Riverbed unveils reframed SteelFusion with new hyperconverged platform

The new software-defined platform has 2.5 times more compute and ten times more storage than its predecessor, as well as software enhancements that improve security and speed up provisioning and recovery times.

SteelFusionEdgeScreen 525

The SteelFusion Edge screen

Riverbed Technology has announced Riverbed SteelFusion 4.0, its branch office converged infrastructure solution, which was known as Granite before its rebranding last year. Riverbed is using the tagline of ‘Zero Branch IT’ with the new platform, meaning that it requires no servers, no storage, and no backup, and facilitates both instant provisioning and recovery and instant application availability.

‘Zero Branch IT makes it similar to delivering apps on a smartphone, rethinking how solutions are delivered at the edge,” said Josh Dobies, senior director of product marketing at Riverbed. “This is a new solution with a completely updated platform. We are calling it hyperconverged infrastructure because it is software-defined, and compared to its predecessor it has 2.5 times more compute, ten times more storage, and new software.”

These enhancements allow SteelFusion 4.0 to centralize and secure more data from branches into the data center, support larger branch offices, and ensure seamless continuity of branch operations. The branch footprint is a simple 1U rack device.

“This will allow customers to consolidate all the data that exists on remote locations centrally, and without compromising the ability to access it at the edge,” Dobies said. “Recovering from a branch outage becomes simpler. You can instantly reply and provision services to the branch as easily as spinning up a VM.”

Data from a study Riverbed released in February 2015 indicate branch IT is increasingly at risk, cost-inefficient and hard to support.

“Branch offices are only increasing in importance, and nearly 50 per cent of all employees work in them,” Dobies said. 50 per cent of data resides in them, so there is concern about risk, and 50 per cent of IT budgets support them as well. The new platform lets you secure and protect all branch data in the data centre, where it is safest, while delivering local performance and availability at the branch because some applications, the kind WAN optimization can’t accelerate fast enough, do need to be run locally.” This includes data collection applications, in industries covering the gamut from retail to oil and gas.

With the new platform, security is enhanced because all data is secured in the data centre and encrypted end-to-end. Riverbed says productivity will be enhanced because branch application performance is increased up to 100 times. Operational agility is also improved because of 30 per cent faster deployment of branch services and sites.

“All these efficiencies are created because the platform extends all the features and capabilities of the datacentre out to the branch,” Dobies said.

A key innovation in the enhanced security is SteelFusion FusionSync, which synchronizes branch-office data across private and hybrid cloud environments, to ensure all branch data is accessible in case of a data centre failure.

“FusionSync keeps the branch sites in sync with the data centre, so if the main data centre goes down, the branch can continue to run in a disconnected mode, with virtually no data loss,” Dobies said. A single-click orchestrated failover activates the backup data centre site. The result is that the amount of data lost by a failure can now be measured in milliseconds or seconds, instead of hours or days. Recovery time will also be 100 times faster.


The new SteelFusion Core platform

Riverbed also announced new SteelFusion Core and Edge platforms. The new SteelFusion Core platform can support 100 to 150TB branch office locations in a single appliance, to support even larger, global deployments. The new SteelFusion Edge platform supports even larger branch offices and regional hubs, delivering 4x the memory for virtual machines topping at 256GB in order to run a greater number of local workloads.

Three models in the new Edge platform also feature Advanced Tiering Cache to support more write-intensive workloads. Advanced Tiering Cache complements the existing write cache with solid-state disk read functionality. The new Edge platform replaces all existing SteelFusion Edge models.

SteelFusion 4.0 is expected to be generally available this month.