Granite, the latest acceleration technology from Riverbed Technology, is designed to speed up storage across the WAN and drive the consolidation of data centers.
Well-known for its
application acceleration products, Riverbed Technology delves into the next
logical phase of speeding up traffic across WANs with its new accelerator
technology, called Granite. Simply put, Riverbed's Granite does for WAN
storage, what Riverbed's Steelhead does for application over the WANacceleration.
Riverbed Granite's primary
purpose is to improve storage performance across the WAN. It accomplishes that
by carrying out block data transfers across WANs without the many
back-and-forth exchanges that make such movements time-consuming now. Granite
can essentially achieve the same thing with blocks of data that Riverbed's
Steelhead appliance does with applications, slashing wait times at branches,
which can also provide the foundation for enterprises to centralize their
Eric Wolford, executive vice
president and general manager of the company's products group told eWEEK:
"Granite's ability to
accelerate storage is only part of the story. Granite will also improve virtual
desktop performance over long distances, making VDI [virtual desktop
infrastructure] possible for many more remote users."
The technology should prove
to be very important to enterprises as a way to consolidate data centers,
improve branch-office and remote-user experiences and ultimately reduce costs
by better using bandwidth and reducing the number of data centers needed by an
What's more, enterprises
should realize additional savings in the form of reduced management costs,
better leveraging of virtualization technologies and a cumulative reduction in
power usage from a reduced hardware footprint.
"Granite will help to
project data center storage to the edge of the network, so that the edge thinks
that the disk is actually local," said Wolford. "Performance gains
are provided by changing how a server typically gets data from a storage array.
Granite, using its awareness of the file system, allows the remote server to
retrieve all the required blocks of data in one round-trip transaction, instead
of making the server work with storage blocks to requests the bits from each
block in sequence. Over a WAN, that process can take a long time because
messages and data need to travel over a long distance."
Granite's ability to remove
the chattiness of storage transactions helps to reduce the realized latency
of moving data from storage across a WAN to a server. That allows enterprises
to take full advantage of the speed available on their current WAN links.
demonstrated Granite's effectiveness at a Feb. 1 press event in San Francisco
by showing 200MB of files being copied to a remote server from a data center in
a few seconds, and booting up a remote system from a Windows 2008 OS stored in
the data center in about 40 seconds. Although not a definitive test, the
demonstration did show that storage performance was increased multifold by the
Granite can be used for
centralizing resources in three key cases that Riverbed's other products were
unable to address: custom applications, write-intensive applications, and the
need to keep working at the remote site if disconnected from the data center, Wolford
When the technology ships in
the end of March, Granite will initially use iSCSI for block storage transfers
across the WAN, but the company plans later to add Fibre Channel capability. It
can bring that data to servers using Microsoft New Technology File System (NTFS),
with Linux Extended File System (EXT) coming later. Enterprises will be able to
get started with Granite for less than $12,000, according to Senior Product
Marketing Manager Miles Kelly.