Riverbed Official: Edge-VSI is an Attractive Option for Indian Market

By Eric Ernest, 23-Jul-2012

IT administrators will want to make this technology as ubiquitous as the Router and Firewall is today, says Robert Healey.

Once the nature and benefits of Edge-VSI are clearly understood, IT administrators will want to make this technology as ubiquitous as the Router and Firewall is today. Robert HealeyMarketing Evangelist, APAC & Japan, Riverbed Technology

"India should be a perfect market for this technology, for all the same reasons that make traditional WAN Optimization so attractive in this market – namely, large, complex IT networks, long distances, lack of communications bandwidth and high telecommunications costs, "said Robert Healey, Marketing Evangelist, APAC & Japan, Riverbed Technology, when talking about the Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (Edge-VSI) in an interview about Riverbed's new Granite product line.

A leader in the WAN optimization arena, Riverbed has held a "market share of around 50% globally for the last year or so," said Healey quoting a Gartner report.

"Here in Asia, Frost & Sullivan has reported even higher market share numbers for Riverbed across most of the region," he added.

Riverbed's main focus has been the WAN optimization space for which it has the Steelhead series of appliances. This solution is aimed at organizations that are consolidating their distributed IT infrastructure, and as Healey stated, it helped these companies "by enabling LAN-like application performance over the WAN ... with a combination of application streamlining, data streamlining, and transport streamlining "

He mentioned an IDC study that found that Riverbed Steelhead customers benefited in four main areas: "cost reduction, IT staff efficiency, user productivity increase/downtime reduction, and improvement in time to market/revenue."

Pointing out that while WAN optimization does go a long way in achieving the "'IT dream' of a perfectly thin branch office IT footprint", Healey stated that this might not suffice.

"Specifically, environments where a high volume of data is generated in the branch office, or where the WAN link suffers from outages, or where local computation resources are required in the branch office have identified the need for an additional solution."

For serving the needs of the branch offices and users, organizations have had to set up local storage solutions that are typically not managed to the same extent, in factors such as protection, security, or compliance best practices, as they would have been in a data centre, he reiterated.

Protecting and securing this data "generates a significant amount of "orphaned infrastructure" in the branch office – i.e., infrastructure that is needed but hard to manage," he said.

"This significantly increases business costs and risks."

For serving the needs of the branch offices and users, organizations have had to set up local storage solutions that are typically not managed to the same extent, in factors such as protection, security, or compliance best practices, as they would have been in a data centre.

This is where Granite comes into the picture. As Healey puts it, "Riverbed Granite is a new technology that can offer the combination of WAN Optimization, branch office Virtual Server resources and also for the first time support Storage traffic transport and acceleration across the WAN. "

"Granite is the innovation that enables an architectural disruption known as Edge-VSI."

Healey says that this new architectural approach does for edge servers outside of the data center what virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) does for desktops: "allow IT to consolidate and manage all edge servers in the data center."

Granite consists of 2 parts: the Granite Core – a physical or virtual appliance that resides in the data center alongside centralized storage; and the Granite Edge – a service that runs as a standalone target at the edge or bundled with a Riverbed Steelhead appliance.

Speaking on how Granite works, Healey said it "solves the problem of distance (bandwidth and latency) low in the tech stack: at the block level. By adding filesystem intelligence to the block layer, it parallelizes interactions between server and storage that was otherwise sequential."

Stating that "Granite enables the next level of storage consolidation", he also added that "with Granite, organizations can deliver a global storage infrastructure by extending an iSCSI SAN in the data center to branch offices, eliminating the need to purchase and support storage devices at the edge."

Describing it's working in slightly more detail, Healey said "Granite Core mounts LUNs (Logical Unit Number) provisioned in the data center and shares the storage resources with branch offices running the Granite Edge module."

"Granite Edge virtually presents one or more iSCSI targets in the branch which can be utilized as a storage drive by services and systems running within the VSP as well as externally to the Steelhead EX appliance," he continued.

"Granite Core inspects mounted LUNs and is able to proactively stream data to the branch locations. This industry-first, file-system-aware block acceleration capability allows data from centralized storage to be available wherever and whenever it is needed."

In conclusion, Healey said "With all of the new IT architectures and service models that Edge-VSI enables, the potential scope for this technology is enormous. Once the nature and benefits of Edge-VSI are clearly understood, IT administrators will want to make this technology as ubiquitous as the Router and Firewall is today."

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