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Items Tagged: SteelFusion

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Pain Points within the Virtual Infrastructure: How to Not Lose Your Cost Savings

If you're reading this blog chances are you're a storage practitioner, a virtual administrator, or the boss of some of those folks - and you likely know that storage is expensive. But do you know just how expensive?

  • Premiered: 03/28/14
  • Author: Taneja Group
Topic(s): Storage Virtualization Virtual Infrastructure Scale Riverbed SteelFusion VMWare VSAN Tintri
Profiles/Reports

Convergence for the Branch Office: Transforming Resiliency and TCO with Riverbed SteelFusion (TVS)

The branch office has long been a critical dilemma for the IT organization. Branch offices for many organizations are a critical point of productivity and revenue generation, yet the branch has always come with a tremendous amount of operational overhead and risk. Worse yet, challenges are often exacerbated because the branch office too often looks like a carryover of outdated IT practices.

More often than not, the branch office is still a highly manual, human-effort-driven administration exercise. Physical equipment too often sits at a remote physical office, and requires significant human management and intervention for activities like data protection and recovery, or replacement of failed hardware. Given the remote nature of the branch office, such human intervention often comes with significant overhead in the form of telephone support, less than efficient over-the-wire system configuration, equipment build and ship processes, or even significant travel to remote locations. Moreover, in an attempt to avoid issues, the branch office is often over-provisioned with equipment in order to reduce the impact of outages, or is designed in such a way as to be too dependent on across the Wide Area Network (WAN) services that impair user productivity and simply exchange the risk of equipment failure for the risk of WAN outage. But while such practices come with significant operational cost, there’s a subtler cost lurking below the surface – any branch office outage is enmeshed in data consequences. Data protection may be a slower process for the branch office, subjecting the branch to greater risks with equipment failure or disaster, and restoring branch office data and productivity after a disaster can be a long slow process compared to the capabilities of the modern datacenter.

When branch offices are a key part of a business, these practices that are routinely accepted as the standard can make the branch office one of the costliest and riskiest areas of the IT infrastructure. Worse yet, for many enterprises, the branch office has only increased its importance over time, and may generate more revenue and require more responsive and available IT systems than ever before. The branch office clearly requires better agility and efficiency than it receives today.

Riverbed Technologies has long proven their mettle in helping enterprises optimize and better enable connectivity and data sharing for distributed work teams. Over the past decade, Riverbed has come to dominate the market for WAN optimization technologies that compress data and optimize the connection between branch or remote offices and the datacenter. But Riverbed rose to this position of dominance because their SteelHead appliances do far more than just optimize a connection – Riverbed’s dominance of this market sprung from deep collaboration and interaction optimization of CIFS/SMB and other protocols by way of intelligent interception and caching of the right data to make the remote experience feel like a local experience. Moreover, Riverbed SteelHead could do this while making that remote connection effectively stateless, and eliminating the need to protect or manage data in the branch office.

Almost two years ago, Riverbed announced a continuing evolution of their “location independent computing” focus with the introduction of their SteelFusion family of solutions. The vision behind SteelFusion was a focus on delivering far more performance and capability in branch offices, while doing away with the complexity of multiple component parts and scattered data. SteelFusion does this by transforming the branch office into a stateless “projection” of data, applications, and VMs stored in the datacenter. Moreover, SteelFusion does this with a converged solution that combines storage, networking, and compute all in one device – the first comprehensive converged infrastructure solution purpose-built for the branch. This converged offering though, is built on branch office “statelessness” that, as we’ll review, transparently stores data in the datacenter, and allows the business to configure, change, protect, and manage the branch office with enterprise tools, while eradicating the risk associated with traditional branch office infrastructure.

SteelFusion today does this by virtualizing VMware ESXi VMs on a stateless appliance that in essence “projects” data from the datacenter to a remote location, while maintaining localized speed of access and resilient availability that can tolerate even severe network outages. Three innovative technology components that make up Riverbed’s SteelFusion allow it to host virtual machines that access their primary data via the datacenter, from where it is cached on the SteelFusion appliance while maintaining a highly efficient but near synchronous connection back to the datacenter storage. In turn, SteelFusion makes it possible to run many local applications in a rich, complex branch office while requiring no other servers or devices. Riverbed promises that SteelFusion’s architecture can tolerate outages, but synchronize data so effectively that it will operate as a stateless appliance, enabling branch data to be completely protected by datacenter synchronization and backup, with more up to date protection and faster recovery regardless of whether there’s a loss of a single file, or the loss of an entire system. In short, this is a promise to comprehensively revolutionize the practice of branch office IT.

In January of 2014, Taneja Group took a deeper look at what Riverbed is doing with SteelFusion. While we’ve provided other written assessments on the use case and value of Riverbed SteelFusion, we also wanted to take a hands-on look at how the technology works, and whether in real world use it really delivers management effort reductions, availability improvements, and increased IT capabilities along with consequent improvements in the risks around branch office IT. To do this, we turned to a hands-on lab exercise – what we call a Technology Validation.

What did we find?  We found that Riverbed SteelFusion does indeed deliver a transformation of branch office management and capabilities, by fundamentally reducing complexity, injecting a number of powerful capabilities (such as enterprise snapshots and access to all data, copies, and tools in the enterprise) and making the branch office resilient, constantly protected, and instantly recoverable. While the change in capabilities is significant, this also translates into a significant impact on time and effort, and we captured a number of metrics throughout our hands-on look at SteelFusion. For the details, we turn to the full report.

Publish date: 04/14/14
Profiles/Reports

Converging Branch IT Infrastructure the Right Way: Riverbed SteelFusion

Companies with significant non-data center and often widely distributed IT infrastructure requirements are faced with many challenges. It can be difficult enough to manage tens or hundreds if not thousands of remote or branch office locations, but many of these can also be located in dirty or dangerous environments that are simply not suited for standard data center infrastructure. It is also hard if not impossible to forward deploy the necessary IT experience to manage any locally placed resources. The key challenge then, and one that can be competitively differentiating on cost alone, is to simplify branch IT as much as possible while supporting branch business.

Converged solutions have become widely popular in the data center, particularly in virtualized environments. By tightly integrating multiple functionalities into one package, there are fewer separate moving parts for IT to manage while at the same time optimizing capabilities based on tightly intimately integrating components. IT becomes more efficient and in many ways gains more control over the whole environment. In addition to obviously increasing IT simplicity there are many other cascading benefits. The converged infrastructure can perform better, is more resilient and available, and offers better security than separately assembled silos of components. And a big benefit is a drastically lowered TCO.

Yet for a number of reasons, data center convergence approaches haven’t translated as usefully to beneficial convergence in the branch. No matter how tightly integrated a “branch in a box” is, if it’s just an assemblage of the usual storage, server, and networking silo components it will still suffer from traditional branch infrastructure challenges – second-class performance, low reliability, high OPEX, and difficult to protect and recover. Branches have unique needs and data center infrastructure, converged or otherwise, isn’t designed to meet those needs. This is where Riverbed has pioneered a truly innovative converged infrastructure designed explicitly for the branch which provides simplified deployment and provisioning, resiliency in the face of network issues, improved protection and recovery from the central data center, optimization and acceleration for remote performance, and a greatly lowered OPEX.

In this paper we will review Riverbed’s SteelFusion (formerly known as Granite) branch converged infrastructure solution, and see how it marries together multiple technical advances including WAN optimization, stateless compute, and “projected” datacenter storage to solve those branch challenges and bring the benefits of convergence out to branch IT. We’ll see how SteelFusion is not only fulfilling the promise of a converged “branch” infrastructure that supports distributed IT, but also accelerates the business based on it.

Publish date: 04/15/14
news

Riverbed Announces SteelFusion 3.0, the First Branch Converged Infrastructure that Centralizes Data

SteelFusion radically improves branch economics by fusing servers, storage, virtualization and networking into a single solution speeding provisioning by up to 30x and recovery by up to 96x

  • Premiered: 04/15/14
  • Author: Taneja Group
  • Published: WSJ - MarketWatch
Topic(s): TBA Riverbed TBA SteelFusion TBA Converged Infrastructure TBA convergence TBA Data Center TBA Data Recovery TBA Backup TBA Storage TBA Networking TBA Virtualization TBA Server Virtualization TBA SAN TBA NetApp TBA EMC
Profiles/Reports

Edge HyperConvergence for Robo's: Riverbed SteelFusion Brings IT All Together

Hyperconvergence is one of the hottest IT trends going in to 2016. In a recent Taneja Group survey of senior enterprise IT folks we found that over 25% of organizations are looking to adopt hyperconvergence as their primary data center architecture. Yet the centralized enterprise datacenter may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast opportunity for hyperconverged solutions. Where there are remote or branch office (ROBO) requirements demanding localized computing, some form of hyperconvergence would seem the ideal way to address the scale, distribution, protection and remote management challenges involved in putting IT infrastructure “out there” remotely and in large numbers.

However, most of today’s popular hyperconverged appliances were designed as data center infrastructure, converging data center IT resources like servers, storage, virtualization and networking into Lego™ like IT building blocks.  While these at first might seem ideal for ROBOs – the promise of dropping in “whole” modular appliances precludes any number of onsite integration and maintenance challenges, ROBOs have different and often more challenging requirements than a datacenter. A ROBO does not often come with trained IT staff or a protected datacenter environment. They are, by definition, located remotely across relatively unreliable networks. And they fan out to the thousands (or tens of thousands) of locations.

Certainly any amount of convergence simplifies infrastructure making easier to deploy and maintain. But in general popular hyperconvergence appliances haven’t been designed to be remotely managed en masse, don’t address unreliable networks, and converge storage locally and directly within themselves. Persisting data in the ROBO is a recipe leading to a myriad of ROBO data protection issues. In ROBO scenarios, the datacenter form of hyperconvergence is not significantly better than simple converged infrastructure (e.g. pre-configured rack or blades in a box).

Riverbed’s SteelFusion we feel has brought full hyperconvergence benefits to the ROBO edge of the organization. They’ve married their world-class WANO technologies, virtualization, and remote storage “projection” to create what we might call “Edge Hyperconvergence”. We see the edge hyperconverged SteelFusion as purposely designed for companies with any number of ROBO’s that each require local IT processing.

Publish date: 12/17/15
news

Hyperconvergence for ROBOs and the Datacenter

Remote/branch office management is more important, and complicated, than ever. Here are some survival tips.

  • Premiered: 12/17/15
  • Author: Mike Matchett
  • Published: Virtualization Review
Topic(s): TBA ROBO TBA hyperconvergence TBA hyperconverged TBA converged TBA convergence TBA Virtualization TBA Data Center TBA Datacenter TBA Compute TBA cluster TBA clusters TBA SAN TBA Storage TBA WANO TBA WAN Optimization TBA Cloud TBA cloud gateway TBA Backup TBA Scale TBA VCE TBA Dell TBA HP TBA IBM TBA SimpliVity TBA Nutanix TBA Pivot3 TBA Scale Computing TBA CAPEX TBA OPEX TBA TCO
news

Assimilate converged IT infrastructure into the data center

With the hype around converged and hyper-converged IT infrastructure, resistance seems futile. While your IT organization will likely be a mix of converged, dedicated and cloud-based resources, convergence is moving into new areas.

  • Premiered: 03/16/16
  • Author: Mike Matchett
  • Published: TechTarget: Search Data Center
Topic(s): TBA convergence TBA Converged Infrastructure TBA Datacenter TBA Storage TBA converged TBA IT convergence TBA converged IT TBA Cloud TBA Public Cloud TBA OPEX TBA VCE TBA vBlock TBA Virtualization TBA software-defined TBA hyperconverged infrastructure TBA HCI TBA Nutanix TBA SimpliVity TBA Data protection TBA DP TBA Microsoft TBA StorSimple TBA Hybrid Cloud TBA Archive TBA Backup TBA BC TBA Business Continuity TBA Disaster Recovery TBA DR TBA data lake
news

Get the most from cloud-based storage services

Enterprise data storage managers are in position to help their companies get more from cloud storage services.

  • Premiered: 05/02/16
  • Author: Mike Matchett
  • Published: TechTarget: Search Storage
Topic(s): TBA Enterprise Storage TBA Storage TBA Cloud TBA Data Storage TBA cold storage TBA cold data TBA Archive TBA Hybrid Cloud TBA HCS TBA Hybrid Cloud Storage TBA Saas TBA Big Data TBA tiering TBA CTERA TBA Private Cloud TBA ClearSky Data TBA hyper-converged TBA WAN Optimization TBA WANO TBA Riverbed TBA SteelFusion TBA IBM TBA EMC TBA Microsoft TBA Microsoft Azure TBA StorSimple TBA Oracle
news

Server Powered Storage: Intelligent Storage Arrays Gain Server Superpowers

At Taneja Group we are seeing a major trend within IT to leverage server and server-side resources to the maximum extent possible.

  • Premiered: 05/05/16
  • Author: Mike Matchett
  • Published: InfoStor
Topic(s): TBA Storage TBA Virtualization TBA Cloud TBA SAP TBA VMWare TBA NSX TBA CPU TBA hyperconverged TBA hyperconvergence TBA software-defined TBA Flash TBA SSD TBA SimpliVity TBA Gridstore TBA Nutanix TBA Scale Computing TBA TCO TBA ROBO TBA mobile TBA Riverbed TBA SteelFusion TBA Hybrid TBA Big Data TBA Internet of Things TBA IoT TBA Deduplication TBA scale-out TBA Infinio TBA Pernix TBA SanDisk
news

Smart storage systems smart for business

Mike Matchett explains how data-aware storage combined with application awareness is leading to a new wave of intelligent data storage.

  • Premiered: 10/03/16
  • Author: Mike Matchett
  • Published: TechTarget: Search Storage
Topic(s): TBA Mike Matchett TBA Storage TBA High Performance TBA convergence TBA CPU TBA software-defined storage TBA SDS TBA QoS TBA Data protection TBA Archiving TBA Metadata TBA object storage TBA e-discovery TBA Primary Storage TBA Dropbox TBA Evernote TBA data awareness TBA data-aware TBA Security TBA Lucene TBA Solr TBA Distributed Storage TBA Tarmin TBA GridBank TBA StoreAll TBA HPE TBA Qumulo TBA SteelFusion TBA Riverbed TBA VM