Riverbed Launches New Public Cloud Storage Gateways for SMBs

Paul Mah
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How IT Can Save SMBs Big Money

If there is an evergreen discussion theme at conferences or other gatherings of IT managers and executives, it's on ways of reducing costs while upping productivity.

Network acceleration vendor Riverbed Technology has updated its Whitewater portfolio with two new models geared at the small- and mid-sized business market. Better known for its Steelhead range of WAN optimization appliances that dramatically reduce WAN bandwidth consumption, the newer Whitewater range was first launched last November and was created as a public cloud storage gateway to speed up backups to cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, EMC Atmos and Nirvanix Inc. At that time, Apurva Dave, vice president of product marketing at Riverbed, said that "Whitewater is designed to accelerate the process of backing up data to the cloud and giving users local-like performance for data restores."


Unlike Riverbed's Steelhead, Whitewater is an asymmetric appliance with only one appliance needed at the data center. This helps to lower cost, too, while popular backup software such as CA's ARCserve, Symantec's Backup Exec and NetBackup are supported, among others. The appliance sits behind a local media server and pulls data from the media server. A copy is stored on the device's cache while data is sent over the cloud via the available Internet connection. The device utilizes Steelhead dedupliation technology to perform simultaneous network and storage deduplication and compression, with deduplication ratios of up to 30-to-1 being touted by Riverbed.


On the security front, the appliance performs inline 256-bit AES encryption even as SSL v3 is used to upload the data. This is on top of any existing security protocols deployed by the chosen cloud service.


The company says it developed the WWA-510 and WWA-710 for the SMB space due to "significant demand" for the solution, according to InformationWeek. SearchCloudStorage.com reported on its specifications:

The Whitewater 510 offers 3.5 TB of local disk cache raw capacity, while the Whitewater 710 offers 7 TB of local disk cache capacity. Both devices have RAID 6 protection. The maximum ingest rate for the 510 is 400 GB an hour, while the ingest rate for the 710 is 600 GB an hour.

According to my back-of-the-envelope calculation, the above numbers mean that even the lower-end WWA- 510 has more than enough processing capability to saturate the effective bandwidth of a gigabit Ethernet network, which should be more than adequate for most SMBs. A virtual version of its Whitewater hardware is also offered, which runs on VMware ESX with an ingest rate of 250GB an hour (up from the previous 200GB an hour).


As you can imagine, Whitewater is well positioned to replace traditional tape backups for data backup. The use of robust AES encryption means that businesses are also protected from potential security breaches at cloud vendors. In fact, the large local cache in the Whitewater appliances may mean that SMBs with just a few terabytes of data could perform data restores completely from the local cache and not have to download anything.


No pricing information is disclosed, though Whitewater public cloud storage gateway from Riverbed may allow SMBs to put together a robust data recovery solution without the need for a hefty hardware investment.

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