High-capacity optical backbone networks protect their premium customers' information flows by routing two copies of the customer's data over disjoint paths. This scheme, known as 1 + 1 protection, provides extremely rapid recovery from network failures. In this paper, we propose an architecture by which 1 + 1 protection can be extended to optical burst switched (OBS) networks. This architecture is designed by modifying the diversity routing architecture that was originally proposed for nonoptical packet networks and recently applied to networks employing the generalized multiprotocol label switched (GMPLS) architecture. We extend the architecture developed for just-in-time OBS signaling to support 1 + 1 protection. We also examine design issues that are caused by a difference in the propagation delays of the two disjoint paths across the OBS network. We show that a sufficiently large difference in the propagation delays can cause performance degradations that may result in an unsatisfactory quality-of-service on the protected connection. We examine the impact of this delay mismatch on restoration performance, probability of burst loss, and jitter. Through analysis and simulations it is discussed how these negative effects can be eliminated.