How SteelFusion Can Slash RPO and RTO to Create Timely, Dependable Recoveries

January 10, 2016 Software-Defined Edge

When it comes to branch offices, backups and data recovery are a must. But not every backup solution can get a branch office back on its feet fast.

Riverbed SteelFusion™ can — introducing a unique solution for an age-old problem. Able to deliver record-low recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) numbers, SteelFusion can get your branch back up and running in a flash, with virtually no data loss.

RPO and RTO: Very different but equally important

As lead consultant with Riverbed Professional Services, Tom Tasker is well versed in explaining the differences between RPO and RTO.

RPO, according to Tasker, is the period of time between your last data backup and a failure, or, in other words, the amount of data at risk of being lost between data-protection events. “Say you back up to tape at 3 a.m. every day, and a system failure occurs at 2:59 a.m. Your starting RPO, then, is 23 hours and 59 minutes. Essentially, that’s the amount of data (in terms of time) that you’ll have lost,” says Tasker. “Your RPO, in this instance, has a starting point of 24 hours. If any of your backup restore methods fail (bad backup, faulty tape, etc.) this window of data loss only gets worse.”

“I like to use a ‘rewinding’ metaphor here,” he adds. “If you have a low RPO, that means your system’s backed up frequently, so you’ll never have to rewind very far in the event of a data-loss incident. Less will be lost.”

RTO, on the other hand, is a bit simpler to grasp. “It’s tempting to define RTO as how long it takes to restore all data after a catastrophic failure, but I think it’s more appropriate to define it as the length of time before that data is operational. Those can be two wildly different things.”

RPO: When bigger isn’t better

RPO is something of a moving target. Sure, it’s better to have an RPO of 12 hours than 24, but what additional resources will you have to provision to back up twice as often? It’s a balancing act.

That’s where SteelFusion sets itself apart. With its hyper-converged edge infrastructure, SteelFusion can vacuum all branch data into your enterprise datacenter (where it’s safe and sound) and project it out to the branch on an as-needed basis. “Technically it’s not a backup solution, because there’s no actual backup schedule; it’s always working, syncing your data back to the datacenter at extremely low intervals,” says Tasker.

With SteelFusion, your RPO may never be zero, but it’s certainly getting close — all without the need to expend any additional IT resources. In fact, once it’s configured, SteelFusion will continue functioning with no further attention required, keeping your data secure and up to date in the datacenter. “And the great thing is, SteelFusion takes human error — backup’s worst nightmare — out of the equation,” says Tasker.

Tasker went on to highlight a success story involving a bank in the Middle East that adopted SteelFusion to continually sync its branch data to a datacenter in London. “SteelFusion Blockstream sync metrics showed their entire branch application and data infrastructure was being synced back to the DC within seven seconds of being committed locally onsite, which makes for an incredibly low RPO, no matter when a failure occurs.”

RTO: Testing a backup’s mettle

So your RPO is low. But what about RTO? In the event of a disaster, can IT restore all systems quickly enough to minimize the disruption to business?

As it happens, SteelFusion excels here, too. Riverbed designed SteelFusion to support major industry standards, so it “just works” with a staggering array of existing datacenter infrastructures. Tasker quips, “We start with a lot of industry-standard stuff and put our secret sauce on top.”

SteelFusion stores data in exactly the same format it finds it in. “We don’t touch it,” says Tasker. “As a result, a typical restore is a simple matter of a few clicks and some minor configuring. The restored data is arranged exactly as the infrastructure expects, ready for business. So whether you’re projecting the data from a downed branch out to a different branch, or simply booting it up in the datacenter, you don’t have to wait long.”

End result? No physical tapes, no incremental restore operations, no long-distance complications.

A new standard for lower RPOs and RTOs

With SteelFusion’s unique take on the backup problem, you can reduce both your RPOs and RTOs, restoring data quickly with less loss than ever before. Visit the Riverbed SteelFusion website and request a free trial today.

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