Today at the Microsoft Ignite event in Orlando, Riverbed Technology is previewing their first SteelFusion offering which features the Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization engine. The SteelFusion Azure-Ready Edge will allow the edge of the network direct access to the Azure cloud for use as a primary storage tier.
“Organizations are developing a cloud-first mentality,” said Alison Hubbard, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Riverbed. “Some want to offset the infrastructure and operational costs of maintaining and scaling data centres by doing away with their data centres and putting them in the cloud. But while the cloud provides lots of benefits, that value proposition has not extended to the edge of the business, where most of the work gets done, and where data is being generated exponentially. The result is poor user experience at remote locations.”
The SteelFusion Azure-Ready edge solution is designed to overcome these issues for the Azure cloud, by extending cloud resources in Azure directly to the edge of the business. While it will not reach General Availability until the first half of 2018, Riverbed is offering a visual presentation at the Ignite event, at Booth #709.
The most distinctive thing about this offering is that it represents Riverbed’s first foray into virtualization outside the VMware architecture.
“Until now, we have had a solely VMware-based architecture,” Hubbard said. “This introduces our first HyperV-based architecture.” It builds on SteelFusion’s March 2016 announcement of support for Azure through Microsoft StorSimple.
“Azure-Ready Edge shows a unique simplicity of cloud to edge operation, with its simple hybrid cloud architecture,” Hubbard said. “It gives customers more options and more choices. We eliminate the gateway altogether and the core is in the cloud. There are customers who want to feel that they are in control with their centralized data centre, but who want to use the cloud to tier some of their storage for backup. There are more customers in different parts of the world who want to eliminate their data centre altogether, who want to do cloud in their non-North America accounts. At the same time they pursue a hybrid cloud with simplicity in North America. It’s a very simple approach to managing their operations.
“This delivers the flexibility required by IT architectures in the cloud age,” Hubbard emphasized. “Organizations can choose to eliminate a data centre or have a simple hybrid cloud architecture.”
“This recognizes the hybrid world,” said Parimal Puranik, Director of Product Management at Riverbed. “It can address the needs of local apps, and SaaS based apps as well, so can assist in the digital transformation of the entire enterprise.”
Hubbard said that Azure Ready Edge is something that can and will be used by channel partners of all shapes and sizes.
“It provides flexibilities to extend network storage and compute services to every edge of the business,” she said. “It provides the ability to simply for the partner the management of services – branch modernization services, cloud modernization and branch management – for much higher gross margin to the business.
Hubbard said that while this obviously will be of more interest to Microsoft-focused partners, it will also impact their entire Microsoft business positively.
“If partners have a partnership with Microsoft, it expands their footprint with the partner for selling other Microsoft-based solutions,” she indicated. “Microsoft’s primary objective is to make sure Azure capacity is being filled up as much as possible.”
Hubbard said that they are already seeing their partners developing very interesting services with SteelFusion.
“They see a unique value in this,” she said. “A number of partners are developing profitable services around SteelFusion already, and this will amplify that because the interface with Azure is really quite intuitive.”