HyperIP boosts data-replication efficiency
NetEx appliance speeds storage transfers across noisy WAN links
See correction at end of review
Remote replication of storage is more popular today than ever, and it promises to become even more important, thanks to government regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley that require data replication. To transport the data, some organizations lease dark fiber and run long-distance FC (Fibre Channel) connections, but this approach can be very expensive, due to the equipment and the leased lines. The alternative is to use an IP storage protocol over a TCP/IP WAN, but this method also has a drawback, namely the inherent inefficiency of TCP/IP for transmitting storage protocols.
Storage protocols tend to assume that each packet will get through in the right order and with minimal delay. However, TCP/IP is not engineered to ensure either of these things; all the packets will get through, but they won’t necessarily be delivered in the order they’re sent. Instead, they’ll be reassembled at the receiver. Given the amorphous nature of the Internet, timely delivery is also impossible to guarantee. Both of these conditions play havoc with storage replication over IP via the Internet.
The NetEx HyperIP appliance is designed to address these issues with three functions: counteracting the effects of latency over a WAN link; compressing data at the block level; and increasing the tolerance of TCP applications for latency, jitter, bit error rate, and bandwidth variation. It is designed to work across private (point-to-point leased line) WAN connections, but it will improve tunnels through the Internet as well.
This is a relatively specialized appliance, designed to improve the performance of storage applications over a TCP/IP WAN; it does, however, work with other types of TCP/IP traffic. The HyperIP doesn't so much accelerate traffic as negate the effects of a poor WAN connection or network.
Built for storage
The HyperIP is certified to support various major storage applications from companies including EMC, IBM Tivoli, McData, Microsoft, Network Appliance, NSI, Oracle, and Veritas. Any other vendors’ applications that use storage over IP protocols should work, as well.
Setting up the HyperIP is straightforward. Note that there must be a HyperIP appliance on each end of a connection. The interface is simple, although it is not wizard-driven. Each device must be configured separately; there is no unified management of all devices because they are all on separate networks.
The HyperIP has two basic configurations: gateway mode and proxy mode. In the gateway mode, your storage application uses the HyperIP as its TCP gateway, and the appliance then routes traffic to the WAN. In the proxy mode, the HyperIP serves as a proxy to the storage app, which allows greater control of routing, because many applications can specify that only certain data goes through the proxy and other data does not. In either case, only traffic that uses the HyperIP’s address as gateway or proxy goes through the HyperIP; normal traffic is not disrupted. The HyperIP can also be configured in a hot standby configuration for fail-over.