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Lori MacVittie

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F5 Friday: F5 BIG-IP WOM Puts the Snap(py) in NetApp SnapMirror

 Data replication is still an issue for large organizations and as data growth continues, those backup windows are getting longer and longer…

With all the hype surrounding cloud computing and dynamic resources on demand for cheap you’d think that secondary and tertiary data centers are a thing of the past. Not so. Large organizations with multiple data centers – even those are evolving out of growth at remote offices – still need to be able to replicate and backup data between corporate owned sites.

Such initiatives are often fraught with peril due to the explosive growth in data which, by all accounts, is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. The reason this is problematic is because the pipes connecting those data centers are not expanding and doing so simply to speed up transfer rates and decrease transfer windows is cost prohibitive. It’s the same story as any type of capacity – expanding to meet periodic bursts results in idle resources, and idle resources are no longer acceptable in today’s cost conscious, waste-not want-not data centers.

Organizations that have in place a NetApp solution for storage replication are in luck today, as F5 has a solution that can improve transfer rates by employing data reduction technologies: F5 BIG-IP WAN Optimization Module (WOM). One of the awesome advantages of WOM (and all F5 modules) over other solutions is that a BIG-IP module is a component of our unified application delivery platform. That’s an advantage because of the way in which BIG-IP modules interact with one another and are integrated with the rest of a dynamic data center infrastructure. The ability to leverage core functionality across a shared, high-speed internal messaging platform means context is never lost and interactions are optimized internally, minimizing the impact of chaining multiple point solutions together across the network.

I could go on and on myself about and its benefits when employed to improve site-to-site transfer of big data, but I’ve got colleagues like Don MacVittie who are well-versed in telling that story so I’ll let him introduce this solution instead.

Happy Replicating!


don NetApp’s SnapMirror is a replication technology that allows you to keep a copy of a NetApp storage system on a remote system over the LAN or WAN. While NetApp has built in some impressive compression technology, there is still room for improvement in the WAN space, and F5 BIG-tmos-diagram-womIP WOM picks up where SnapMirror leaves off. Specialized in getting the most out of your WAN connection, WOM (WAN Optimization Module)   improves your SnapMirror performance and WAN connection utilization. Not just improves it, gives performance that, in our testing, shows a manifold increase in both throughput and overall performance.

And since it is a rare WAN connection that is only transferring SnapMirror data, the other applications on that same connection will also see an impressive benefit. Why upgrade your WAN connection when you can get the most out of it at any throughput rating? Add in the encrypted tunneling capability of BIG-IP WOM and you are more fast, more secure, and more available. With the wide range of adjustments you can make to determine which optimizations apply to which data streams, you can customize your traffic to suit the needs of your specific usage scenarios. Or as we like to say, IT Agility, Your Way.

You can find out more about how NetApp SnapMirror and F5 BIG-IP WOM work together by reading our solution profile.


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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.