The cloud isn’t just for application delivery, it’s also a potential storage target as well.

Networking vendor Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD), this week is growing its Whitewater cloud storage solution with new capabilities and partnerships. Whitewater was first announced in November of 2010 as a hardware appliance for storage acceleration.

“We’re expanding with different frontends and backends for Whitewater,” Eric Thacker, Director of Product Marketing for Whitewater told “There is a lot of buzz around cloud storage right now and people are looking at it to help get them away from the short comings of tape and customer owned disks.”

Thacker added that the cloud can provide better levels of storage service at lower cost than on-premise solutions. That said, there are still some challenges when it comes to using the cloud for storage. One of those challenges is the speed with which storage data can be transferred to and from the cloud. That’s where Whitewater comes into play as a storage acceleration technology for the cloud.

“Whitewater is a drop in solution for customers that want to connect their current data centers to the cloud but don’t want to completely change how their data centers operate,” Thacker. “The nice thing about what we’re announcing now is that we’re expanding the base that can take advantage of the Whitewater benefits.”

With Whitewater, Riverbed has included acceleration and de-duplication features that are specifically built for storage traffic. In contrast, Riverbed’s Steelhead product lineup is a more generic WAN acceleration solution for all types of data.

As part of the Whitewater product update, Riverbed is upping the version number of its underlying storage acceleration operating system to Whitewater OS 1.1. The primary different between Whitewater OS 1.1 and the initial 1.0 version is expanded support for third party storage systems. When Whitewater first launched, there was support for Symantec NetBackup, EMC Atmos and IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager as well as Amazon’s S3 storage service. Riverbed is now expanding Whitewater to support EMC NetWorker, Quest vRanger, and CA ARCserve Backup. Whitewater is now also supported on the Nirvanix Storage Delivery Network (SDN). “The benefits of this solution is that customers can move data into the cloud faster and they download data faster,” Steve Zivanic, VP of marketing from Nirvanix told “From the Nirvanix perspective it’s like putting a Ferrari front-end to our enterprise cloud.”

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