Virtualisation is transforming the IT landscape by consolidating servers, increasing service flexibility and extending their reach to places that were, until now, unsuitable for traditional server room hardware. To keep up with this challenge, Sangfor is proud to unveil its virtual WAN Optimisation product – vWANO.
With the release of vWANO (initially only available for VMWare based environments), we are building on our success in the WAN Optimisation (WANO) market and bringing our philosophy of enterprise products at SME prices to the virtualised world, allowing our customers to truly unlock the potential of virtualised environments in ways that won’t break already squeezed IT spending budgets.
From replicating backups of virtualised servers in remote offices, deploying new and even mobile or temporary offices to reducing cab-to-cab traffic within a server room or data centre to ease pressure on internal backbones, our virtual WANO will become an indispensible tool for providing traffic optimisation, acceleration and management.
By virtualising our product range, we are giving our customers the freedom to choose between the traditional physical and a virtual unit, ensuring they can decide on the right solution for the right situation.
Virtualisation is changing the face of IT services and with it the very way a company needs to address its disaster recovery plans. Due to how virtualised resources can be moved about and quickly created from scratch to meet demand, a traditional “end of day” backup procedure simply cannot protect your servers as it once could.
To meet these changing DR needs, Veeam developed their Backup & Replication suite with image based replication of virtualised applications and machines to provide near-Continuous Data Protection (near-CDP) for VMWare based infrastructure, and soon to cover Hyper-V too. However, adding backup and replication services to a distributed network and their DR sites will place a substantial burden onto WAN infrastructure, restricting your replication windows and opens up further problems that often prove to be very costly to resolve and will only get worse the more services you run across your network. This is where WAN Optimisation from Sangfor can really deliver.
Rather than throwing expensive bandwidth at the problem and upgrading connections, our units can be installed into a business’s existing infrastructure at a fraction of the line cost and will employ compression and block level caching technologies to dramatically reduce the data transferred across a WAN link. This will greatly decrease transfer times, improve job rates and grants IT departments a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to their backup windows.
Don’t just take our word for it, we have customers who observed a 10 times reduction in their data transfer after installing our WAN optimisation units. In another case, a 20 fold reduction was achieved causing 86.04GB of data to be reduced to a mere 4.14GB even with the highest level of native compression, converting a replication job struggling to complete across their 10MB links with ~70ms latency into one that finished with time to spare.
By effectively trivialising the amount of data being exchanged and the time spent waiting for the transfer to complete, you can finally take advantage of the on-demand promises of virtualisation to create your own private cloud; quickly moving resources from one location to another and react to current levels of demand or even to get ahead of the curve and be ready for trending changes before they happen.
Choosing WAN optimisation from Sangfor will extend its benefits beyond your Veeam deployment too, since our units can accelerate all the other services and applications present on your network rather than tying your money up in licensing and equipment designed around improving only your Veeam traffic. Not only will you solve your backup problems but you can improve staff productivity across all departments and offices in your company.
Returning to disaster recovery, reducing the impact on your WAN has the potential to transform your once a day backups - often at the end of a working day – into tailored solutions to fit the service, be it multiple times per day/week/month or a continuous stream, finally allowing you to break through the old limitations on backup windows and reduce the mean time between jobs.
FalconStor Network Storage Server Virtual Appliance (NSS VA) provides enterprise level virtualised storage, mirroring and replication to VMWare ESX based environments across corporate networks using the iSCSI protocol. The huge volumes of traffic generated by this process often requires capabilities to be scaled back to reduce the pressure on a companies' WAN infrastructure or expensive upgrades and dedicated communications hardware to realise its full benefit.
To see if WAN Optimisation from Sangfor could provide a low cost alternative solution, we decided to put our units to the test by pushing FalconStor NSS VA traffic as low as we could.
We created the scenario of a head office replicating two Windows 7 VMDK files from their main VMWare ESX server (10.10.1.194) to a backup server (10.10.34.10) across a 7Mb/s low latency WAN connection.
To find out how effective Sangfor WAN Optimisation (WANO) is on the substantial volumes of traffic FalconStor NSS VA is capable of generating, we configured a test environment shown in the diagram above.
Each NSS VA v6.15 was set up with a simple 50GB virtual LUN, a 50GB snapshot disk and a replication disk. Native compression and encryption on the replication session was turned off and “continuous replication” mode enabled between the NSS VA's, allowing our WANO units full access to the raw data stream.
Setting up and installing the first Windows 7 guest OS on the ESX server running on IP 10.10.33.194/24 allowed us to perform what is known as a “first pass”, where data is seen for the first time by our unit and cached for subsequent requests, which means the majority of the optimisation occurs as a result of our iSCSI filter and compression algorithms.
From this first pass we observed data reduction rates of 50 to 60%, subsequent passes using a second Windows 7 guest OS could then take advantage of the cached data to improve these figures to between 80 to 90% of its original traffic. Over the course of this test, the FalconStor NSS VA would have transferred over 15GB of data; our WANO units reduced this to only 3.3GB for a final reduction rate of 78%.
The following images are the reports generated by our reporting module, showcasing the dramatic impact of the Sangfor WAN Optimisation unit on this stream of data.
While the above chart shows just how effective our WANO unit was in reducing WAN traffic, the chart below really spells out the capability of the units caching abilities in driving down WAN utilisation over and above their protocol optimisation and packet compression abilities.
Whether you are using FalconStor NSS VA to replicate your data to a central store/backup solution or to a DR site for business continuity, using WAN Optimisation from Sangfor will dramatically reduce the burden placed on your WAN infrastructure. This allows you to change the way you approach disaster recovery and high availability for your company without costly line upgrades or over provisioning “just in case”.
Backups remain one of the most bandwidth intensive activities to pass across a business’s WAN infrastructure and their effectiveness can be severely affected by the quality of your connection – a fact backup solution vendors are all too aware of. This point is further compounded by the adoption of virtualisation and the demand for data and services to always be there in addition to ever evolving business practices and needs.
In response to the changing ways in which a company uses data and backs it up, NetApp produced SnapMirror which provides block-level replication of business data and has become the foundation upon which many backup and disaster recovery solutions for virtualised environments and resource provisioning are built.
With the increased traffic generated by NetApp’s software, ensuring your WAN is up to the job also becomes an important factor in the equation since line speed often dictates your overall performance. This is where WAN Optimisation from Sangfor can really deliver.
Our customers have seen astonishing improvements in their NetApp data replication rates, achieving up to a 9 fold reduction in WAN bandwidth utilisation compared to a standard SnapMirror implementation.
In one case, a customer saw the replication of a 4.5GB virtual hard disk (VHD) file drop from 4 hours transmission time across a 3Mbps line with ~150ms latency between their UK and UAE offices to just 37 minutes. This was possible due to our compression and block level caching technologies reducing the data transferred across their WAN to a tiny 550MB!
A result of this level of performance is to finally match up the on-demand promises of public and private cloud computing with the need to quickly move resources from one location to another in order to react to market trends and maximise profit generation. The best thing is how these benefits aren’t restricted to your NetApp deployment too, since our WAN Optimisation unit can accelerate the other services and applications present on your network rather than tying your money up in licensing and equipment designed around improving only your NetApp traffic.
Coming back to disaster recovery, the reduced impact on your WAN has the potential to transform your once a day backups - often at the end of a working day - into twice or more per day, finally allowing you to break through the old limitations on backup windows and reduce the mean time between each job. This lessens the degree of lost data when disaster strikes because we all know that corruption, deletion or device failures never have the decency to happen moments after your backup job has completed!