Riverbed Granite extends iSCSI in a very cool way

This week, ESG Lab published its Lab Report on the new Riverbed Steelhead EX + Granite.

It was a privilege to work with two ESG Lab Engineers, Tony Palmer and Ajen Johan, to do some hands-on with the new Riverbed technologies.

To me, the really cool part of Granite is how it changes some presumptions for branch offices.  Traditionally, I still see large customers doing things in two very different ways:

  • For their large data center facilities, SAN-based manageable and consolidated storage.
  • For their remote offices, standalone servers with direct-attached disk.

The reason for this is that most presume that managing a SAN at each branch office is non-viable.  So, even though managed storage may be more effective for many scenarios, it only seems to happen in the data centers of many companies.   If only there was a way to do it for the branches?

The Granite technology effectively extends an iSCSI scenario from your data center SAN to a branch office server.   Technically, there are two iSCSI scenarios in play:

  • Within the data center (diagram-left), the Granite “core” device has an iSCSI initiator to mount LUNs from your existing iSCSI SAN provider.
  • At the branch office (diagram-right), the Granite “edge” device caches a copy of that LUN and becomes an iSCSI target, whereby any machine in your branch with an iSCSI initiator can mount it.

           RiverbedSteelheadEX + Granite (iSCSI functionality)

The result is that managed storage blocks that appear local are in fact replicated from a centralized data center copy.  This leads to some really interesting (and presumption-twisting) changes from a Data Protection perspective.  Maybe you still run your backups at the branch?  Maybe you want to finally adopt NDMP and back up directly from the SAN at the data center?  There are some options worth looking at, without ripping out whatever backup solution is currently in play.

There is more to the Steelhead EX + Granite solution than just the iSCSI capabilities, including a built-in VMware hypervisor inside the new Riverbed device – enabling further server consolidation to VMs within the edge device, using iSCSI LUNs that are actually from the corporate data center.

Check out the ESG Lab Validation on Riverbed Steelhead EX + Granite for more.

As always, thanks for reading.

[Originally posted on ESG at Technical Optimist .com]

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