Predicting WAN Performance – Disaster Recovery’s Missing Link – Apposite Briefing Note

Most storage systems today have the ability to replicate data to another storage system at another site. If the storage system doesn’t have that capability, then there are plenty of third-party software solutions that perform the function. Even if the organization doesn’t have a suitable second site, many solutions can now use the cloud as a replication target. Each option is the foundational component of a disaster recovery strategy and each relies on a reliable WAN connection.

Know Your WAN

The problem is most organizations cannot test their WAN connectivity. They don’t know how it will hold up under peak loads, they don’t know the impact of adding an additional replication workload to overall performance, and they cannot perform routine stress tests to make sure everything is in working order.

The result of this lack of knowledge is the most organizations tend to go through a cycle of WAN purchases that start with buying too little bandwidth. As the replication jobs begin to mount up, problems start to arise like data corruption or too long of a delay updating the secondary system. In response, the organization then buys more bandwidth, generally too much. The problems of data corruption and slow secondary site updates go away. but the cost of disaster recovery increases dramatically.

As IT adds more workloads to the WAN, the overbuying continues and gets exponentially worse. The result is that most organizations have more bandwidth than they need. Considering it is relatively easy to provision WAN bandwidth up and down, permanently overbuying is a waste of IT budget.

Introducing Apposite Technologies

Apposite Technologies is a market leader in network emulation for the pre-production testing of applications over WAN. One of the applications their products can simulate is storage replication software.

What is Network Emulation

A network emulator is an appliance that tests WAN capabilities. It can copy the behavior of a network and simulate both good and bad clients interacting with the network. The value for enterprises is they can validate the proper performance and quality of the WAN connection’s ability to support replication traffic before deployment. Network Emulation saves time by making sure the replication jobs will work the first time and it saves money by making sure it uses the exact right amount of bandwidth.

Network emulators also resolve WAN finger pointing. If an application vendor or storage replication vendors claims that the WAN is the source of a problem IT, armed with a WAN emulation tool, can prove that it isn’t.

Netropy Network Emulators

The Apposite Netropy family of Network Emulators are designed for complex network topologies. They can provide up to 15 separate profiles per emulation ending and a per client emulation of over 10,000. The appliances support link speed from 300bps to 100Gbps and each path emulates bandwidth, delay, jitter, packet loss, QoS and background utilization.

These systems are ideal to make sure the speed requirements of global networks are up to the massive data transport demands that replication services place on the environment.

Not Just for DR

Network Emulators also have an essential role to play as distributed storage systems become more prevalent. As these distributed systems scale both on-premises and across premises, they do so by a series of interconnected nodes, all of which leverage Ethernet for connectivity and communication to other nodes. Making sure the network that connects these nodes is up to the challenge will become increasingly critical.

StorageSwiss Take

Sometimes solutions like Network Emulators may seem nice to have. The default solution of overbuying bandwidth seems to work, but at what cost? Network Emulators not only make sure that the organization is buying just the bandwidth needed, but it also provides peace of mind knowing that these critical replication jobs will complete, with data intact and in the desired timeframes.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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Posted in Briefing Note

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