F5’s Kevin Hohenbrink: Data Replication Disaster Recovery, Part 2

February 13th, 2007 |
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Kevin Hohenbrink, product manager at F5 Networks, discusses Business Impact analysis and its importance in a data disaster recovery strategy. Hohenbrink is the optimization manager for the WANJet, F5’s appliace-based data compression and accelerator tool. This is the second of a two part interview. This is an F5 podcast.

Part one here.

Transcript:

Host: Michael Johnson – PodTech

Guest: Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Michael Johnson – PodTech

This is Part 2, in our discussion with F5 Networks’ Kevin Hohenbrink, talking about Data Replication, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity and how F5 Networks’ WANJet product can help?

Now, one term that’s floating out there is business impact analysis. Now, how is this important to the overall Business Continuity and the Disaster Recovery Plan?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, an enterprise to undertake a business impact analysis to map their dependencies between critical business operations and the people resources applications and physical IT assets that they rely upon. In today’s environments, business process rely on multiple integrated applications, database and storage systems and so on. So, in order to restore a business process in the event of a disruption, you have to be certain replicating and coordinating the recovery of all these dependent applications. When you’re defining RTO and RPO application by application and selectively replicating data, it could mean, you’re only going to get a partial restoration of your business process.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

One of the other terms that’s out there, Kevin, it’s the term Consolidation. Now, how does this relate to protecting sites that you’ve got, say in remote areas? A lot of businesses right now have data centers, information applications and people information out in remote centers, especially as we’re expanding across greater and greater areas with globalization. How does Consolidation work?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, so data loss at remote sites is currently a huge risk exposure for most enterprise customers. Leveraging existing investment and existing data centers on recovery sites to offer Consolidation Backup Solutions from remote sites where centralized facility is critical. So, Consolidation will help ensure the backups to run regularly and very successfully. They’ve improved the manageability with their central administrators by providing visibility into remote site data center protection and potentially the ability to remotely configure and manage this protection, all with the goal of enabling their remote office to recover from the localized disaster.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

So, business maybe thinking about — maybe putting in some additional bandwidth to support those remote sites that we’ve been talking about or maybe improve some of the performances, some of their existing Data Replication Technologies or expand them as well. When is it important for a business with this kind of set up, to consider WAN Optimization and the products that are out there for it? What kinds of things should they look at and what’s an important consideration?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, so when you’re considering a WAN Optimization Solution, an important aspect of the WANJet appliance is that F5 has already taken the time and made the investment to test the interoperability of WANJet appliances with independent software vendors, storage vendors and storage network vendors like EMC and Double-Take. We’ve gone to the trouble of creating case studies in customer reference and it can provide customer references to prove out its capabilities and of course its intended benefits to our interested customers.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Okay, so you have some folks that are looking at their networks. What kinds of things should they be considering in designing that network when they are looking at a Disaster Recovery Preparedness Plan?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

To achieve the desired RTO and your RPO with the greatest possible distance between the sites, enterprises are often going to design multi-site disaster recovery configurations to combine synchronous, asynchronous or even batch or schedule replication technologies. Site preparation is crucial because enterprises need locate their recovery site far enough away to escape the likeliest of local and regional threats, such as natural and man-made disasters. Synchronous Replication ensures the zero data loss because technically speaking, it does not return a right acknowledgment to their application until the data is being run to their recovery site. So, as a result, Synchronous Replication requires high-bandwidth, very low latency between the data centers in a metro area and the distance is no more than a 150kms apart.

Asynchronous on the other hand are typically deployed for long distances. With Asynchronous Replication the primary and secondary sites will be slightly out of sink and there’s some chance of data loss in the event of a disaster or a business disruption. However, applications are not forced to wait for the remote site to confirm a right acknowledgment before processing can continue and that’s the difference between those two.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

So, when companies are looking at the idea of data replication today, what are some main factors that are challenging folks and how can they be solved?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, so some of the key network challenges are, the expanding distance between DR sites. RPOs and RTOs are decreasing and a larger volume of data is needed to be replicated and of course TCP is becoming more common for all applications. This typically results in the WAN being seriously impeded from a performance perspective for it’s replication solution. So, how we’re going to resolve this? Well, you’re not going to ask the customer to replicate lost data, that’s not going to happen. Should the customer release more bandwidth? Well, an option, but it’s not a desirable choice, as this represents — as we talked about earlier, 20-30% of cost for data replication and it’s also recurring cost monthly. Accelerating a traffic — well, this is the most cost-effective method and this is what drives a solution like WANJet. Prioritizing the data replication traffic and guaranteeing bandwidth. This is what we talked about the quality of service capability of WANJet. This protects the traffic from WAN congestion or latency concerns.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Can you tell me some of the factors, WANJets got operate in the real world too. So, what would be some factors that would affect the ability of a WANJet to accelerate that replication traffic?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, so the factors you are going to need to understand are the amount of repetition in data, even at the byte level, amount of compressible capability in the data. IE text is easily compressible, images are less, so all right. Another factor is the amount of different types of traffic competing for the same bandwidth. This requires WANJet to begin enforcing bandwidth guarantees which we can significantly improve performance of the important traffic at the expense of less important traffic. As I’d alluded to you before about the quality service capability.

Then the variability of data, when traffic is highly variable, congestion levels that would otherwise bring a replication process to halt, can now be prevented using bandwidth allocation because now we’re guaranteeing the bandwidth to that replication application.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Okay, so tell me your company installs the WANJet appliance, what would be some measurable benefits that they could expect to see in their data replication strategy right away?

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, so F5 has several customers who have deployed WANJet with industry leading storage replication vendors like EMC, Symmetric Solution and Double-Take. Some of the measurable benefits we’ve found were — doing our testing was the customers can meet their RPOs and RTOs without upgrading bandwidth or data replication solution infrastructure and they were able to accelerate replication traffic as much anywhere from five-ten times faster. They also were able to utilize 70% to 90% less bandwidth because we guaranteed the bandwidth and we prioritized for data replication applications over non-data replication traffic. So, you were able to guarantee the bandwidth for your data replication traffic because you can do the prioritization.

You’re also able to mitigate the total effective latency, affecting the replication process. We also enable them in their networks to adopt dynamically to data replication applications needs and congestion. We’re also it was kind of cool it was that we move more of the control of RAM resources into the hands of the storage team to depend on it and typically they have never had that kind of control or visibility, and then lastly, we were able to encrypt all traffic using SSL and of course this is a optional benefit on all WANJets.

Customers found that they can reduce the cost of meeting these RPOs by using a fraction of the bandwidth to replicate the same data, we were also able to provide a comprehensive view of WAN performance matrix and bottleneck so we could tell them who are the trouble spots were and then we were able to reduce the tangible and intangible cause to troubleshooting which sort of raises a big question for people. Back to the customers don’t have to incur the cost of bringing out the storage replication vendor on site.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Well, Kevin you gave a lot of information here today. Is there a Website that folks can go to at F5 Networks or a particular place so they can go to find out little bit more about the WANJet Optimization Product.

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Sure, you’re going to go to F5’s new Website www.f5.com under products and you’ll search for WANJet and there is plenty of great white papers on the technology, white papers on our data replication, interoperability story with companies like Double-Take and EMC.

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Okay, so that’s www.f5.com, look under products it will we search for WANJet.Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

That’s correct

Michael Johnson – PodTech

Alright, Kevin Hohenbrink is the Product Manager for the optimization product WANJet from F5 Networks, it’s been a fascinating conversation Kevin, and hope to continue this as well as we explore more ideas about how to really make businesses and disaster recovery and threats to business and all of that easier through these types of products and it’s been great talking with you today on the Podcast.

Kevin Hohenbrink – F5 Networks

Well, thank you very much.

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