When Disaster Strikes, SteelFusion Keeps Your Business Going

November 10, 2015 Software-Defined Edge

What lets you sleep soundly at night? For many businesses, the knowledge that they have disaster-mitigating business continuity measures in place provides that peace of mind. But business continuity (BC) is an oft-misunderstood term. What is it exactly, and how can you make sure you have it?

To find out, we turned to Riverbed’s Tom Tasker, lead consultant with professional services in EMEA, who recently wrote a blog post titled “SteelFusion: Bringing Business Continuity to the Branch.” In it, he discusses how BC differs from mere “backup processes,” and how Riverbed SteelFusion™ and Riverbed FusionSync™ can bring you a solution that’s both bulletproof and effortless to administer.

Resilience in the face of disaster

As Tasker explains, BC is the ability to get a business back up and running after a service outage. It’s the difference between being down for a few hours and a few weeks — or more. And that, it turns out, means everything.

“A huge percentage of companies that suffer a catastrophic data loss do not survive,” says Tasker. “The numbers are astounding.”

So what can you do to avoid becoming a statistic?

SteelFusion can reduce the average time to recover from branch outages by up to 96X (from 24 hours to 15 minutes), as found in research by the Taneja Group.

In the old days, you turned to backup for recovery. But, as countless enterprises have found out, when you back up data, you generally don’t back up the systems and processes that support it.

So, say a crucial yet dated database server breaks at the branch. Unfortunately, IT had forgotten about that server long ago (after all, it had been working fine for years) and now the personnel in place to support that server are long gone. With traditional backup processes, you thankfully have a copy of that data stored safely somewhere, but you don’t have the people or the infrastructure to put it back into action any time soon.

That’s where SteelFusion and business continuity come into play.

Essentially, Tasker says, “With SteelFusion’s centralization and FusionSync’s single-click failover, you can seamlessly centralize and shift around data and applications at will. If a disaster strikes, you get not just your data and apps back, but the processes and systems they rely on, too. And you get it all back wherever you want it.”

Branches: The offices IT forgot

Enterprises tend to have more robust BC measures in place for central datacenters and other obvious infrastructure hotspots. But as Tasker points out, businesses often overlook remote and branch offices. This is a problem, especially when branches can contain over 50% of production data. After all, branches and remote sites are where the majority of revenue is generated.

“Remote sites are a difficult beast to look after,” says Tasker, “and if you’re not giving them any TLC during your normal business routine, how do you expect to bring them back if it all goes horribly wrong?”

That’s where SteelFusion shines

SteelFusion centralizes and maintains working copies of production data and applications in the datacenter and projects that information out to branches. So it’s OK if the branch goes down: The latest version of that data is safely stored in the datacenter.

Once the branch is ready to resume operations, you can send the data, along with any local customizations, back out to the edge SteelFusion appliance, and business can continue.

How about if the datacenter goes down? Now it’s FusionSync’s turn

First, since SteelFusion appliances maintain local copies of all working data, branches can continue functioning until the datacenter is back online.

But let’s not forget about the downed datacenter. With FusionSync, you can seamlessly switch over to a secondary datacenter prepared for just that eventuality. With a single click, a datacenter admin can redirect all branch SteelFusion appliances to the secondary datacenter, ensuring that the centralization of branch data can continue uninterrupted.

“The beauty really is in the simplicity of it,” says Tasker. “With just a click of a button you can shift data a thousand miles [to an alternate datacenter] and nobody notices. If something important really does flake out, you can just flip all the branch offices over in a matter of minutes and the business still continues to generate revenue. The power of it is pretty phenomenal.”

Ultimate peace of mind

Tasker recently asked a customer if he thinks differently about business continuity now that he has SteelFusion in place.

“He honestly said, ‘I actually sleep at night. I don’t think about it anymore because with SteelFusion it’s automatic. And everything is centralized, so I don’t have to worry about my remote locations anymore. It’s all backed up in the datacenter, and I can redeploy a site if something goes wrong in a heartbeat from my central control. It’s fantastic.’ Could I have asked for a better endorsement?”

To learn more about how Riverbed SteelFusion can ensure business continuity in your enterprise, visit the Riverbed Zero Branch IT site or check out Build a Fully Resilient Branch Infrastructure: SteelFusion with the New FusionSync.

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