SD WAN’s Role in Disaster Recovery

Is your network ready for its worst-case scenario? Today’s enterprises face a wide range of risks to their WANs, including link failure during periods of high utilization as well as downtime at facilities due to adverse electrical or environmental events. However, many of these organizations are not adequately prepared for such disasters.

The 2014 annual report from the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council discovered that three-fourths of surveyed companies were at risk because of their inadequate DR strategies. Grading each on a letter scale from A (best) to F (worst), it assigned Ds and Fs to 73 percent of respondents, with many plans being insufficiently documented and/or impractical when actually followed.

The stakes for failure were pretty clear. Thirty-six percent of enterprises confirmed that they had lost at least one critical application (such as voice or video) for more than an hour at a time. Approximately one-fifth of them said that they had an outage spanning several days. For 20 percent of respondents, these incidents cost anywhere from $50,000 to more than $5 million.

Using a software defined WAN to support superior disaster recovery
To get a sense of what can go wrong with a DR plan, imagine a financial institution that must serve thousands of customers (in addition to its own staff) while also meeting Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation requirements for business continuity and DR. The traditional approach to ensure acceptable availability might be to use one or more T1 lines to connect offices to an MPLS service.

If and when the T1 circuits went down, a DSL/cable backup would kick in to provide the necessary links. This setup has a few major drawbacks, though:

  • DSL/cable bandwidth is not fully utilized (only for backup).
  • Adding more T1 lines is costly and doesn’t really help with the bandwidth crunch.
  • Backup network performance may be relatively slow in the wake of MPLS outages.
  • Overreliance on T1s can cause service disruptions for everything from ATMs to VoIP and document scanning applications.

In these scenarios, having a software defined WAN such as Talari’s THINKING WAN can make all the difference in getting the additional bandwidth, high availability and seamless failover needed for sustainable DR. It brings real-time, packet-level intelligence to the network, analyzing latency, jitter, packet loss along each path so that it can find the best available route for the most important applications.

Banks needs reliable WANs to better serve their customers.Banks needs reliable WANs to better serve their customers.

For example, Lake Area Bank and Roundbank of Minnesota used Talari solutions to ensure that its WAN maintained FDIC compliance and that its growing suite of applications, from voice to online tellering, performed reliably. Instead of purchasing additional T1 circuits, it utilized broadband in conjunction with Talari to reduce the cost compared to leased lines by 50 percent.

“When I compared purchasing more T1 lines versus using broadband and Talari, [the latter] was a much better investment,” explained Andrea Martfield, vice president and information technolo​gy office at Lake Area Bank and Roundbank. “I knew I found a solution for our network problems.”

“SD-WAN supports superior business continuity and disaster recovery.”

Moreover, the Talari SD-WAN supported improved business continuity and disaster recovery. Single points of failures are common in traditional WANs and, for banks, they can complicate FDIC examinations. But with a Talari solution, enterprises can provide a better experience to internal users as well as customers by ensuring that one T1 link failure does not lead to degraded performance or outright downtime across the company WAN.

Talari appliances also have features such as geographic high availability that facilitate failover from a primary to secondary data center for DR. Learn more about Talari’s THINKING WAN and request a custom demo.

Categories: Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN), IT Challenges, Network Reliability, Business Continuity