Riverbed is rebranding its Granite network acceleration product portfolio today with the new SteelFusion brand as the technology moves forward to converge multiple features.
Granite was first announced by Riverbed back in 2012 as part of a broader technology initiative known as the Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (Edge-VSI). The Granite technology was updated again in July of 2013, providing support for Fibre Channel-based storage in addition to iSCSI-based storage.
With the new SteelFusion 3.0 release, Eric Carter, director of Product Marketing at Riverbed, told Enterprise Networking Planet that Riverbed is taking the opportunity to rename the product to signal what it is really is: converged infrastructure, or, more accurately, branch converged infrastructure.
"Granite, now SteelFusion, is the integration of server, storage, networking, and virtualization into a single solution that reduces branch footprint and delivers local performance, but that also centralizes data in the datacenter," Carter explained.
Riverbed's core network acceleration platform has long been its Steelhead appliances. SteelFusion integrates the traditional Steelhead network acceleration capabilities as part of the platform. A key addition that SteelFusion provides over a regular Steelhead is the inclusion of patented technology that Riverbed has branded as Blockstream.
Carter explained that Blockstream's role is to centralize data in the datacenter and project Virtual Machines, as well as a working set of data, out to the branch. From a technical perspective, the way Blockstream works is with an authoritative block cache built into the SteelFusion Edge converged appliance. Additionally there is a block-level pre-fetch algorithm that streamlines how the SteelFusion Core storage delivery controller accesses SAN data. Carter noted that Blockstream also provides data deduplication technology that reduces the amount of data transferred between Edge and Core.
"The goal of the predictive pre-fetch is to overcome block access latency on data reads," Carter explained. "This capability enables a datacenter-stored VM to boot in the branch in minutes and eliminates delays in accessing files stored in one physical location but accessed from a distant location."
Additionally, the SteelFusion appliances include the Riverbed Virtual Services Platform (VSP), which delivers a fully integrated instance of the VMware vSphere hypervisor optimized to run remotely on a hardened branch appliance. The VSP technology originally got its start on Riverbed appliances back in 2008 under the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) name.
With the new SteelFusion appliances, the expectation is that it could serve as a replacement for an older Steelhead box that might be present in an enterprise.
"For branch offices that need to run local services and applications, the SteelFusion box is an evolution that provides value that includes optimizing a network and extends to simplifying branch footprint as well as centralizing business data to ensure it is well cared-for, secured and backed up in the datacenter," Carter said.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist