Looking to take the whole concept of virtual data center to the next logical level, Riverbed launched an upgrade to the Riverbed SteelFusion platform that makes it possible to remove all servers and storage from branch offices.
Josh Dobies, senior director of product marketing and strategy for SteelHead and SteelFusion platforms, says that rather than trying to remote-manage IT infrastructure in branch offices, it’s now feasible to provide a complete virtual instance of the IT environment for branch office within a centrally managed data center environment.
“Right now IT being delivered at the branch office is rigid, insecure, and inefficient,” says Dobies. “We’re trying to make provisioning new services for the branch office as easy as provisioning a VM.”
Dobies says at the core of Version 4.0 of Riverbed SteelFusion is a new FusionSync capability that leverage Riverbed wide area network (WAN) optimization and storage technologies to keep track of changes to the virtual instance of a local server environment that is presented to users in a branch office.
With half of IT budgets allocated to support remote offices, Dobies says Riverbed SteelFusion creates an opportunity for IT organizations to dramatically reduce costs. Not only has WAN optimization technology evolved in terms of I/O throughputs that can be sustained, the latest version of the Riverbed SteelFusion appliance makes greater use of caching using up to 256GB of memory, says Dobies.
The end result, says Dobies, is an ability to deploy a “Zero IT Branch” computing strategy that might actually encourage organizations to open more branch offices because the IT infrastructure needed to support them can be deployed as a virtual entity that physically resides in a centralized data center environment.
IT organizations have not only spent a lot of money on tools to monitor IT infrastructure deployed in remote offices, many of them also wind up having to physically visit those offices multiple times a year. Add up all the travel expenses associated with visiting those remote offices and the amount of time required to get there and the cost and productivity challenges associated with supporting remote offices rapidly becomes substantial. Of course, organizations can opt either hire full time IT personnel to support a remote office, hire a contractor or try to turn a member of the office staff into the local IT expert. But each of those approaches either incurs or takes someone away from their primary job function.
In contrast, providing IT services within a virtual data center environment should not only lower the total cost of IT; it should just as importantly lead to a more consistent delivery of higher quality IT services.