be as much as 30 percent less than its hardware version.

“The combination of a high performance storage environment and software-based virtual WAN optimization solutions makes for high performance, highly efficient, low-cost data backup and replication,” Certeon Director of Research and Co-founder Shawn Cooney wrote for Computer Technology Review.

“Virtualization is the key to enabling the best use of storage and optimization resources,” he added. “It also provides the greatest flexibility and scalability and the ability to keep pace with corporate changes at the lowest total cost of ownership.”

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