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Breaking Open the Backup and Recovery WAN Bottleneck

The statement that “data growth is continuing at an exponential rate” rarely ever conveys the exact location of the data that is growing so fast. But it just so happens that a consensus of industry analysts agree the majority of this rapidly growing pool of corporate data (up to 60 percent) now resides at remote corporate offices. While more companies now recognize that the data created and stored at remote sites is vital to their ongoing success, protecting it presents a unique set of challenges. Of these challenges, moving backup data over corporate WANs is one of greatest.

Companies now recognize that they need better ways to centralize the management and protection of this data. But this can be difficult to implement as moving data to a central location requires sufficient network bandwidth between the data center and each remote office along with the needed technical expertise for implementation and administration.

Complicating the process, network bandwidth is neither an infinite resource nor cheap. So when transmitting data from remote offices back to a central location for purposes such as backup and recovery, companies are very prudent in how they procure and utilize network bandwidth. Furthermore, all network transmissions between remote sites and a central location are susceptible to latencies caused by congestion and faulty connections.

So when looking for solutions, it is imperative that any option should include features that help minimize bandwidth issues. Scheduling, backup and recovery restart, throttling, compression and deduplication are just some of the features needed to successfully transmit backup data to and from remote sites.

Overland Storage’s new REO Compass is specifically designed for moving backup data between an enterprise’s geographically distributed offices. Using REO Compass, distributed enterprises can move backup data efficiently, securely and without manual intervention regardless of distance over WAN links. When sending data across a WAN, REO Compass uses capacity optimization techniques, such as deduplication, compression, and synchronization, to dramatically reduce the amount of backup data, which in turn reduces the amount of network bandwidth needed for data transmission. Here is how REO Compass utilizes these specific technologies:

  • Deduplication: REO Compass uses block deduplication technologies to “fingerprint” data based on content to accurately identify unique data structures across clients and locations. When the sending REO Compass pulls data from the remote office, it initiates a handshake between the sending and receiving REO Compasses to determine what new or changed data should be sent. If the receiving REO Compass has already seen the data, only a simple block pointer is sent.
  • Compression: Data is compressed before sending to the destination to reduce the amount of network bandwidth required. Once the data is received by the REO Compass at the destination site, it is decompressed and reconstructed in its original format.
  • Synchronization: As source locations transmit information to a central site, it is conceivable the central site will receive the same data from multiple remote sites. To prevent the creation of redundant data, the REO Compass at the central site synchronizes all data received, so the same data is not sent or stored multiple times.

The fact that REO Compass is an appliance allows companies to place it at remote offices and immediately begin protecting their data. REO Compass is designed to complement, as opposed to replace, current solutions. This makes it very attractive for companies with existing backup and recovery or archival solutions. Using REO Compass makes possible the creation of remote, centralized and disaster recovery sites that are configurable in a number of replication options including: one-to-one, one-to-many, many-to-one or many-to-many. When properly designed, the flexibility to configure each REO Compass as a source, target or mixture enables an organization to direct the movement of data not only to meet business requirements but also control bandwidth traffic.

Companies often get caught up in managing the explosive data growth within their data centers while ignoring data growth that is equally dramatic at remote offices. In reality, this data oftentimes demands as much, if not more, attention from a backup and recovery perspective than data in the main office. With REO Compass, companies have the first solution that puts them in position to keep all their current backup and recovery hardware, software and processes in place while providing newfound flexibility to bring everything back to a central location over existing WAN links.


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