Riverbed Updates Granite for the Edge

Granite 2.5 release brings new software and network hardware platforms.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Jul 15, 2013
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Riverbed is updating its Granite data center server and data consolidation solution with new software and hardware.

Granite first debuted in February of 2012 as part of Riverbed's Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (Edge-VSI) initiative.

"Granite sort of vacuums up all of the servers and data that are out at branch offices and pulls it back into the data center," Jerome Noll, cloud storage marketing director at Riverbed, explained to Enterprise Networking Planet.

Noll said that the new Granite 2.5 release expands on the initial promise of Granite by enabling even more consolidation of servers and storage, as well as the ability to centralize backup operations.

The 2.5 release now supports Fibre Channel storage for the virtual Granite device. Previously, Granite only supported iSCSI-based storage.

"A lot of storage arrays today support both iSCSI and Fibre Channel, but a number of our customers were asking for Fibre Channel connectivity," Noll said. "So the net of that is that we can now address 90 percent of the total Storage Area Networking market."

Backup Management

The Granite 2.5 release also improves its backup management capabilities. Noll noted that Granite has always had the ability to run snapshots at the edge of the network and then move that data back into the data center for backup.

Basically, the new backup management capabilities aim to simplify the process of branch backup to the data center.

"In this release we've built a new GUI and a new scheduler that makes it easier for admin in the data center to configure the snapshots across all of their appliances," Noll said. "It allows us to capture application-consistent snapshots from the branch office that are triggered from the storage array."

Hardware

Granite runs on top of Riverbed's Steelhead EX WAN optimization appliances. While the Granite 2.5 update will work on existing Steelhead EX appliances, Riverbed is also expanding the portfolio with the new Steelhead EX 1360 model.

The Steelhead EX 1360 supports up to 10 TB of usable storage. Prior to the EX 1360, Riverbed's largest appliance offered only a 4 TB storage cache.

"This device moves up the ability of folding up an entire branch office onto Granite, because of the enhanced compute performance and storage capacity," Noll said.

Noll explained that the way most customers will use Granite on the EX 1360 is in a "cache mode." In that mode, the hot/active data sits in the appliance, while all the other data is available quickly via the WAN connection to the data center.

Riverbed currently plans on having the new Steelhead EX 1360 and the Granite 2.5 software releases generally available in the third quarter of this year.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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