Disaster Recovery with the Public Cloud and Whitewater Cloud Storage Gateways

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1 WHITE PAPER Disaster Recovery with the Public Cloud and Whitewater Cloud Storage Gateways Simplifying and making DR affordable and achievable

2 Executive Summary The explosion of 24x7 connectivity and prevalence of expectations of constant availability of any data wherever and whenever needed has exposed some serious shortcomings in how data is protected and managed such that these increasingly aggressive objectives can be met. Consumers want access to their account information, banks need constant access to transactional data, municipal organizations are required to retrieve data critical to public safety regardless of date or time of day. And these demands for instant access to data are only going to intensify. Challenging under the best of conditions, meeting these intensifying requirements can be nearly impossible in the event of a disaster without a well-vetted disaster recovery (DR) plan that is based on flexible and highly-responsive infrastructure. This paper examines various technologies and strategies that have traditionally been the basis for DR planning, as well as new methodologies that have arisen around the public cloud. For those situations where a cloud-based DR strategy makes sense, specific best practice recommendations and implementation steps are described. Frequent references will be made to a related paper published by Enterprise Strategy Group titled Practical Advice for Streamlining Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery Solutions, available at DR Overview Recent world events have shown how impactful a disruption of data availability can be to an organization s operations. Whether this disruption is due to a natural or man-made disaster does not matter to IT administrators trying to respond to urgent demands for data restoration in today s globally-connected enterprise. Their primary objective is to recover from these disruptions and return to a normal operating state as quickly as possible. A sound DR plan will minimize the length of disruption and impact on business operations. In most organizations, all data is not created equal. Going hours or days without being able to access an employee performance review from last year will not likely lead to urgent calls to IT demanding immediate attention; however, hindering sales or customer support due to database inaccessibility, could shorten considerably the career of a datacenter manager. So the prioritization and restoration of data and service availability are key components to a successful DR plan. Approaches to DR There are many ways organizations plan for disasters and their potential for datacenter disruption. Play the odds: One far too common strategy is to hope for the best with no DR strategy. In many cases, IT administrators have limited budgets and a large backlog of tasks to perform. Like individuals saving for retirement or governments building a rainy day fund, organizations understand the importance of being able to recover from disasters but find it challenging to fund a strong DR plan and take time away from daily operations to devote to developing and testing such a plan. While they often have every intention to add DR to their work plan, they tend to gamble that they will be able to get around to it or find the budget for it before a disaster eventually strikes. So they play the odds, which can work, at least until either a disaster strikes or someone does a risk analysis on their IT operations. At that point, though, it is too late. Tape vaulting: Another way that organizations attempt to plan for DR is based on the fact that they backup their infrastructure regularly to tape. Tape has been around a very long time and many administrators continue to leverage it in at least part of their regular backup process. The thinking here is that since the datacenter has been backed up to tape, should that datacenter get hit with a disaster, the most recent backup can be used at a recovery site to restore operations. There are some major flaws in that strategy. First, tapes are usually stored in an offsite location, which means in the middle of managing the disaster, an IT administrator has to identify which specific tapes are needed for restoration, where they are located, and how to get them to the recovery site. The administrators of the off-site tape vault have to locate the requested tapes, load them onto a truck, and ship them to the recovery site. The tapes must then be unloaded, organized, mounted in tape drives, and monitored as the data is being taken from tape and used to restore datacenter operations. All of this takes a great deal of coordination and precision, which is difficult in normal operations let alone while trying to recover from a disaster. But most importantly, it is slow, depending on response times of the 2011 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 1

3 vaulting company, drivers, and recovery site operators, and slowness is the last thing that is needed when customers and sales people are screaming for data. Second, even if someone is lucky enough to rapidly identify exactly which tapes are needed and the vaulting company responds instantly to the request by locating, shipping, and delivering exactly the tapes that were requested instantly to the recovery site, each of those tapes must be loaded into a tape drive, searched for the correct backup files, and then accessed to pull the necessary data. In addition to being slow, such a process is prone to human error, tape degradation, or equipment malfunction. It also requires that recovery sites be provisioned with perhaps multiple generations of the necessary but costly tape infrastructure in order to use the tapes once they arrive from the vaulting site. So while tape is familiar to IT administrators, it is a far-from-ideal medium to put at the core of an effective DR plan. Offsite disk: The most common DR alternative to tape is offsite disk. The typical scenario is for an organization to operate two datacenters, with each being the DR site for the other. In these cases, when completed, each backup job is replicated to the other datacenter real time or on a regular basis and should a disaster strike one datacenter, those remote backup files can be used to restore that datacenter s key operations in the other datacenter. This system has the advantages of restoration speed to meet stringent recovery time objectives (RTO), ability to make frequent backups to meet aggressive recovery point objectives (RPO), and direct control/ownership of the entire infrastructure. Drawbacks include the very high cost of customer-owned disk (even with deduplication), the need to provision, operate, and manage separate datacenters, and the risk of data corruption/loss at the second datacenter. In many cases, organizations have chosen to live with the drawbacks of this strategy in order to avoid the pitfalls of relying on tape. Public cloud storage: More recently, another alternative DR strategy has gotten serious consideration: replicating to the public cloud. The public cloud is generally-available storage capacity from a 3 rd -party provider accessed over the WAN. It offers the reliability and ease of use of disk with a cost profile closer to tape. In addition to the cost advantage, public cloud capacity is highly elastic, so customers only have to pay for the storage they use at any given time. Because of the massive scale and redundancy built into standard public cloud offerings, both cost and data availability of the public cloud generally exceed what most organizations can achieve by themselves with their own facilities. In addition, public cloud users can outsource DR infrastructure management to their service providers while tapping into the near unlimited capacity and unmatched scalability that the cloud offers. There are, however, some areas of concern for organizations considering adopting the public cloud as part of their DR strategy. Data security is usually listed as the top concern held by IT professionals evaluating the public cloud due to the fact that they do not own and control the infrastructure holding the data. This also leads them to perceive there to be risk around public cloud performance and service availability. Since DR planning is done to reduce risk, these IT professionals question whether the public cloud can play a role in DR. These and other concerns can be directly addressed, however, by using a Whitewater cloud storage gateway from Riverbed. Building a DR Strategy Around Whitewater Riverbed developed its Whitewater cloud storage gateway to enable organizations to access the benefits of public cloud storage with minimal disruption and risk. Whitewater provides drop-in integration with all major backup infrastructure and public cloud storage providers APIs, requiring no change to existing technology or processes. In addition to providing instant access to cloud storage, Whitewater also improves backup performance by providing industry-leading deduplication and compression to accelerate data transfer speeds and minimize storage capacity (cost) required, and dual-level encryption (SSL v3 and AES 256 bit) to ensure data security both in transit and at rest. Overall backup costs can be reduced 30-50% compared to tape and disk. Whitewater addresses concerns about security, performance, cost, and availability in an optimized appliance, either physical or virtual. Whitewater can also anchor a robust DR plan. How to leverage Whitewater to build effective DR strategies depends on the structure of the IT environment, e.g., the number, location, and ownership of datacenters. Single Datacenter: For organizations that own and operate only a single datacenter, an effective DR strategy will likely involve leveraging some form of 3 rd -party site for DR purposes. The benefits of this strategy are the avoidance of capital outlays and data center management along with the flexibility to engage whichever provider best meets DR needs at any given time. The drawbacks are the need to find a provider with the capabilities needed to spin up datacenter operations and to craft service level agreements (SLAs) that ensure security and access to infrastructure whenever it might be needed. This strategy makes sense 2011 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 2

4 when there is no operational need for multiple datacenters. Multiple Datacenters: When an organization owns multiple datacenters that have sufficient capacity to be used for cross-site replication, each datacenter can serve as a DR site for some other datacenter. This operates under the same principle as the single datacenter/3 rd -party recovery site model except that the organization owns, provisions, and manages the entire infrastructure. The benefits and drawbacks are the inverse of the single datacenter model. Benefits are avoiding the need to craft such bulletproof SLAs and customizing the infrastructure to meet the organization s specific needs. Drawbacks are the need for capital outlays for infrastructure, the additional management overhead, and the relative inflexibility in responding to shifting organizational needs. This strategy makes sense when an organization must maintain multiple datacenters for performance, compliance, or operational reasons. Cloud: When the cloud is used for some datacenter operations, it can be seen from a DR standpoint as a 3 rd -party site. Many of the same benefits and drawbacks apply as in that case except that for most mainstream cloud providers, there is very little chance that extra capacity requirements for DR cannot be met and multiple copies of data are generally made by the cloud provider to maximize availability. Whichever DR infrastructure is chosen by an organization, preparing an effective DR strategy involves supporting the RTO and RPO requirements of the SLAs that may be in place, determining the recovery order based on tiers of criticality that will restore IT operations, and making sure that the appropriate resources are available and are sized correctly to satisfy those requirements. Whitewater cloud storage gateways for data protection can act as a core element of such a robust strategy. With Whitewater, the only requirements for DR are a physical or virtual Whitewater appliance, the configuration for the original Whitewater gateway, and a recovery site. Whitewater appliances can be deployed quickly at a secondary DR datacenter, a 3 rd - party DR datacenter, or potentially as a virtual appliance within a cloud compute environment. All tape and vaulting can be eliminated. Since the data is disk based, businesses can eliminate all tape-related integrity issues that occur with classic tapebased DR solutions. In addition, as data can be quickly recovered through optimized data restore across the WAN and rehydrated upon arrival to the Whitewater appliance, data recovery can commence immediately, avoiding the additional downtime associated with configuring, loading, and mounting tapes prior to recovering data. At the same time, the capacity forecasting, capital outlays, infrastructure support, data integrity risks, and management overhead of using offsite disk for DR can be avoided. Whitewater s unique benefits also extend DR beyond the traditional datacenter and DR center scenarios, allowing organizations to potentially recover business services across multiple recovery sites simultaneously. Where typically you would have to recover services on one site, you could now access and recover data through Whitewater to multiple sites simultaneously, leveraging the cloud storage reach to bring down data at multiple locations where services are needed or available. This allows businesses to consider tiers of criticality that can be recovered in parallel, rather than sequentially. When a disaster strikes and brings down a datacenter, recovery can be quickly achieved by following a relatively simple procedure with Whitewater. 1. Deploy a new Whitewater gateway at the recovery site. The Whitewater used can be either an ESX-based virtual version or one of the many flavors of physical version that are available. 2. Import the original Whitewater configuration to the newly deployed Whitewater. 3. Initiate the Whitewater Replication Recovery procedure and begin the data recovery using the data protection software selected. With Whitewater gateways as part of a DR strategy, disruptions due to disaster can be minimized and operations can recovery quickly and at minimal cost. Conclusion The reasons so many companies have either no DR plan or one that is inadequate to their needs are well known: Lack of time, lack of budget, and/or perceived complexity of DR planning. All these reasons have been used to rationalize putting DR planning lower on the priority list but that no longer needs to be the case. Deploying Whitewater to help manage data protection in an IT infrastructure provides a cost-effective, fast, and efficient core technology to enable a robust DR capability that avoids the multiple drawbacks of strategies dependent on tape or customer Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 3

5 owned disk. Low capital and bandwidth cost; no forward provisioning; no tape loading, transport, or retrieval, no complex disk array maintenance; instantly-scalable capacity; anywhere/anytime availability; rapid recovery; data security. Whitewater provides all these benefits while enabling easily-defined and -managed DR capabilities. With Whitewater cloud storage gateways for data protection, DR readiness can now be achieved easily by a broad range of organizations. About Riverbed Riverbed is the IT performance company. WAN optimization solutions from Riverbed liberate businesses from common IT constraints by increasing application performance, enabling consolidation, and providing enterprise-wide network and application visibility all while eliminating the need to increase bandwidth, storage or servers. Thousands of companies trust Riverbed to deliver greater productivity and cost savings by making their IT infrastructure faster, less expensive and more responsive. Riverbed solutions are also available as managed services through select providers. Additional information about Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD) is available at Riverbed Technology, Inc. 199 Fremont Street San Francisco, CA Tel: (415) Riverbed Technology Ltd. Farley Hall, London Road, Level 2 Binfield, Bracknell Berks RG42 4EU Tel: Riverbed Technology Pte. Ltd. 391A Orchard Road #22-06/10 Ngee Ann City Tower A Singapore Tel: Riverbed Technology K.K. Shiba-Koen Plaza Building 9F 3-6-9, Shiba, Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan Tel: Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 4

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