The Cloud may be a “set up and go” kind of service. But, without a complete understanding of the backend issues involved, the best-of-the-breed Cloud backup software can be a failure. Users need to understand that there is more to Cloud computing than visible to the lay user. This article proposes to examine some of the issues that must be considered while attempting to link up the branch office to the main data center of an organization.

At the outset, it must be noted that the network that is used is the Internet. It is a public network.  This use raises concerns of connectivity, security, high availability, performance optimization and manageability.

Connectivity: Branch office WAN connectivity requires T1/E1, MPLS and Broadband capabilities. The LAN capability may be wired or wireless. The organization needs to ensure that the right kind of capability is available with them for their purpose.

Security: Security of the network demands deep inspection, installation of essential antivirus software, web filtering settings and robust firewalls. This is apart from any kind of data encryption and user management that may be performed by the backup application to provided layered security to data in flight and at rest. A check on the availability of these features will ensure data security and legal compliance.

High Availability: Device redundancy and link redundancy are essential for high availability of data. This type of redundancy will facilitate data mirroring and data replication locally, remotely or online for disaster recovery and business continuity. High performance organizations with short Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) will do well to examine this aspect of the Cloud connection.

Performance Optimization: This will be achieved with WAN acceleration. The common measures are throughput, bandwidth requirements, latency, protocol optimization and congestion identification and removal. Data center to Cloud to data center (D2C2D) or Branch may require a larger bandwidth and longer time duration use, especially if the activities include data migration, virtualization and Business continuity/ Disaster recovery data flows.

Manageability: This will be ensured with a single window site wide visibility and control of all backup, recovery, disaster management activities of the organization.

There are a number of design considerations which will have to be part of the process. In part two of this article series, we will discuss such considerations, as: scalability, redundancy, route summarization, Network address translation, load balancing, link failure detection, and more.