Because ‘big data’ isn’t just a problem for data at rest, it’s a problem for data being transferred.
Remember when we talked about operational risk comprising more than security? One of the three core components of operational risk is availability which is defined differently based not only the vertical industry you serve but also on the business goals of the application. This includes disaster recovery goals, among which off-site backups are often used as a means to address the availability of data for critical applications in the event of a disaster.
Data grows, it rarely shrinks, and operational tasks involving the migration of data – whether incremental or full backups – to secondary and even tertiary sites are critical to the successful “failover” of an organization from one site to another as well as the ability to restore data should something, heaven forbid, happen to the source. These backups are often moved across WAN connections to secondary data centers or off-site services. But the growth of data is not being mirrored by the growth of connectivity throughput and speeds, causing backup windows to grow to unacceptable intervals of time.
-- @ZimmerHDS (Harry Zimmer)
As a means to combat the increasing time required to transfer big data across WAN connections, it becomes necessary to either increase the amount of available bandwidth or decrease the size of the data. The former is an expensive proposition, especially considering the benefits are only seen periodically and the latter is a challenge unto itself. Data growth is not something that can be halted or slowed by operational needs, so it’s necessary to find the means to reduce the size of data in transit, only.
That’s where BIG-IP WOM (WAN Optimization Module) comes into play. In conjunction with NetApp SnapVault, BIG-IP WOM can dramatically impact the performance of WAN connections, decreasing the time required for backup operations and ensuring that such operationally critical tasks complete as expected.
As is often the case when we’re talking storage or WAN optimization, Don has more details on our latest solution for NetApp SnapVault.
NetApp SnapVault is an optimized disk-to-disk backup system that copies changed blocks from a source file system to a target file system. Since the backup is a copy of the source file system, restore operations are immensely simplified from traditional disk-to-tape backup models. Only blocks that have changed since the last update are copied over-the-wire, making it very efficient at local backups. When the latencies and packet loss of a WAN connection are introduced, however, SnapVault suffers just the same as any other WAN application does, and can get backed up, making meeting your Recovery Point Objectives and Recovery Time Objectives difficult. While SnapVault specializes in keeping a near-replica of your chosen file system, if that chosen file system is remote, it might just need a little help.
Enter BIG-IP WAN Optimization Module (WOM), a compression/dedupe/encryption/TCP Optimization add-on for BIG-IP LTM that improves WAN communications, and in many cases makes SnapVault over the WAN perform like SnapVault over the LAN. To achieve this, a BIG-IP WOM device is placed on the WAN links of both the source and target datacenters, then a secure tunnel is created between the two, and data is transferred over the secure tunnel. With Symmetric Adaptive Compression and Symmetric Deduplication, BIG-IP WOM can achieve enormous data transfer reductions while maintaining your data integrity. Add in TCP optimizations to improve the reliability of your WAN link and reduce the overhead of TCP in error-prone environments, and you’ve got a massive performance booster that does plenty for SnapVault. In fact, our testing (detailed in this solution profile) showed a 59x improvement over standard SnapVault installations. BIG-IP WOM also supports Rate Shaping, giving you the ability to assign priority to your SnapVault backups and insure that they receive enough bandwidth to stay up-to-date.
You can find out more about SnapVault on the NetApp website, and more about F5 BIG-IP WAN Optimization Module on F5’s website. While the results for SnapVault are astounding, BIG-IP WOM has been tested with a wide array of replication products to give you the widest set of options possible for improving your bandwidth utilization on point to point communications.
F5 BIG-IP WOM. Making long-distance SnapVault Secure, Fast, and Available.