Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Riverbed Steel Fusion: A New Approach to Remote Office Infrastructure

Riverbed Steel Fusion: A New Approach to Remote Office Infrastructure  

 

Approaching the remote office/branch office (ROBO) deployment can be a more complicated task than it originally appears. Many vendors in this space offer a quick deployment, but fail to look deeper into the needs of the business to provide a well rounded solution. How does a business plan for disaster recovery at a remote site? What about offices in foreign countries? Data location and international laws could complicate the ability to protect intellectual property of the business. Enter Riverbed Steel Fusion. Steel Fusion offers administrators simplified ROBO deployments, centralized management, and provides options for problems that could be easily overlooked when planning for remote offices.   

What is the SteelFusion Solution?


SteelFusion is a Software-Defined Edge solution consisting of a two parts: Core and Edge. In the on-premises data center, the SteelFusion Core (a physical appliance or virtual machine) is connected to the SAN or NAS storage. It should be noted that the SteelFusion core can also be linked to AWS or Azure storage components for those with a multi-cloud solution. The SteelFusion Edge appliance is deployed at the remote site. Once the base network configuration is made, the appliance is remotely managed from the Core.


Riverbed's Parimal Puranik white boarding SteelFusion at TFD15

How does SteelFusion differentiate from other ROBO solutions?


SteelFusion separates itself from the pack by keeping corporate data housed in the main data center. With the data on-premises, planning for backup and disaster recovery is simplified to one site. No need to develop a complicated solution encompassing multiple remote offices. Similarly, since data lives in the SAN/NAS, it becomes less vulnerable to foreign data laws. The data required by the ROBO, whether it be files or VM disks, is replicated and cached to the Edge, and changes are written back to the SAN/NAS at the Core.

Aside from passing the data to the remote site, the Edge appliance can also replace traditional compute solutions with Riverbed’s Virtual Services Platform. VSP runs VMware ESXi to on the SteelFusion Edge appliance, eliminating the need for additional hardware.

On paper the solution seems solid, but does it hold up in the real world? The answer appears to be yes. Based on statistics provided by Riverbed in September of 2017, there are over 10,000 appliances deployed across 1,200 customers globally. From experience in my professional life, installation and management is easy. I have encountered a few enterprises in my area currently utilizing SteelFusion, or with plans to implement SteelFusion in 2018. While it may not be a perfect solution for every ROBO use case, SteelFusion is certainly worth investigating.

For a deeper overview of Riverbed’s SteelHead technology, check out their presentation at Tech Field Day 15 Here.



Disclaimer: I was invited to participate as a Tech Field Day Delegate as a guest of Gestalt IT. All expenses, including food, transportation, and hotel were covered by Gestalt IT. I did not receive any compensation to write this post, nor was I requested to write this post. The above post is written of my opinion and not that of Gestalt IT.

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