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Riverbed upgrades Whitewater cloud storage gateways

Riverbed adds three new Whitewater public cloud storage gateway models and clarifies the differences between Whitewater and Steelhead WAN acceleration devices.

Riverbed Technology today upgraded its Whitewater appliances with two new small- to medium-sized business (SMB) models and a midrange device, and recast them as public cloud storage gateways rather than storage accelerators.

Riverbed’s new 510 and 710 cloud storage gateway models (designed for SMBs) are a follow up to the company’s Riverbed Whitewater 1000 and 2000 cloud storage models launched last November. A new 2010 model replaces the 2000, and is aimed at the midrange as well as small enterprises.

When launched last November, Riverbed called Whitewater devices cloud storage accelerators but decided to change the marketing around them to avoid confusing the gateways with its Steelhead WAN optimization appliances.

“We found there was confusion,” said Eric Thacker, Riverbed’s director of product marketing. “We wanted to make sure that Whitewater wasn't considered another flavor of WAN acceleration.”

One big difference between the Whitewater and Steelhead devices is that Whitewater moves data in an asymmetrical fashion while Steelhead transfers data symmetrically. Asymmetric transfers can move data upstream and downstream at different speeds and is better suited to Internet sessions such as cloud transmissions.

The Whitewater 510 offers 3.5 TB of local disk cache raw capacity, while the Whitewater 710 offers 7 TB of local disk cache capacity. Both devices have RAID 6 protection. The maximum ingest rate for the 510 is 400 GB an hour, while the ingest rate for the 710 is 600 GB an hour. Riverbed also upgraded the performance of its Virtual Whitewater software version so that it can ingest 250 GB an hour rather than the initial 200 GB an hour ingest rate. Virtual Whitewater runs on VMware ESX environments.

The 2010 appliance has 11 TB of local disk capacity with RAID 6 protection and can ingest 1 TB of data an hour. Riverbed doesn't disclose pricing but it has tweaked the licensing for the 2010 appliance so that the baseline cloud storage capacity limit is higher in the 2010 vs. the 2000.

Riverbed Whitewater supports CA ARCserve, EMC NetWorker and Quest Software vRanger applications, in addition to IBM Tivoli software, and Symantec Backup Exec or NetBackup. It works with cloud providers AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service, Amazon Web Services, EMC Atmos, and, Nirvanix Inc.

Whitewater appliances can't be clustered into an active-active configuration for failover protection, so if the device crashes, the end user must either spin up a virtual version or install another device. The appliance sits behind the media server and looks like a local disk target.

Users can back up to Whitewater by using a network-attached storage (NAS) interface. Data is pulled from the media server and stored in the Whitewater cache while a copy is also sent to the cloud. As the cache gets filled up, new data overwrites the older data. A copy of the data always remains in the cloud for restores.

“It’s first in and first out,” Thacker said.

Whitewater appliances use the Steelhead deduplication technology, performing simultaneous network and storage deduplication, compression and 256-bit AES and SSL v3 encryption. The appliance does data deduplication inline, then stores deduplicated data in the cloud. Active data can be pulled from the local cache while older data is rehydrated into the Whitewater cache from the cloud, Thacker said.

“You can do restores from the local cache,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of restores are done within 30 days.”

John Lax, vice president of information systems at the Washington, D.C.-based International Justice Mission, said his company is using the Whitewater 710 model in its main data center to back up 1.2 TB of data per week to Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3). He said the 710 can back up 1.1 GB a minute and provides a 6.8 compression rate on the data it backs up. “We can operate that data center in hands-off mode,” Lax said. “It’s a lights out data center.”

The company previously backed up to tape and moved it offsite every two weeks, so it could potentially lose two weeks’ worth of data if disaster struck the data center, Lax said. “We're using the public cloud because it's easily extensible,” he said. “I don’t have to do a large capital investment.”

Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said data protection is emerging as a sweet spot for cloud storage, especially among SMBs.

“They're focusing on a specific workload -- backup,” he said. “This is one area [in which] customers are willing to adopt to the cloud.”

Riverbed doesn't disclose pricing. However, each Whitewater device has a baseline price that includes a cloud storage capacity license model the company describes as “low, medium, high and very high.” The license determines how much cloud storage capacity can be used per cloud storage gateway appliance. Customers must also buy a subscription from their cloud provider.

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