Tactical Advice

WAN Optimization: Addressing Disaster Recovery and Security Concerns

Using WAN optimization actually bolsters disaster recovery and security efforts for IT workers.
WAN Optimization: Addressing Disaster Recovery and Security Concerns

For the large organization, a typical infrastructure scenario will include several centralized data centers that may even be located on different continents to serve global operations. Over time, these hubs generally will expand the data they handle as well as the applications they push out to far-flung users.

In addition, as the enterprise consolidates to take advantage of data center capacity, many are migrating to virtualized environments. Keep in mind, while this reduces the footprint, it also adds to network traffic.

In such a scenario, it can prove expensive to maintain effective replication of the data and provide adequate failover for applications. The result can leave the organization exposed without a viable disaster recovery approach, notes Nik Rouda, director of marketing, solutions and verticals at Riverbed Technology.

“We have seen an increased use of networks for disaster recovery in the past,” he adds. “But it has been very expensive to perform backup and replication across the WAN.”

The cost associated with disaster recovery is dramatically decreased on an optimized network. This is because moving data is simpler and cheaper to do, which means DR strategies are more affordable.

But beyond cost factors, WAN optimization also alleviates the technical constraint of moving massive amounts of information over long distances. “The challenge is to keep the data centers in sync with one another,” according to Mark Urban, senior director of product marketing at Blue Coat Systems. “Firms also want to be able to constantly move vast amounts of data between them.”

Center-to-center backup and replication thus becomes practical and feasible for organizations, and freeing bandwidth creates the opportunity to generate a high-availability network and resources. “More data can be protected,” Rouda says. “What’s more, backups can be more frequent and data recovered much faster, which makes recovering from a disaster easier and cheaper.”

The ability to recover quickly is not up for debate, Rouda says. He points to the recent spate of outages that several household-brand companies have experienced. “There have been some big outages recently, and companies need to understand the broader range of solutions and the need for comprehensive protection.” WAN optimization offers a big step toward that protection.

Safety First with WAN Optimization

One concern many companies have about WAN optimization is security. Won’t increasing the amount of data going across the network spawn increased security needs? By bumping up the speed and volume of data, the ability of existing security solutions to handle the increased load should certainly be assessed.

“Security people are seeing the effect of the ‘tyranny of the numbers,’” says Mark Kadrich, an independent consultant and former head of The Security Consortium. “More traffic means there is more to inspect in order to find that golden nugget telling us there is a breach.”

With the focus on network infrastructure moving from the LAN to the WAN, with large optimized connections and different features being applied such as load balancing, it gets tricky for security tools to perform well.

“Many companies are operating at near capacity,” Kadrich says, “In addition, there is a trade-off between increasing network loads by several orders of magnitude and the need to inspect traffic.”

What this means is that companies must include both the network providers and security enforcers on their IT teams in the optimization process. “It comes down to how well we distribute resources,” says Kadrich.

Despite the concerns, there is a major advantage for the corporate infrastructure in optimizing WAN traffic and creating a matching information assurance strategy, Kadrich acknowledges. Specifically, it strengthens a business’s disaster recovery capabilities.

Sign up for our e-newsletter

About the Author

Alan Joch

Alan Joch

Alan Joch has been an independent business and technology writer for more than a decade. His expertise includes server and desktop virtualization, cloud computing, emerging mobile applications, cybersecurity and green IT. Follow him on Twitter @alanallegro

Security

Heartbleed: What Should Your... |
One of the biggest security vulnerabilities has almost every user and every industry...
Why Businesses Need a Next-G... |
Devices investigate patterns that could indicate malicious activity.
Review: HP TippingPoint S105... |
Next-generation firewall can easily replace a stand-alone intrusion prevention system....

Storage

The New Backup Utility Proce... |
Just getting used to the Windows 8 workflow? Prepare for a change.
How to Perform Traditional W... |
With previous versions going unused, Microsoft radically reimagined the backup utility in...
5 Easy Ways to Build a Bette... |
While large enterprises have the resources of an entire IT department behind them, these...

Infrastructure Optimization

Businesses Must Step Careful... |
Slow and steady wins the race as businesses migrate IT operations to service providers,...
Why Cloud Security Is More E... |
Cloud protection services enable companies to keep up with security threats while...
Ensure Uptime Is in Your Dat... |
Power and cooling solutions support disaster recovery and create cost savings and...

Networking

Securing the Internet of Thi... |
As excitement around the connected-device future grows, technology vendors seek ways to...
How to Maximize WAN Bandwidt... |
Understand six common problems that plague wide area networks — and how to address them.
Linksys Makes a Comeback in... |
The networking vendor introduced several new Smart Switch products at Interop this week.

Mobile & Wireless

Mobility: A Foundational Pie... |
Other technologies rely on mobile computing, which has the power to change lives, Lextech...
Now that Office for iPad Is... |
After waiting awhile for Microsoft’s productivity suite to arrive, professionals who use...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.

Hardware & Software

Review: HP TippingPoint S105... |
Next-generation firewall can easily replace a stand-alone intrusion prevention system....
New Challenges in Software M... |
IT trends such as cloud, virtualization and BYOD pose serious hurdles for software...
Visualization Can Help Busin... |
Companies need to put their data in formats that make it consumable anytime, anywhere.