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6/7/2011
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Riverbed Unveils SMB Cloud Storage Gateways

Riverbed uses deduplication, large caches, and encryption to help companies quickly and securely move large amounts of data between their private networks and public clouds.

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Riverbed has launched two new gateway devices intended to optimize cloud storage for small and midsize businesses managing large amounts of data.

Uploading terabytes of data to public clouds--or, on the flip side, downloading them in a recovery situation--can be a time-consuming process. That's where Riverbed sees its opportunity--the company has expanded its Whitewater lineup of gateway devices for speeding up and securing those transfers. Two of them--the WWA-510 and WWA-710--were developed for SMBs, while the WWA-2010 model is intended for larger organizations. The 510 and 710 models are actually descendants of Riverbed's earlier Whitewater 1000 device, which is no longer available. The company also offers a virtual version of its Whitewater hardware.

"One of the things that we've discovered is that there's significant demand for this type of solution within the SMB space," said Eric Thacker, Riverbed's product marketing director, in an interview. According to Thacker, splitting the 1000 model between the 510 and 710 was based on demand for different mixes of performance and price.

Both SMB devices feature RAID 6 protection and no limits on the amount of data that can be transferred to the cloud. The 510 model has a 3.5-TB local cache capacity and can ingest up to 400 GB per hour; the 710 unit has a 7-TB local cache and a maximum ingest rate of 600 GB per hour. The multi-TB cache capacity in both devices means the most recent jobs are also backed up locally for faster recovery. In fact, SMBs with just a TB or two of data might never have to actually pull down data from their cloud storage.

Data is SSL-encrypted during transmission off-site and with 256-bit AES when it's stored, in addition to whatever security protocols the cloud vendor uses. Simplicity and interoperability is also key to Whitewater's approach--the devices are intended to be more or less plug-and-play gateways between existing on-premises infrastructure and a wide range of cloud storage vendors.

"In between, we built all this stuff that a customer would need to process those jobs efficiently and securely," Thacker said. "The data coming in goes where the customer wants it to, and the customer can retrieve that data as quickly as possible whenever they need to, from wherever they need to, in a secure way."

Riverbed touts deduplication ratios of up to 30-to-1 for Whitewater devices. That's a boon for streamlining cloud backup, but of particular note to budget-conscious SMBs. Part of the appeal of a service like Amazon S3 is that you only pay for what you use; deduplication helps ensure you only pay for what you need. That's an important distinction for smaller firms expecting their data needs--and likewise their storage costs--to continue growing.

"We've heard a lot [from] customers worried about how they're going to be able to deal with the explosive growth in data that's being forecasted that they have to manage," Thacker said, adding that budget constraints exacerbate the challenges of data growth. "It's sort of a Catch-22 situation."

As the volume of corporate data continues to grow, IT pros keep investing in new storage usage technologies. Compression still ranks No. 1, according to InformationWeek Analytics' 2010 Data Deduplication Survey, though respondents rely increasingly on dedupe, as well as thin provisioning and MAID. Download it here (registration required).

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