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Archive for the ‘Storage Cloud’ Category

New Cloud Storage Gateway Models Introduced

Posted by bobegilbert on June 7, 2011

New Cloud Storage Gateway Models Introduced

Today we introduced three new Whitewater cloud storage gateway models that will now allow a wider range of organizations, including small and medium businesses (SMBs), to take advantage of the benefits of cloud data protection. The new Whitewater models 510 and 710 are purpose-built for SMBs, while the Whitewater model 2010 is designed for the mid-sized enterprise and targeted use cases in the large enterprise. 

Here is a link to the press release for more details.

Also, here is a demo of Whitewater in action.

Posted in Storage Cloud | Leave a Comment »

It’s official – businesses are doing less for disaster recovery

Posted by riverbedtest on May 25, 2011

At Riverbed, we spend so much time along with our partners like EMC, NetApp, HP, and others talking about disaster recovery that we assume everyone has heard us by now. I've even had those awkward cocktail party moments where I start rattling off some DR story and someone says, "Yeah, you've told me that one before." Oops.

Thankfully, the folks at Forrester are refilling my cocktail story trough with new data in their report, "State Of Enterprise Disaster Recovery Preparedness, Q2 2011."

I found two trends from this report really interesting:

  • Companies are reducing the number of DR sites they manage. It's no surprise that the recession has had something to do with this. And it's not a question of ROI (Companies noted on average $350,000 per hour as the cost of downtime), it's cold hard cash that's driving companies to fewer sites.
  • A whopping 65% of enterprises are interested or already implementing some sort of cloud/service based DR strategy. It's driven by the instant-on, elastic capacity nature of cloud and the desire to eliminate management of additional sites.

I think that these dynamics are certainly aligned with what's been driving the interest in DR-oriented performance solutions. Customers are looking to solutions like Steelhead to cut the cost of backing up or replicating data within their private environments; they look to solutions like Whitewater to accelerate and deduplicate cloud storage environments, and finally Cloud Steelhead to accelerate compute and applications in the cloud.

Customers tend to like the idea that Riverbed has a multi-pronged approach to optimizing disaster recovery, as we have to all recognize that priorities change, budgets change, but the need to protect your business doesn't.

I'd be interested in hearing from you – has your business been investing more or less in disaster recovery this year than in the past? And are you considering cloud as a DR strategy?

Posted in Disaster Recovery, Storage Cloud | 1 Comment »

Riverbed drinks its own wine

Posted by bobegilbert on April 20, 2011

Riverbed Backup Administrator Jim Clayton shares how he uses his company's Whitewater product to enable him to do data backup smarter and in a more cost effective manner.


Posted in Storage Cloud | Leave a Comment »

Distributed recentralization: Networks to eleven!

Posted by riverbedtest on April 8, 2011

Sun-needle It's a sunny Friday morning here in Seattle. (No, really.) On these rare times when prodigious quantities of warmth and light stream through the large south and east windows of my house, it's easy to let the daily fray subside for a bit and reflect on larger trends. Lately, I've noticed some interesting connections between cloud computing and user-centric IT.

A colleague recently spotted a couple articles that piqued my curiosity. In The virtual desktop: Everything old is new again, CRN's Edward Corriea describes how virtualization's initial appearance on mainframes faded away like an old pair of jeans, only to come back in fashion later: first on commodity x86 hardware and then as one of the core components of cloud computing. Next up is desktop virtualization, or VDI. Edward cites VDI's intense I/O requirements as one of the main shortfalls of large-scale VDI deployments. So many virtual clients, each performing profligate I/O itself, create a "VM I/O blender" on the physical hardware: constant random I/O kills disk performance.

Pc-toss In InformationWeek's 2011 End-user Device Survey, Jonathan Feldman chronicles the ongoing consumerization of corporate IT. Provocatively, he wonders whether it makes sense to hang on to the traditional corporate desktop. Android tablets and VDI are both making gains, he writes; yet fat desktops trapped in three-year replacement cycles and tied to expensive PC leases remain prevalent. Not everything is so gloomy, though. SaaS subscriptions are way up and for some organizations speed now trumps features: he's seeing tradeoff of screen size for portability. Jonathan's data show that organizations are now readying for true VDI, too. He goes on to describe how to free up IT funds to support comprehensive mobile device management, including the burgeoning BYOD ("bring your own device") movement. Jonathan concludes with sage advice: "The end user device paradigm shift offers significant opportunities for business technology innovation, but you'll miss out if you're purely focusing on span of control and defensive IT."

Reading these articles reminded me about a presentation on virtualization security I delivered at Microsoft TechEd a few years ago. I began that talk, as I frequently do, with a short retrospective. The "operating system" running on that hulking PC you bought in the late 1980s didn't have a whole lot to worry about: how much damage can one user running one application really cause? Eventually the operating system had to mature: first to enforce application boundaries so that multitasking would work, then to enforce user boundaries so that multiple people could share a computer. When hardware became powerful enough, software technology shifted: a hypervisor along with a finely-tuned host OS enforced guest OS boundaries so that multiple environments could share a server. A simple visual progression of these trust boundaries might look like this:


At this point, you might be wondering: "What's this got to do with user-centric IT and, wait, doesn't Riverbed sell network stuff?" Let me link these seemingly disparate elements together.

Unicorn Virtualization is, of course, one of the fundamental technologies that underlie cloud — providers can crank resource utilization to 11.  But a funny thing happened along the way to the user-centric IT concert: while the cloud offers seemingly infinite compute and storage, people learned the bandwidth to get there isn't all unicorns and rainbows. That phone or tablet of yours is a full-fledged computer, roomy and always connected. It's likely to be your primary means of accessing (and secondary means of storing) work-related stuff. The trends Edward and Jon highlight — more VDI, more BYOD, more SaaS, more mobility — all require network capacities that are expensive to build out and bump into inconvenient laws of physics.

We're entering an era I call distributed recentralization. As I ponder the simultaneous emergence of cloud computing and the move toward IT consumerization, it occurs to me that each one contributes to the sudden and continual growth of the other. We humans are creating and consuming massive amounts of data every day, a lot of it with consumer-type devices. Much of that information gets sent to and redistributed from the cloud. All this activity puts enormous pressures on network links — pressures that often can't be overcome just by buying a bigger pipe.

To-eleven We're passionate about WANs at Riverbed. WANs allow people to create, access, store, and compute information wherever it's convenient to do so — frequently at distance. Our expanding product line enables you to be as creative as you can be without worrying about network or storage constraints. Cloud and consumerization certainly don't imply that IT will become a commodity; indeed, the information an organization possess, and how it manipulates and shares that information, truly are competitive differentiators. Let us help you crank your differentiation to 11.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Mobile, Storage Cloud, Virtualization | 3 Comments »

Making cloud storage a little less scary

Posted by riverbedtest on April 5, 2011

You see it everywhere tech surveys are posted – people love the idea of cloud, but the implementation is sometimes a little too scary for many enterprises.

One of the issues that is often raised is that of vendor lock-in. Given that cloud is so new, customers either want the ability to multi-source cloud or quickly change cloud vendors without upending their entire IT delivery process.

With Riverbed's latest announcement about the Whitewater product family, I guess you could say we're doing our part to make cloud storage services a little more friendly to enterprises everywhere. First and foremost, we have added the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network to our list of supported cloud storage providers. That means we have a new, high performance, global platform of cloud storage data centers that customers can tap into as needed. Nirvanix – welcome to the Riverbed family of partners!

We also announced support for additional front-end backup software.  EMC NetWorker, CA ARCserve, and Quest vRanger Backup Tools are now supported in addition to Symantec NetBackup, BackupExec, and IBM Tivoli Storage Manager. That means customers can start to leverage cloud with the software they already have in place, and don't have to change or adjust software based on the cloud that they choose. Moreover, if they decide to change backup software, they don't have to worry about their cloud strategy changing.

It's the combination of flexible cloud storage accelerators with market-leading partners like Nirvanix that we believe will drive cloud to be a reality for organizations everywhere. This announcement is one step in the right direction to make the implementation of cloud as appealing as the idea of it.



Posted in Storage Cloud | Leave a Comment »

What is the real value of my stored documents?

Posted by riverbedtest on March 22, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Mark Lewis.  Mark is the Senior Director of Marketing and Alliances for Riverbed in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for Riverbed.  He is based in London, England.

ManDrawerI was talking with a customer recently about his storage needs, how they had grown over the years Solid-brass-radiator-bleed-key-016142M and how they were likely to grow in to the future. Truth is, he said, “It’s difficult to know what to keep and what to dispose of, so we keep everything, just in case”!

It reminded me of the ‘man drawer’ sketch by comedian Michael McIntyre. A ‘man drawer’ is the kind of place you store batteries, even old ones you haven’t had a chance to throw away yet. You’ll store instruction manuals for appliances you no longer own, new and old light bulbs, keys from homes you don’t live in any more and, of course the most masculine device key of all, the radiator bleeding key.


Why do we keep all this? I have asked this question of many customers and they all agree they know they are keeping more than they need to, but the reasons are very convincing. For some it’s regulatory needs, though they admit not all documents are regulated but it’s ‘too complicated to separate them’. For others the argument of falling disk prices means the cost of storing is always coming down, excluding management of storage of course.

071108batteries01 But how are we going to protect all that data? Even with deduplication storage technologies, the rate of growth is going to continue at a tremendous rate and more importantly what happens at the point of recovery? There are going to be a lot of old batteries, bulbs and keys to sift through or rather their business document equivalents. Old Keys 3

One assuring bit of news are the new services being launched by various organizations such as Amazon and AT&T with many more to follow, offering backup options in a multi-tenanted environment. Some call this ‘cloud storage’.

The great news is your back up really can be someone else’s problem and with technology from organizations like Riverbed with its Whitewater appliances these third party solutions can seamlessly integrate in to any IT environment. If you want to learn more look out for a number of online seminars and trade shows taking place. Or you can read more about these solutions here


Posted in Disaster Recovery, Public Cloud, Storage Cloud | 2 Comments »

International Metaphor Day

Posted by riverbedtest on March 10, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Nik Rouda.  Nik is Riverbed's Director of Marketing, Solutions and Verticals, and he writes a pretty nifty blog entry.

Though I frequently get asked, “So, what do you do for a living?” I have a hard time with this question.  Baby I’ve found that a generic brush-off like “I work in IT” never seems to satisfy, only prompting more questions.  A more precise answer generally goes “I do product and solutions marketing on how globally connected enterprises can optimize their wide area networks, gain visibility into … Hey, where are you going?”

Priceline_shatner What’s a guy to do?  How do I answer this question without getting too nerdy or being too vague?  The best efforts seem to involve metaphors: “I’m like William Shatner in all those Priceline commercials” or “I’m a televangelist,  but I promote go-fast networking gear and I don’t use much hair gel.”  If followed quickly enough with “want another drink?” then the moment passes pretty acceptably.

NDippitydoow, sometimes I’m actually talking to someone who works in technology, such as a storage administrator.  What metaphors can I use about Riverbed to get a storage guy thinking about the value of Riverbed?

Here are a few favorites:

“Companies trying to replicate all their data between data centers may find it’s like trying to force Cow-straw_design a cow through a drinking straw: everything isn’t going to fit.  Steelhead appliances greatly reduce the bandwidth requirements, just sending the fresh milk across the WAN since we’ve seen the rest of the cow before.”

“Tiering your storage for DR purposes is like picking which of your possessions to save from a burning house, a really horrible compromise that doesn’t solve the problem.  Riverbed allows you to protect everything at once, so it’s safe in the event of a disaster.”

“Buying more bandwidth to make room for replication is like building a completely new national highway system right next to the one we already have.  It would be extremely difficult to do, insanely expensive, and instantly double the cost of ongoing maintenance.  The real solution is to more efficiently use what you already have, prioritizing and reducing traffic, and minimizing congestion and collisions.”

 Vcr“The challenge of backing up data in each branch is like the pain of having to purchase a VCR for every house in America, and making everyone drive to a video store, hoping it’s easy to findMartini the movie they had in mind, and also hoping it doesn’t get lost or damaged in the hot car.  High-speed streaming, on-demand video services like Netflix are the future, reducing cost, hassle, complexity, and risk.  Whitewater is like the Netflix of enterprise cloud backup and archive.”

 So, enough about me, what do you do for a living?  Want another drink?

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Disaster Recovery, Fun, Storage Cloud | Leave a Comment »

Taneja Group asks, “Is cloud-enabled DR is ready for prime time?” Riverbed says YES!

Posted by riverbedtest on February 25, 2011

(by Steve Riley and Evan Marcus)

Yes Last month, in an article at, Jeff Byrne and Jeff Boles of The Taneja Group wondered aloud, Is cloud-enabled DR ready for prime time?  Here at Riverbed, we can confidently answer yes, indeed it is.

Implementing processes and technology for disaster recovery is like going to the dentist: no one enjoys it (well, perhaps dentists and this kid do) but if you don’t do it, eventually your organization will be in a world of hurt and you might be out of a job. Jeff and Jeff quote an Dentist-horrorinformal statistic that 25% of their readers have experienced unplanned outages. We hope you’ll never be part of that. If, however, someday happens to you, then with a little planning, your trip to the DR dentist will go much easier.

We agree with the claim that cloud-based DR eliminates much of the pain traditional approaches impose. While the authors correctly state that cloud-based DR is “a recipe matched to SME needs,” large enterprises, too, can derive the same benefits. In their article, Jeff and Jeff enumerate six challenges that cloud-based DR brings. We’ll briefly discuss how Riverbed’s new Whitewater Cloud Storage Accelerator Appliance (or just "Whitewater") addresses each of them.

  1. Ease of Use: One of the biggest challenges that IT organizations face as they migrate DR to the cloud is that they have to change their infrastructure. They need backup utilities that speak cloud protocols. And then they still have to maintain the old stuff so that they can recover data from the existing DR infrastructure. With Whitewater you don’t have to change your existing backup product at all. You just point your current backup tool at the Whitewater’s NFS or CIFS front-end, and send the backups there just as you always have. 100% compatibility. No need to change technologies. What could be easier?
  2. Security: Whitewater protects your data in transit with SSL and in storage (local and cloud) with 256-bit AES encryption. The data is never stored or transported in cleartext after it leaves its original location. The encryption key is stored in the Whitewater appliance and if something happens to the appliance, you just need to enter the key into a new appliance. And only you have the key. Not Riverbed and not the cloud provider.
  3. Access: Whitewater does something very unusual in the way it handles data that has passed through it into the cloud. It keeps a local copy of the data (encrypted, of course) so that the data can be accessed locally without touching the remote cloud. The result is dramatic improvements in speed and performance when restoring cloud-based backup data. Whitewater also uses the local data store to deduplicate data that’s going out onto the cloud, reducing your cloud costs.
  4. Recovery Time: Since a copy of the most recently backed up data is stored locally within Whitewater, there’s no need to perform most data restores across the cloud. When data does need to be pulled in from across the cloud, it is pulled into Whitewater deduplicated, vastly reducing the time and amount of data that must be moved. The data is reconstituted inside Whitewater and returned to the requesting application in its original form. Apart from the decrease in recovery time, users can’t tell that anything has happened to their data.
  5. Recovery Effort: Administrators don’t need to change the tools that they use to recover data through a Whitewater appliance. They can use the same backup and restore utilities that they use today. The Whitewater appliance will translate between the backup protocol and the cloud protocol and retrieve the backed up data with no changes to procedures and no learning curve.
  6. Provider Lock-In: Whitewater supports two cloud storage APIs today: Amazon S3 and EMC Atmos. You can easily move from one cloud to another simply by changing Whitewater’s destination.

When evaluating cloud-based DR, a question equally important to “how do I get my stuff backed up?” is “how do I get my stuff back after an outage?” This is where Whitewater really shines because of the constant movement and near-instant recovery capabilities of the cloud-via-DR-gateway architecture. How so? The authors allude to it at the end of their article:

Emerging cloud gateway vendors, when enabled by primary storage support and the ability to serve up storage from a virtual appliance, can in effect pre-stage data automatically and make it available to virtual servers in the cloud. Not all cloud gateway solutions can do this, but when they can they will further simplify the recovery process.

Whitewater can do this today. Let’s walk through a hypothetical.

Cloud-data Six months ago you deployed a Whitewater appliance on your network, pointed it to an Amazon S3 bucket, and retargeted your backup software to the appliance. All of your data is securely backed up offsite. Now the Bad Day happens: your phone rings incessantly, bloggers are griping about you, people paid more than you are mobbing your office. Now what? Well, since your data is already in Amazon Web Services, perhaps the AWS cloud can become your temporary data center? With Whitewater Virtual Edition you can start a compute instance that runs a virtualized appliance, import your encryption key, and obtain access to your data. Then you can start some application compute instances, extract your backed up data into live disk volumes, remap your DNS entries, and get back online.

No, it isn’t exactly point-and-click, at least not yet. But with some planning—mostly defining your compute instance types, understanding scale-out requirements, and testing application behavior—you can bring mission critical (read: revenue generating) applications into service in a matter of a few hours. With that out of the way, then, you can begin work on returning to normal.

There…that wasn’t so bad now, was it? Polish your smile—learn more about Riverbed’s cloud-based disaster recovery solutions today.

Posted in Disaster Recovery, Storage Cloud | 1 Comment »