Making SteelFusion a hybrid cloud solution should significantly expand partner opportunities, including the ability to sell it as a managed service.
Application performance infrastructure vendor Riverbed Technology has extended the reach of Riverbed SteelFusion, its hyper-converged edge solution, by introducing Amazon Web Services support through AWS Storage Gateway and Azure support through Microsoft StorSimple.
“We are extending our journey into hybrid cloud by bringing this solution to AWS and Azure,” said Saveen Pakala, Director of Product Management at Riverbed.
“The main problem we are addressing here is the very fragile and disconnected nature of the remote office/branch office [ROBO] market,” he said. “There is a much better way of doing it. We make an analogy to the smartphone, where serving the branch should be similar to delivering apps on a smartphone. We’ve now got it pretty close. All of the management is from the data centre, and with instant recovery. At the edge we have a simplified infrastructure – a simple hyperconverged box.”
Riverbed SteelFusion – which was rebranded from Granite in 2014 – received a major upgrade last year with its 4.0 release. Riverbed also began to call it a hyper-converged product at that time, as it is software defined, and had 2.5 times more compute and ten times more storage than the earlier version. At that time, Riverbed gave no indication that the cloud was a key part of the road map, but Pakala said it was always in the plan.
“We always assumed the hybrid cloud would be part of this, and we are making a big bet in that direction,” Pakala said. “We aren’t done yet, and we will see this evolve further along a couple of vectors – more public clouds, and directionally getting more native in the public cloud environments.”
Pakala indicated the cloud extension is simple for customers.
“They can add it to their existing deployment without changing anything, as they just need to update the software,” he said.
Riverbed expects that customers for this will include both existing SteelFusion customers who want to add a cloud capacity, and cloud-focused customers who haven’t been an option for SteelFusion before.
“We have had incidences of customers who have already deployed Azure solutions who wanted a mainly cloud-based solution, in which they will leverage Azure for a predominant amount,” said Alison Hubbard, Director of Product Marketing at Riverbed. We have others, like one SteelFusion customer in Switzerland, who centralized all their ROBOs to the datacentre, and who want to take it a step further. Some data will reside in the on-prem data center and other data in the Azure cloud.”
Hubbard said that the new cloud capacity now makes SteelFusion an especially strong play for partners using it as a managed service.
“Partners have always been intrigued by the strategic business level discussions they can have with SteelFusion, but we have integrator partners who now want to deliver SteelFusion as a managed service,” Hubbard said. “This is relatively new, but in the year ahead we expect to see it accelerate relatively quickly.”
Hubbard said that this trend will continue one which SteelFusion has facilitated before, of being able to expand partner business to adjacent businesses.
“I just talked with a partner who doesn’t have it as a managed service, but who has been extremely successful with SteelFusion,” she said. “They had been a networking partner who had not been in the data centre before, and they expanded significantly into the data out of their SteelFusion business. We see a significant incremental opportunity for the channel to grow their business with SteelFusion.”