Hyper-converged infrastructure in the data center has been all the rage over the past few years. In the data center, hyper-convergence is a system with tightly integrated compute, storage, network and virtualization technology. Its main value proposition is to simplify the architecture of the data center and enables it to be controlled through software. Despite the strong value proposition of hyper-convergence, the technology has remained focused on the data center with little applicability to the branch.
The irony of this is that branch offices are often the lifeblood of organizations and is where the majority of work is done. Despite the criticality of the branch, the technology deployed in these locations is often old, inefficient and performs poorly and can often put businesses at risk. WAN outages cause application outages, which directly costs the organization money.
Riverbed (Riverbed is a ZK Research client), the market leader in WAN optimization, offers a “hyper-converged” solution for branch locations. A branch hyper-converged solution obviously isn’t the same as one for the data center, but the value proposition is. Riverbed’s SteelFusion product simplifies the edge and enables it to be controlled through software. There’s a third point of value that’s unique to the branch and that it makes the edge stateless.
SteelFusion is a two-sided solution with infrastructure in both the data center and branch. The branch device combines compute, storage, networking and virtualization. All branch services run as virtual machines on the edge box and is continually being mirrored to a device in the data center. The branch user runs applications on the edge device so they get the benefits of local performance.
The IT department can maintain the software and back up information from the data center so no more pulling massive amounts of packets over the WAN and having backups fail in the middle of the night. If the network connection goes down, everything keeps running in disconnected mode. This provides a true win-win-win scenario as the users get the best possible performance, the IT department can work with local infrastructure and the business knows its data is backed up and secured. If you’re a disciple of the Michael Scott School of business, you’ll know that a win-win-win approach is the best there is.
This week Riverbed released version 4.3 of SteelFusion that extends the hyper-converged solution to the cloud with support for Amazon Web Services through Azure through Microsoft StorSimple and through AWS Storage Gateway. This gives customers more flexibility and choice of cloud based data storage across edge locations. This enables the company to use the cloud as a secondary storage source for added capacity, backup or tiering in conjunction with private cloud needs.
The new version of SteelFusion gives customers more options with respect to where to store remote data. Now it can be on premises or in the Azure or AWS cloud. While public cloud services are becoming more widely adopted, most businesses want to run in hybrid mode for the foreseeable future. Riverbed SteelFusion enables the shift to hybrid environments while delivering on the benefits of hyper-converged infrastructure.