Anecdotal evidence gathered by DCIG suggests that 50 percent or more of all companies deploying disk-based storage systems in multiple sites as backup targets are also opting to purchase replication software that replicates data between sites for enhanced data protection. For many companies, this purchase may represent their first foray into replication of any kind. As a result, it’s not surprising that many are unprepared for the types of questions to ask when selecting replication software or what to expect from the accompanying management software. Because of this fact, companies that replicate data from ROBOs (Remote Offices and Branch Offices) to home offices or between ROBOs may encounter issues that they are not equipped to address, such as:
- Congestion on wide area network (WAN) links
- Configuring and managing replication of data between sites
- Ensuring the transfer of data over the WAN is secure
- Obtaining and then scaling sufficient storage for local and remote sites
Companies may not even recognize the need to manage these issues until after purchasing their NAS. Only then do they realize that replication software may not have all the features needed to appropriately configure and manage the process. In this respect, Overland Storage wisely recognized that companies need NAS with mature replication software that is scalable, reliable and easy to manage now, not later. By acquiring Snap Server, Overland also acquired Snap Enterprise Data Replicator (EDR) replication software, which lets companies immediately implement and execute on a data replication strategy. EDR’s key features include:
- Management Interface. Snap Servers are controlled through an agent-based approach that requires agents to be installed on each server involved in the data moving process. Servers are managed through policies that are set up on one central Snap Server. Agents are controlled through a centralized management console that schedules, monitors and manages policies for the installed agents. The agents then execute the rules established by the central manager that controls the replication and management of data. Snap Server can auto discover other Snap Servers, so companies can have central visibility to the Snap Servers from one central location to view and schedule the replication of data between Snap Servers as well as configure on individual Snap Servers. The servers can be managed through set policies on the central server even though Snap also provides the option to manage individual servers via local browser interfaces.
- Compression and Bandwidth Throttling. Snap EDR jobs also can be set up to utilize compression–a technique used to compress the data before it is replicated This is most beneficial over relatively slow links. In addition, bandwidth throttling can be configured to make sure the replication job does not consume all available network bandwidth when you don’t want it do. It is actually part of the job schedule and can be set to different values at different times. For instance, at night, you might want to use all bandwidth; however, during work hours, you might want to use only a portion of your network bandwidth.
- Multi Platform/Protocol Support. Snap Server supports multiple transport and network protocols, such as TCP, UDP and AppleTalk as well as Windows CIFS/SMB, Linux/Unix NFS, Apple AFP and FTP protocols. iSCSI is also supported, which lets Snap Servers function as block-level storage over Ethernet as well as provide file services through file-based network protocols. High data growth applications, such as Microsoft Exchange or SQL Server, can be consolidated on a Snap Server by using iSCSI. Snap Server supports multiple industry-standard iSCSI software and hardware initiators, which are included in the Snap Server 520 and 650 models and are optional in the 110, 210 and 410 models.
- Cross-Platform File Replication. Snap EDR also replicates between Windows, Linux, AFP (AppleTalk Filing Protocol) machines and, of course, other Snap Servers.
- Encryption. Snap Server secures replicated data through AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) up to AES-256 bit. This provides a secure and well-tested encryption algorithm support for data being transmitted over a WAN, thus meeting data protection and regulatory compliance standards. Encryption is user-configurable, however, so companies can increase replication speeds by opting not to encrypt data sent over secure, internal networks (i.e., if they already have a WAN in place with VPNs -which already encrypt). For branch offices that do not have VPNs, however, this provides an added measure of security.
As companies move forward with plans to implement NAS for shared file services, disk-based backup, disaster recovery–or all three, the last thing they want is to acquire NAS where replication is an afterthought. Overland Storage’s new Snap Server offering avoids this scenario. Snap Server’s EDR Software provides companies with replication software that already has years of testing and production behind it along with numerous configuration options to tackle any replication challenges that lie ahead.