For companies to get their data from point A to point B, what’s in between and how it gets there truly matters. For one VMware firm, finding a solution to the thwarted WAN latency that came along with an underpowered Ethernet link was possible, thanks to WAN optimization software from Network Executive Software (NetEx (News - Alert)).

Reproducing 20 virtual servers to another site, as well as reaching virtual disaster recovery objectives was quite the challenge for advertising and marketing company Rhea + Kaiser, as its 10 Mbps Ethernet WAN link just didn’t do the job. The company’s chief site included three Dell PowerEdge R610 physical hosts appended to an EMC (News - Alert) Celerra NAS array, as well as a Dell Equallogic PS4000x iSCSI San. The company’s disaster recovery site consisted of a secondary collection of Dell (News - Alert) PowerEdge 2970s directly affixed to a 2.5 TB Dell MD1000 storage device.

According to Faisal Farooqui, business technology manager, an initial replication of a single 30 gigabyte server image took way too long – about a week. “It wasn’t making our [backup] window,” said Farooqui, “there was just too much latency in our connection. It would fail.”

Therefore, Farooqui hoped to utilize the new version of replication processes provided by Veeam Backup and Replication, which produces backup of virtual machine images. Soon enough, the company started researching WAN optimization products from two well-known companies – Blue Coat (News - Alert) Systems and Riverbed Technology. Riverbed returned with a rather steep quote of $40,000 for a hardware-based SteelHead 1050H, including an appliance at the end of the wire for $22,000 and support worth $4,000.

Unfortunately, Riverbed’s (News - Alert) products were not in the agency’s budget. Farooqui was quite pleased when he came across NetEx, which is Veeam’s joint marketing partner. NetEx offered a VMware-based appliance for its HyperIP TCP/IP acceleration software, costing less than $10,000 – a rather large difference from what Riverbed was offering.

“That was less than the cost of support for Riverbed for three years," said Farooqui, who was drawn to the virtual appliance. "Anything I can virtualize, I will. It makes it easier to manage and upgrade."

The decision, and money, was well worth it, as after installing the HyperIP device, it took only an hour to replicate the VM backups to the disaster recovery site. So far, Farooqui said he is satisfied with the final result, however, he said he would like to see NetEx offer comparable network performance reporting and “proactively e-mailed reports about network performance." HyperIP is unable to e-mail out reports, but does offer an SNMP MIB for monitoring performance, according to a company representative.

"It's made a big difference in what we do," Farooqui said. "We can run live servers at our disaster recovery site, now that the bandwidth bottleneck has been removed."