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Risky Business: When Disaster Strikes With No Recovery Plan

With experts estimating the average cost of downtime at $5,000 per minute, many organizations are at significant risk when it comes to the reliability of their data environments. WAN Virtualization can be deployed to prevent disasters from affecting business continuity and speed recovery, writes Donna Johnson of Talari Networks.

Industry Perspectives

October 8, 2013

4 Min Read
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Donna Johnson is Director of Product Marketing, Talari Networks.



Talari Networks

According to a recent survey by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council (DRP), "Seventy-two percent of survey participants, or nearly three out of four companies worldwide, are failing in terms of disaster readiness scoring ratings of either a D or F grade. Only 28 percent scored an A, B or C passing grade with the remaining 72 percent of respondents at risk."

With experts estimating the average cost of downtime at $5,000 per minute, many organizations are at significant risk when it comes to the reliability of their data environments.

Preparing for a Disaster

A key part of almost every disaster recovery plan is backups. WAN Virtualization speeds data backup through its ability to simultaneously use all bandwidth in an aggregated WAN for a single session. This removes the bandwidth restriction in any one link and sends data in parallel through multiple links, increasing throughput rates. WAN Virtualization also ensures backup processes have enough bandwidth to perform successfully because a minimum amount of bandwidth can be reserved for the backup process, preventing other, lower priority, processes from crowding out backups.

Preventing a Disaster

While true natural disasters are rare, network outages are not. According to the DRP study, 54 percent of disasters are caused by software or network failure. Handling these failures without downtime or application outage is key to a business' DR (Disaster Recovery) strategy. WAN Virtualization detects network outages within a split second and takes action to switch traffic to alternate lines and along alternate routes, preventing network outages from becoming a disaster.

Recovering From a Disaster

Many organizations have a backup data center ready to take over when a primary data center fails. WAN Virtualization's geographic high availability options mesh seamlessly with this type of recovery plan. This is done using a second WAN Virtualization unit positioned at the backup data center that is automatically maintained with the same configuration as the primary unit. When a disaster causes the backup data center to take over, WAN Virtualization units will immediately direct traffic using the inbound and outbound WAN links from the backup data center.

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How Some Companies are using WAN Virtualization as Part of their DR Strategy

Companies of all sizes, varying industries and geographic locations are using WAN Virtualization as part of their DR strategies. Although none of these companies have anything in common, the one thing they do share is the need for 24/7 network resiliency and uninterrupted business continuity. Here are some examples:

  • Maricopa Region 911 is a first-responder consortium of local municipalities in the greater Phoenix metro area that handle emergency VoIP 911 calls dispatched through 25 call centers. These calls are mission-critical and must be transmitted without the risk of any dropped links or failures. Since deploying WAN Virtualization, Maricopa has never experienced their calls centers going down – it’s about performance, reliability, cost-savings and, ultimately, saving lives.

  • TEAL Electronics specializes in the design and manufacturing of custom power subsystems for OEMs that require high power and contain sensitive electronics. Prior to using WAN Virtualization, its five manufacturing facilities worldwide remote sites were connected to the primary data center by single or bonded T1s running MPLS for corporate-wide transmission. Data from every remote site was backed up to the main data center nightly. The volume of backup data transmitted often exceeded bandwidth capacity, creating congestion on the network and backups to run beyond their off-hours window, forcing IT to manually stop and restart backups. If a T1 link went down, there was no backup circuit and the site would be cut off from the data center and any applications hosted on the line. A failure could idle an entire plant, costing thousands of dollars. After deploying WAN Virtualization, TEAL swapped expensive MPLS circuits for less costly, higher bandwidth at two to five times the bandwidth of MPLS at 74 percent of the cost; seamless failover has become transparent to users and downtime non-existent; and high productivity as employees are assured full-time access to critical applications and no longer have to worry whether a data backup has finished.

  • Meritrust Credit Union, the largest credit union in Kansas with 220 employees and 14 branches. Each branch was connected to the data center over a single 1.544 Mbps T1 circuit. If a link went down, that branch would lose connectivity to both applications and data hosted at the central site. After switching to WAN Virtualization, Meritrust achieved seamless failover of network links by intelligently rerouting traffic, full bandwidth utilization, no dropped sessions and a fully integrated disaster recovery strategy that ensures a smooth switch to the backup data center.

By using WAN Virtualization technology as a key part of any DR strategy, network operators can ensure a more resilient network topology and make it much less likely for a single link failure, link congestion, or even a complete data center shut down to become a catastrophic disaster.

Industry Perspectives is a content channel at Data Center Knowledge highlighting thought leadership in the data center arena. See our guidelines and submission process for information on participating. View previously published Industry Perspectives in our Knowledge Library.

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