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Riverbed Granite Helps IT Consolidate and Manage Data Center Edge Servers

By Vangie Beal (Send Email)
Posted February 6, 2012


Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ: RVBD) has announced Riverbed Granite, its new edge virtual server infrastructure (edge-VSI) that allows IT to consolidate and manage all edge servers in the data center. Edge-VSI is complementary to wide area network (WAN) optimization, accelerating performance for applications and use cases not addressed by any WAN optimization approach today.

According to Riverbed, the  new architectural approach does for edge servers what virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) did for desktops -- it allows IT to consolidate and manage all edge servers in the data center, while delivering 20-50 percent lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

Riverbed Granite, expected to be generally available this quarter, enables global enterprises to achieve complete consolidation of edge applications, servers and storage to the data center, while delivering services to the edge of the enterprise as if they were local.

Granite requires two components: Granite Core, a physical or virtual appliance in the data center, and Granite Edge, a service running on a Steelhead EX in the branch office. By combining Steelhead EX and Granite, organizations can take advantage of greater consolidation and centralization with a combination of WAN optimization, virtual services platform and innovative block-storage optimization.

"We have offices across Asia, Europe and the United States and are pursuing a completely consolidated infrastructure to reduce our management requirements and lower our operating costs.  Though we had centralized most of our IT infrastructure, we still had servers and storage in our remote locations," said Searl Tate, director of engineering, Paul Hastings. "Granite allows us to consolidate these remaining servers and storage and at the same time deliver the local application performance our remote employees demand. This complete consolidation model will reduce our total cost of ownership by a third, while reducing our risk profile and giving us the control we need."

Granite allows storage to be decoupled from its server over thousands of miles—and actually work as if the storage were local to the server. The user gets uncompromised performance, while IT is able to manage, backup, provision, patch, expand, and protect the data for its far-flung enterprise all within the four walls of the data center.

"Traditionally, data centers and remote offices have been managed through separate operational processes, procedures and infrastructures," said Dave Russell, Research Vice President, Storage Technologies and Strategies, at Gartner. "In an ideal world, IT could leverage its investment in building the data center of the future by putting its IT infrastructure into one central data center, with its control, economies of scale, and security. However, with workers at large enterprises distributed across the globe, performance is a key challenge, especially for storage heavy workloads. To make this a reality, a new approach is needed that addresses these currently challenging workloads."

Granite solves bandwidth and latency problems over distributed networks, but lower in the technology stack – at the block level – making it possible to deliver global storage and server infrastructure extended from the data center over the WAN. By adding file system intelligence to the block layer, it, among other things, parallelizes interactions between server and storage that were otherwise sequential. This innovation means that distributed data and servers can now reside in one place and the performance for users at the edge will not be impacted.

“As we talk to our customers and ask them to whiteboard their ideal IT infrastructure they are highlighting the need to have centralized control of sprawled infrastructure.  The evolution of virtualization and consolidation, along with Granite, is allowing organizations to achieve this dream,” said Eric Wolford, executive vice president and GM, products at Riverbed.

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