Many wide area network (WAN) optimization vendors offer products that improve WAN links for regional and branch offices, but data center disaster recovery and business continuity planning present an entirely different set of requirements for WAN optimization technology.
Large enterprises rely on remote replication of data between their primary and secondary data centers for disaster recovery preparedness. In order to provide near real-time replication between these sites, the WAN links have to be both high bandwidth and highly reliable. WAN optimization tools for data center disaster recovery must meet two core requirements. They must offer the scalability that enterprises will need as their data load grows. They must also offer high performance, with the ability to handle at least 500 Mbps of optimized WAN traffic.
The five WAN optimization vendors below offer products that specifically support disaster recovery data center replication and offer the scalability and performance needed to make near zero recovery point objectives.
• F5 Networks offers WAN optimization as a module on its BIG-IP platform, which also includes security and application delivery controller features. BIG-IP is available in hardware appliances from thin 1U models to the VIPRION chassis that offers up to four modular blades. F5 claims it can achieve 12 Gbps of WAN compression out its top end, multi-core hardware appliance. F5 also integrates both local and global traffic management, enabling an all-in-one solution that can optimize WAN traffic during replication and also redirect users to the failover site in the event of a primary site outage or disaster.
• Startup Infineta Systems, which emerged from stealth mode in May 2010, has a specific WAN optimization focus on disaster recovery and data center replication. Infineta claims that its appliance, the Velocity Dedupe Engine, will deduplicate packets at 10 Gbps and provide a 80-90% reduction of the data actually sent across the WAN during replication.
• Netex has been in the WAN optimization market since it spun out of StorageTek in 1999. Its HyperIP virtual appliance focuses entirely on moving large volumes of data across WAN links. According to the vendor, the HyperIP product can scale up to support 622 Mbps of WAN traffic. Netex specifies that customers using its product for data center replication use a virtual machine configured with a 2 Ghz processor, 1GB of RAM, and ideally, at least one dedicated physical Ethernet port in each data center.
• Riverbed Technology has been a leader in the WAN optimization market for years with its Steelhead products. Riverbed claims its high-end Steelhead hardware appliances can each support up to 1 Gbps of WAN traffic for high-end data centers.
• Silver Peak touts its technology as "data center class WAN optimization.” It offers a full line of physical and virtual WAN optimization appliances. It claims its high-end NX hardware platform can support 1Gbps speeds of WAN traffic. Silver Peak also highlights its error correction technologies in minimizing packet loss between sites.