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Riverbed spills into storage market

Riverbed, a well-known vendor in the WAN optimization space, is now expanding their product line to include a new storage optimization appliance called Atlas — which will place them as a strong contender in the storage market space. Although the product is not set to launch until the beginning of next year, it is said to revolutionize data storage by applying some of its WAN optimization tricks to the server.

How will Atlas put them on the map? The concept of the technology is as VP of Product Marketing Alan Saldich says: “It’s almost like virtualizing data.”

For those unfamiliar with their typical WAN optimization deployment, steelhead appliances are applied to either side of a WAN link to conduct deduplication in storage file servers. But Riverbed’s Atlas steelhead appliances will break files down into bits, and send only information to the server that hasn’t been seen before.

“The Atlas appliance is very much like [an] indexer. It doesn’t hold the information; it holds pointers to where that information is stored,” says Saldich.

Since so much of back-up data is duplicated, Riverbed finds their method would potentially save as much as 80% of storage space in file servers.

What does this mean for their WAN optimization products? Although some may see this product announcement as a way for Riverbed to drift away from their original market, they are merely diversifying their portfolio. PR rep Nicole Schlossberg says Riverbed is not leaving the WAN optimization space. Atlas is an addition to the product line.”

The line between network and storage markets is too permeable for a vendor to see them as two separate spaces. It makes sense that a WAN optimization vendor could also optimize your storage. And though the marketplace has dissolved the line between these two siloed groups, the workforce hasn’t moved its IT structure to adapt.

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