Riverbed Whitewater Expands Cloud Acceleration and Storage

As the move toward cloud-based IT infrastructure continues, so too does the need for network acceleration. To that end, WAN acceleration vendor Riverbed (NASDAQ:RVBD) is announcing new cloud-focused application and storage acceleration technologies to help expedite the adoption and usage of cloud technologies.

From Riverbed’s perspective, enterprises are facing two core problems when it comes to cloud adoption: distance and data.

“The distance problem is that of distance and latency, where the further you move data and users away from each other, the longer it takes to access information,” Apurva Davé vice president of product marketing at Riverbed told InternetNews.com. “The data problem is the fact that there [are] increasing amounts of data to move and now with cloud there is more data to migrate and there is more data to store, which creates congestion and performance problems.”

That’s where network acceleration technologies come into play, with technologies from multiple vendors including Blue Coat, Cisco and Citrix. Riverbed’s core product offering is theSteelhead acceleration appliance which has had a virtual edition since at least July of this year. Riverbed is now announcing a Cloud Steelhead version which is specifically tailored for public Amazon cloud deployments.

Dave explained that the goal with Cloud Steelhead is to enable deployment of the acceleration technology in three clicks or less, providing both automation and simplicity to WAN optimization. He added that Cloud Steelhead includes a virtual machine discovery system that will enable an administrator to identify all the virtual machines on a cloud instance that need to be optimized.


The cloud model is now also being considered by enterprises as a potential route for storage and disaster recovery systems, which presents a new set of challenges for WAN acceleration technologies. Dave noted that Riverbed has been selling Steelhead appliances to accelerate storage backup, though he added that there is a need in the storage space for more than just acceleration. That’s why Riverbed is now announcing a new cloud storage and backup solution called, Whitewater.

“As a departure from Riverbed’s Steelhead, Whitewater is an asymmetric appliance, so you only need one in the datacenter as opposed to one on both ends,” Dave said. “Whitewater is designed to accelerate the process of backing up data to the cloud and giving users local-like performance for data restores.”

Whitewater includes acceleration, de-duplication and security features for cloud based backups. Dave explained that de-duplication of data occurs as the data is in motion across the WAN as well as when the data is at rest in the cloud.

The data is secured in motion via SSL and at rest via a 256 bit AES encryption. Dave noted that the security key itself never leaves the borders of the enterprise data center.

“So while the data might live in the cloud, the key to access it is always in your possession,” Dave said.

Whitewater is a new technology that leverages some of the acceleration components of Riverbed’s existing RIOS operating system as part of the new Riverbed Whitewater 1.0 OS. On the hardware side, Whitewater is available as a physical appliance, though hardware is not the key differentiator for Riverbed.

“Our magic sauce is all in the software,” Dave said. “Our hardware is typically off-the-shelf commodity components.”

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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