Riverbed re-brands storage offerings, adds to the stack

New SteelFusion appliance headed for the branch

Riverbed Technology Tuesday released a rebranded SteelFusion line of storage appliances, signaling its intention to further centralize its branch office lines and combine as much functionality as possible into a single device.

SteelFusion 3.0 software (incremented from Granite 2.6) will ship on new SteelFusion 1160, 1260 and 1360 appliances.


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Two entirely new devices – the SteelFusion Core 3000 data center appliance and the SteelFusion Edge 1360p – were launched today as well. The idea of the binary offering, according to Riverbed product marketing director Eric Carter, is to provide a high degree of flexibility and visibility – allowing VMs to live on the core unit in a main data center, but be used and managed from the branch office, for example.

“When we think about this architecture, it’s not just converging in the branch, it’s also bringing the data back into the data center,” he says. “And when we do that, we can do things like get rid of even more infrastructure, meaning backup can now happen centrally, instead of in like 55 branches.”

Getting as much IT functionality under one roof as possible is the big idea behind this re-branding, analysts say. Forrester Research Vice President and principal analyst Richard Fichera says Riverbed has been working towards such a goal for years.

“They’re no longer looking to just provide the WAN optimization, they’re actually looking to provide some of the stuff that the central IT people think about now,” he says.

According to Fichera, the strength of the SteelFusion offering is likely to be price and convenience, rather than any single functionality.

“It’s not that any one piece is totally unique, but the integrated packaging and what appears to be a really efficient op-ex experience is a very strong set of capabilities for somebody who’s looking to deploy remote computing,” he says.

Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst for Enterprise Strategy Group, echoed Fichera’s comments about operational expenditure being a key factor in SteelFusion’s appeal to potential users, but added that there may be some other upsides.

“Basically it helps organizations reduce the infrastructure footprint at the remote or branch office, which should help to reduce costs,” he says. “In some cases, it may also help to eliminate having sensitive data in scary places.”

The SteelFusion Core 3000 appliance will start at $8,000, while the Edge 1360p unit will start at $8,500. Both are set to go on sale in early May, according to Riverbed.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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