McData is rebranding Riverbed's Steelhead appliance as the SpectraNet WDS Accelerator and will begin shipping the product by the end of this month.
"Riverbed is the anchor of the ROC initiative … which aims to consolidate remote sites into the data center," said Raj Das, vice president of the advanced products group at McData. "We are moving data from the edge to the core." He said the company spent a year evaluating technology before selecting Riverbed's appliance. The return on investment in this technology is about a year, McData claims.
Organizations deploying these products often face regulatory compliance and need to be more thorough about how they back up data at remote sites. Recovering it quickly and in a standard way is the ultimate goal. Others are checking out WDS to consolidate IT and save costs. Organizations such as T. Rowe Price and Electronic Arts are well underway with global deployments.
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McData's initiative includes two other new products: SpectraNet Replicator for Exchange and McData bandwidth services. The former is offered through an OEM agreement with FalconStor Software Inc. and improves local file, database or Outlook mailbox recovery, or remote disaster recovery for Microsoft Exchange environments. McData's bandwidth services provide telecommunications bandwidth and WAN monitoring and management, which the company picked up through its acquisition of CNT.
"McData's challenge, once into the branch, is dealing with more than the storage folks," said Joe Skorupa, research director at Gartner Inc. "These kinds of deployments are often driven by the network or application people, not the storage people that McData knows." However, he says these groups are being forced to work together on compliance projects.
Analysts say that with over 600 customers and a second major OEM deal under its belt, it's no surprise Riverbed is preparing an S1 filing to go public this summer, if it isn't acquired first. Riverbed signed its first OEM deal with Hewlett-Packard Co. in May 2005.
"[By] preparing for an initial public offering (IPO), Riverbed is forcing the hand for someone to buy them," according to Skorupa. Riverbed reported revenue of $25 million last year and is projecting $60 million to $75 million this year, Skorupa said. He said he believes Cisco is significantly behind in this market and has the cash to take out Riverbed if it chooses. "[Cisco] has a bunch of piece parts that it still has to knit together." Buying Riverbed would "kill McData's" initiative, he said, and bring Cisco some big accounts.
For more conservative users, analysts say this market is changing fast and still has a ways to go before it's clear who the leaders will be.