Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Leveraging Data Center Interconnect For Business Continuity

It’s Time to Reengineer the Wide Area Network
Similar to the data center, organizations are growing increasingly reliant on the wide area network that connects data centers to help them run their businesses.  While the WAN is key to data backup plans for maintaining business continuity, many WAN links aren’t up to the task. Standards-based data center interconnect technology could help you keep operating in the face of a disaster, but some reengineering of the WAN might be in order if the plan is going to work.

Business continuity planning is not always a top priority, since many view it as insurance and not a business driver.  However, you might be able to combine efforts to help you achieve your goals. For instance, transitioning to a private cloud may require WAN links to be reengineered to provide bandwidth on demand so that virtualized workloads can move between data centers based on user demand and resource utilization. This has the added benefit of supporting the varying bandwidth requirements for backing up data between data centers.

Business Continuity and DCI Strategies
When you use DCI to replicate data between geographically distributed locations you will want to configure your LAN connections so that application and storage traffic can flow between data centers as needed to so that you can maximize application availability and provide data redundancy in the case of an outage. Here are some things to think about.

Actions such as disk writes to storage in a distant data center are sensitive to latency so you will want sufficient bandwidth and fast response times in WAN connections, to ensure minimum latency and jitter, which impact data throughput. Since WAN links remain relatively expensive, WAN load balancing and dynamic bandwidth allocation is essential to keep DCI cost-effective and resilient. At Interop, Las Vegas, Juniper recently demonstrated how SDN on the MX Series routers can be used for bandwidth calendaring, creating bandwidth on demand.

Automation is an important consideration for business continuity, as human error and the ensuing disruptions can cause delays and failures in recovery. Once you extend your storage network between data centers, you can automate storage data failover during an event with no user intervention required. You can also ensure that your network equipment is highly available, and automation can help with that, too. By using the full-featured Junos Script automation capabilities on the MX Series, you can reduce the time it takes to respond to network events and minimize or eliminate network downtime.

The Network Must Support the Business
By re-engineering the WAN infrastructure, your company can design and implement a robust business continuity plan utilizing standards-based DCI as the transport mechanism.  This lets you cut the cost of your business continuity plan while reducing failover time in the event of a disaster. Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS) enables multiple sites to be connected in a single bridged domain over the network. By virtualizing the network path with VPLS, you can collapse the number of physical links between data centers and replace them with virtual circuits, thereby reducing WAN operating expenses. VPLS is supported on Junipers’ MX Series routers that connect your data centers.

Learn about DCI for Business Continuity
For more information on how to reengineer the network using DCI see this white paper, "Leveraging Data Center Interconnect for Business Continuity" and to learn about how to avoid the high costs of downtime and the pitfalls in network design view this webinar, "Key Considerations in Designing for Data Center Business Continuity."


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