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Riverbed Granite enables branch infrastructure consolidation

Riverbed Granite enables branch infrastructure consolidation with its edge-VSI architecture. You can finally eliminate those last branch-based servers.

While enterprises are consolidating branch office infrastructure into data centers to save money and streamline operations, users in those branches still expect applications and services to perform as if they are local. Delivering that “local” performance in the midst of branch infrastructure consolidation falls on the shoulders of network managers.

Riverbed Technology claims its new Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (edge-VSI) will allow enterprises to finally remove those last remaining servers and storage devices from branch offices and consolidate them into data centers.

Branch infrastructure consolidation: edge-VSI and Riverbed Granite

Edge-VSI is powered by the new Riverbed Granite appliance, an offering available as both hardware and software that decouples branch edge servers from storage, allowing enterprises to present applications and data to branch users with low latency and high reliability, as though they were locally hosted. Granite consists of Riverbed Granite Core, a data center appliance available as a physical or virtual product, and Riverbed Granite Edge, software that runs on Riverbed’s new Steelhead EX WAN optimization appliances in the branch.

Riverbed Granite optimizes storage traffic between the data center and the branch at the block layer by converting server-to-storage communications from sequential transactions to parallel transactions. This optimization makes the acquisition of data from storage far more efficient for servers and allows a server to exist far away from a storage resource. Network managers can then deploy applications as virtual servers on Steelhead EX appliances without any additional hardware in the branch.

Branch infrastructure consolidation: Early Riverbed Granite customers

While enterprises are pursuing complete branch infrastructure consolidation, many enterprises typically leave several servers in branch locations because of performance issues. But products like Riverbed Granite can remove the need for these remaining servers, eliminating costly upkeep and maintenance.

GeoEngineers, Inc., an earth science and technology advisory group, uses Riverbed Steelhead products across nine office locations throughout the United States, according to Mitchel G. Weinberger, the company's information technology manager. He has been testing Granite over the past three years. He has deployed Granite into production in one office location, and intends to use the new edge-VSI architecture to replace local file servers in each of his branch offices.

“The benefit for us is we will be able to move all of the data in each of the file servers to Granite, so all the data can be managed at the data center,” Weinberger said.

Paul Hastings LLP, an international law firm with data centers in 19 cities worldwide, is seeking to eliminate the overhead associated with excess data centers and consolidate data into a smaller core of data centers, according to Searl Tate, director of network engineering at the firm.

Tate said he plans to maintain four major data centers -- located in New York City, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Paris -- while replacing the other data centers with virtual storage infrastructure and Riverbed’s Granite products. Moving data back into the core data centers will boost efficiency for the firm, he said.

“It’s a thing of beauty -- we are really looking forward to streamlining our operations by taking 19 data centers down to four,” he said.

“The whole idea is to compress and reduce on both sides of the wire so that users are not transmitting huge blocks of data over the WAN,” Tate said. “Now, enterprises must extend the idea of WAN optimization to [their] remote locations.”

More on branch infrastructure consolidation:

Private cloud: Branch consolidation and WAN optimization

WAN security and consolidation

WAN cost savings for branch consolidation

Check out our guide to server consolidation 

Branch infrastructure consolidation: Cost savings for the enterprise

Enterprises and organizations that deploy Riverbed Granite could save up to 50% compared to other approaches to managing distributed infrastructure, the company claims.

Weinberger said he expects to save money by reducing the cost of local data backup in branch locations and eliminating maintenance costs on local branch servers. Eliminating all that local hardware will also free up his team to focus on other projects rather than managing remote resources.

With most of his IT staff located at GeoEngineers’ headquarters in Seattle, Weinberger often had to fly IT staff to remote locations to fix branch servers.

“If we have a virtual machine running over Steelhead, the requirements for IT maintenance on the ground will certainly be significantly lessened,” he said.  

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer

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