McData pushes for data backup at the core

The storage networking company touts product and services that bring data residing at branch offices, back to the core for better protection.
Written by Jeanne Lim, Contributor

SINGAPORE--U.S.-based storage networking company McData is advocating a new approach to protecting corporate data sitting in remote sites--by consolidating all distributed data at the organization's data center instead.

According to the company's president, chairman and CEO, John Kelley, bringing data held at branch offices back to the core network for protection offers several benefits.

First, it allows all remote data to be protected by data center processes, which offers more robust data protection, he told ZDNet Asia. Second, this approach frees up bandwidth over the WAN (wide area network) thereby improving performance of other applications and improving file-sharing across the enterprise, he said.

Organizations which must adhere to regulatory compliance need to be more conscientious about how they back up data at remote sites, Kelley noted. Recovering data quickly is one challenge that these organizations have to resolve, he added.

For example, a company headquartered in Singapore may require its e-mail residing in its Hong Kong office to be backed up regularly on the company's storage network in Singapore, he said. An e-mail with a 16MB PowerPoint attachment typically takes about 4 to 5 minutes before the data file is transferred, and backed up, from Hong Kong to Singapore. With the ROC (remote office consolidation), e-mail messages of this size will take only 4 to 5 seconds to be transferred, he added.

The time taken is even more significant if, say, 200 files need to be backed up. "Two hundred files [each] in 4 to 5 minutes is a lot of hours," said Kelley, noting that the back-end process is transparent to the user.

So, even though the data is consolidated at the Singapore office using ROC, employees located in Hong Kong will assume their data files are locally stored because of the better network performance over WAN, enabled by compression and routing technologies.

In fact, according to Paul Rath, vice president of McData's Asia-Pacific sales and services division, the company has already demonstrated a proof-of-concept for its ROC offering at China's English TV network CCTV Channel 9 (CCTV-9), earlier this year.

Rath claimed that without having to change its existing infrastructure, CCTV-9 managed to achieve a 73-fold improvement in data backup performance. The ROC set of products and services used in this deployment includes WAN data services (WDS), bandwidth services, fiber channel SAN (storage area network) switching, data replication, and professional services and support.

The WDS market is one that includes WAFS (wide area file services) and WAN optimization. WDS technologies enhance application and file access performance across the WAN, allowing for LAN-like access to data in the centralized data center.

McData offers WDS products through an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partnership with networking startup Riverbed, and its bandwidth services through last year's acquisition of Computer Network Technology (CNT). McData's bandwidth services include telecommunications bandwidth and WAN monitoring and management.

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