Remote replication is one of the most frequently required but least implemented technologies in storage environments today. With many operations running 24x7, companies understand the need for business continuance in the case of a disaster. But when it comes time to implement a solution, the cost and complexity of traditional remote replication options have prevented widespread use.
Next generation SANs allow for the continuous replication of snapshots between sites, ensuring business continuity at a fraction of the cost of traditional SANs. Whereas setting up remote replication with traditional SANs required specialized training, end users are now only a few clicks away from a replication solution. Data can be replicated using traditional Fibre Channel replication or cost effective IP based replication which brings disaster recovery within reach of every budget. Some highlights of current replication technology are as follows:
Thin Replication – Intelligent SANs optimize replication at the block level to provide a more efficient replication solution called thin replication. During the initial synchronization process, thin replication sends only written data instead of the allocated but unused space sent by other replication technologies. For ongoing replication, thin replication transfers only the changed data, consuming less space and lowering bandwidth costs.
More Recovery Points – Because thin replication is space efficient an end user can create an unlimited number of replays and easily replicate those replays to one or more locations. This unlimited granularity enables short recovery intervals, allowing more recovery points so you can instantly recover from any point in time.
IP Replication Reduces Costs – Utilizing a native iSCSI interface, intelligent SANs allow replication over long distance using existing Ethernet networks. IP based replication is easy to implement and manage delivering business continuance without the traditional complexity and cost. To enable IP-based replication, the end user can simply connect an ISCSI card directly into the controller for each system.
Bandwidth Optimization – Bandwidth optimization lowers transmission costs while maintaining optimal replication performance. Administrators can accurately estimate bandwidth requirements up front based on actual data, optimizing the initial bandwidth purchase. Administrators can optimize transfer rate on an hourly basis in the day and evening to maximize internet traffic during the day and replication traffic during off hours.
Intuitive Interface – Intelligent SANs set a new standard for ease-of-use when it comes to replication management, scheduling and verification. Intuitive enough for any administrator to use with no training required, replication can typically be set up in just a few clicks. Recovery can be tested on a daily basis in just a few clicks, with no impact to the operation.
Multi-Site Replication – Any number of locations can actively and simultaneously replicate to a single location or to each other without the need for duplicate configurations. For example, the primary site could consist of high performance Fibre Channel drives while a remote location is configured with lower cost SATA or SAS drives.