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Riverbed Whitewater adds Glacier support, virtual appliances

Riverbed Whitewater cloud backup platform adds support for Amazon Glacier and Google Cloud Storage, as well as two larger capacity virtual appliances.

Riverbed Technology Inc. today added two larger virtual appliances to its Whitewater cloud backup platform, released an OS update and added provider support for Amazon Glacier and Google Cloud Storage.

WAN optimization specialist Riverbed moved into the cloud backup space in late 2010 with its Whitewater devices, which cache frequently accessed data locally and move less frequently accessed files to the cloud. The Whitewater platform consists of four physical devices with local disk cache capacity from 2 TB to 32 TB and three virtual appliances.

The new virtual appliances consist of the v210 with up to 4 TB of local disk cache and the v410 with up to 8 TB of local cache. Before today, Whitewater only had one virtual appliance, the v110 with 2 TB of local cache. The larger virtual appliances are designed for disaster recovery (DR).

Riverbed also added bandwidth throttling for restores and improved management and reporting with today's release of Whitewater Operating System 2.1.

Quicker restores from Glacier

Whitewater gateways already supported most of the main cloud providers -- including Amazon S3, Microsoft Windows Azure, Rackspace, HP Cloud Services and AT&T Synaptic Storage as a Service --before adding Glacier and Google.

The largest Whitewater physical device, the 3010, supports up to 160 TB of cloud data.

Jerome Noll, Riverbed's cloud storage marketing director, said customers requested support for Glacier because it is cheaper than other cloud services. With a monthly charge of one penny for a gigabyte of data stored in the cloud, Glacier is for cold storage archiving. That consists mostly of data that must be retained for compliance reasons but is rarely accessed. It's a cheap alternative to traditional cloud storage and tape. But data restores from the Glacier service take between three to five hours, and restore transaction fees are expensive.

Noll said Whitewater can connect to file servers and backup servers, and cache more than 90 days of deduped data before sending it off to Glacier. He said Whitewater will also throttle restore jobs to reduce costs when retrieving files from Glacier.

Customers can rapidly restore their cached data from Whitewater instead of waiting hours to get it back from Glacier.

"We can restore data immediately," Noll said. "If the cache is sized well to the data size, then all restores come from Whitewater, so there will be no cost from Amazon Glacier."

Virtual appliances, streamlined management

The new Whitewater virtual appliances have a maximum ingest rate of 250 GB per hour. The v410 can store up to 20 TB in the cloud and the v810 can store 40 TB in the cloud. They can be paired with Whitewater physical devices for DR.

Noll said customers whose environments are almost all virtualized prefer the virtual appliances to physical appliances.

Whitewater Operating System 2.1 also includes an improved management feature, so customers can manage multiple gateways from one window on the management console. It also has the ability to throttle data going through the network when uploading data and pulling it from the cloud.

Whitewater customer Drew Bartow, senior information technology engineer at Tipper Tie Inc., said he is especially interested in the new throttling and management features. Tipper Tie, an Apex, N.C.-based food packaging company, has four of the largest Whitewater 3101 devices -- the largest of the physical gateways.

Bartow said he can dial down to 1 MB per second when the network is heavily used during office hours, and then speed up replication to 8 megabytes per second when business hours are closed.

He said he also likes the new reporting in Whitewater 2.1.

"You can see how much storage is used, how much is being pushed into the cloud," he said. "The permissions set now give better options for security. I can set it up for read-only or full access."

Bartow said his company currently uses Amazon S3 for backup and he is considering using Glacier.

"We have a 30-day retention policy and that will stay in S3," he said. "Our deep freeze stuff, we would move to Glacier."

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