Branch Backup Can Be a Complicated Mess, but SteelFusion Can Straighten Things Out

December 1, 2015 Software-Defined Edge

Data is the lifeblood of business — as such, you’d expect businesses to take better care of it. Yet archaic, human-reliant data-backup processes rule — especially at the branch — becoming more and more risk-prone as your data footprint grows.

(Also, see last month’s companion article: “When Disaster Strikes, SteelFusion Keeps Your Business Going.“)

That’s where Riverbed SteelFusion™ comes in, centralizing all your edge data in the datacenter, where your data backup processes are reliable and efficient.

“With SteelFusion, the data backup process becomes continuous and automated, which means you no longer need to worry about provisioning expensive data backup hardware and software at the branch — not to mention the error-prone people to manage them,” says Tom Tasker, Riverbed’s EMEA Lead Consultant for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

Read on to learn how SteelFusion can help cut your data backup costs and cut human error out of the data backup equation.

Plug the branch-backup black hole

Data backup isn’t glamorous, but it’s crucial to business continuity and data recovery. Unfortunately, the out-of-sight nature of data backup means countless companies rarely perceive how important it is.

But eventually the day will come when those backups are actually needed. A backup is like insurance: The second you need it, you’re incredibly relieved it’s there. Whether the organization’s existing procedures created valid data backups is another question.

What I found was that using the [SteelFusion] converged infrastructure allowed me then to use all the enterprise-level solutions I had in the datacenter and send that out to the remote sites so I didn’t have to develop a remote-site DR solution . . . I could use what I had in the datacenter and simply extend that out using SteelFusion, and in our case the choice was pretty obvious . . . It saved us a ton of time and a ton of money.
         — Jonathan Harris, Head of Network Engineering at Northwest Pipe

This is especially true at the branch, where even everyday operations (no matter how crucial to the business they are) can be easily overlooked. After all, human nature says everything has been running fine for years, so that should continue, right?

What’s more, as your number of branches grows, so too does your number of remote data silos, each requiring its own data backup processes. “This can cost staff hours, software licenses, hardware, and attentive management of these site-specific factors. Messy would be one word to describe it. Inefficient, wasteful, and unreliable are some others,” says Tasker.

The SteelFusion solution, on the other hand, is easy, efficient, and automatic. Simply provision a SteelFusion Edge appliance at the branch and a SteelFusion Core appliance at the datacenter and let them work their magic. Any changes made to a particular document or app at the branch are logged by the SteelFusion Edge appliance, which then sends those changes back to the datacenter, where it can be backed up using best practices. It’s that simple.

The implications are profound. For one, there’s no more need for branch-specific data backup procedures; now the main datacenter’s existing, well-documented, well-understood backup process takes care of the data backup needs of the entire organization. The human error factor greatly diminishes.

And thanks to SteelFusion, branch backup no longer requires far-flung IT staffers, untold numbers of additional software licenses, site-specific hardware, or any of the other costly drawbacks of traditional branch backup.

To err is human, to not is SteelFusion

Human error is the culprit of countless corporate backup horror stories. As the old IT adage goes, a branch IT admin dutifully set his backup processes in motion every evening before leaving the office. He then slept soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that his data was secure. Months later, when a recovery was needed, he realized that his backup tapes were blank. After a frantic investigation, the trail led to an office manager, who unbeknownst to anyone, would turn off the server room’s power every night before heading home.

With SteelFusion, you can effectively take human error out of the backup equation.
         — Tom Tasker, Riverbed’s EMEA Lead Consultant for Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Let’s face it: Humans make mistakes. And when your data-backup processes rely on humans performing repetitive tasks on a continual basis, mistakes will be made.

“With SteelFusion, you can effectively take human error out of the data backup equation,” says Tasker. The backup process is continual and automated, and if something goes wrong at the branch, you can rest easy knowing that your data is safe and sound in the datacenter.

Bonus: FusionSync brings resiliency to the datacenter

What about the datacenter? With SteelFusion FusionSync, you can add an extra layer of redundancy to SteelFusion’s unique brand of backup — especially as it pertains to datacenter resiliency.

“Say your datacenter goes down. If you have FusionSync in place,” says Tasker,” you can seamlessly switch over to a secondary datacenter with the click of a button. Then your SteelFusion Edge appliances can be connected to that new datacenter, and SteelFusion’s backup solution continues on as usual.”

Smarter, better, easier

Branch-based backup can be expensive and error-prone. But with SteelFusion, you can greatly reduce the costs and complexities of keeping your data safe. And can you really put a price on peace of mind?

To learn more about how SteelFusion can benefit your enterprise, visit the Riverbed Zero Branch IT site. And don’t forget to check out Tom Tasker’s blog post titled “SteelFusion: Hyper-Converged Backups?

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