NetEx Reaches Out to Replicators

Claims to boost async replication over long-distance IP

May 24, 2005

2 Min Read
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Network Executive Software Inc. (NetEx) has relaunched its WAN optimization appliance with a focus on remote replication. With HyperIP DRO (Data Replication Optimizer), the vendor claims to boost throughput from three to ten times for specific replication products (see NetEx Releases HyperIP).

Now, ask any replication vendor whether their product has issues over distance, and you're apt to get a resounding "No!" But at least one industry observer, who requested anonymity, says it just ain't so.

"If you ask the replication vendors whether they have distance limitations, they'll say no, and they'll be correct, technically. Replication applications do nothing about network performance. Most storage guys are stupid when it comes to network timing, distance, and latency," the source says.

Like any application, asynchronous replication gathers the 'L' word -- latency -- over distance, to the tune of about 1 millisecond per 100 miles. What's more, jitter, and the numerous retransmissions that result from other disruptions on IP networks, can accumulate, slowing backups or, worse, making them unreliable.

Sources say the problem is heartrendingly evident in iSCSI networks, where smaller firms have opted for IP specifically because they can't afford the high cost of a Fibre Channel SAN for disaster recovery (see iSCSI Tackles DR). Ironically, their choice can backfire unless some help is provided to deal with the IP issues.NetEx's solution replaces TCP with a faster version, compresses data two to 15 times, and aggregates applications to improve remote data replication. Customers install the $20,000 appliance at the data center and at remote sites, as just another device on the Ethernet LAN.

By focusing on third-party replicators, NetEx is taking a risk. On one hand, it could distinguish itself in an increasingly competitive field. While other WAN optimizers work with a range of specific applications, NetEx is the first to target replicators specifically.

Still, NetEx's pitch might stick with a few suppliers who don't want to admit they need help. NetEx claims a range of vendors already reference-sell its product, which the company has certified to run with the following replicators:

  • DataCore SANsymphony


  • EMC SRDF Adaptive Copy

  • EMC Centera Replicator


  • Maranti CoreStore Replicator

  • Microsoft Exchange NetBIOS

  • NetApp SnapMirror

  • NetApp SnapVault

  • NSI Double-Take

  • Oracle DB Rsync

  • Oracle DataGuard

  • SBC Connect:Direct

  • Softek Replicator

  • Veritas Volume Replicator

  • Veritas NetBackup

  • Veritas Replicator Exec

Noticeably absent from the list above are iSCSI SAN vendors, most of which have their own replicators. These include BlueArc Corp., EqualLogic Inc., FalconStor Software Inc. (Nasdaq: FALC), Intransa Inc., and Sanrad Inc., to name just a few.

So far, at least one of these vendors seems fine with crediting NetEx, albeit in general and at arm's length. "Yes, there is a general benefit to WAN optimization for DR over distances," concedes John Joseph, VP of marketing for EqualLogic in an email today. "EqualLogic already optimizes TCP (which is why our DR is pretty fast already), but we do benefit from the data compression portion of what HyperIP does."Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

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