Network acceleration vendor Riverbed is well-known in the market for their Steelhead appliances. The company is now aiming to become known for its Whitewater storage gateways as well.

The Whitewater appliances were first announced in November of 2010 and are now being expanded with new models and an updated operating system. The updated Whitewater portfolio is taking specific aim at the SMB market’s need for cloud storage acceleration.

“We decided to come out with the Whitewater 510 and 710 which are based on the feedback we’ve been getting from the SMB customers that we’ve been working with,” Eric Thacker, Director of Product Marketing, Cloud Storage at Riverbed told “We’ve also boosted performance of our virtual version.”

Whitewater was first billed by Riverbed as a cloud accelerator for storage. Thacker noted that Riverbed is now repositioning Whitewater as a Cloud Storage Gateway appliance. As is the case with Riverbed’s Steelhead WAN acceleration products, Whitewater accelerates traffic across a network link. The difference is that Whitewater is an asymmetric technology that only requires an appliance at one end, whereas Steelhead requires appliances at both ends. Whitewater is also focused specifically on storage with storage-duplication and data protection capabilities.

In terms of what the 510 and 710 Whitewater appliances deliver, the 510 provides up to 3.5 TB of raw local disk cache capacity and the 710 provides up to 7 TB. Storage in the cloud in only limited by whatever the user is paying for from their cloud provider.

Riverbed actually defines what an SMB is from a storage perspective, based on how much data they have. Thacker explained that Riverbed defines SMB as an organization that has a per location data set of 1 TB to 100 TB. Anything over 100 TB is considered to be an enterprise.

The Riverbed Whitewater appliances are sold and organized based on their storage size. The Whitewater portfolio is not currently modular in the sense that a user can swap out an internal component to provide additional capacity.

“We try to size products appropriately,” Thacker said. “We go through a whole process with our customers to understand what their storage requirements are.”

Thacker explained that regardless of the box size, users have virtually unlimited storage I the cloud. He added that if for example the cache is sized to store two months worth of backups and then in a year the needs have doubled. In that scenario the client now only has enough space of one month of backups locally in the cache.

“Most restores are for data within the last 30 days so maybe they don’t even need to upgrade,” Thacker said.

He added that if a customer wants to upgrade they can move up to the next sized box.

“Although a year from now, we might have something that is modular,” Thacker said. “We have a very flexible platform and if we have a lot of customers asking for something they we’ll consider it.”

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