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Riverbed SteelFusion edge devices embrace NFS

Riverbed adds NAS support to SteelFusion to broaden the reach of the remote office storage appliance, which already supports SAN and object storage.

Riverbed Technology Inc. added NAS support in the latest version of its SteelFusion remote office storage device, which the vendor is recasting as a hyper-converged system.

Riverbed SteelFusion 5 supports NFS in NetApp and Dell EMC Isilon NAS systems to go with its previous support of Fibre Channel and iSCSI SANs and object storage.

NAS support will open up a new market for Riverbed because NAS is a popular back-end storage for VMware environments.

"It's one gap we had, and customers have been asking us for NFS," said Saveen Pakala, Riverbed's senior director of product management. "This has been a huge undertaking for us because NFS touches every part of our stack. We have customers who are predominantly on only NFS and, before, we had to walk away from those customers. This will be a big increase in the addressable market. It's going to double our addressable market."

Pakala said that by supporting NetApp and Isilon with its hyper-converged edge system, the company will cover most of the NFS market.

Riverbed SteelFusion now supports NetApp and Dell EMC Isilon NAS, and support for Dell EMC Unity is on the roadmap for a product that has a base of 1,000 customers.

The Riverbed SteelFusion platform, formerly called Granite, launched in 2012 as storage for remote offices. Riverbed's WAN optimization was a key feature of the product. With the rise of hyper-convergence, Riverbed points out that SteelFusion provides customers with storage, compute and virtualization in the same appliance.

Terri McClure, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said ESG research indicates most customers are planning to use hyper-converged technology somewhere in their environment. She also pointed out that NAS is still a popular type of storage.

"There is a ton on NAS out there," McClure said. "And while more people are adapting to the cloud, they still have a lot of NAS. You can't ignore the legacy technology."

It's one gap we had, and customers have been asking us for NFS.
Saveen Pakalasenior director of product management, Riverbed

The Riverbed SteelFusion edge systems also support backup products such as Veritas NetBackup and Backup Exec, Veeam, Commvault and Dell EMC Avamar. Virtual SteelFusion Edge is also now generally available. The virtual appliance can be deployed on off-the-shelf server hardware.

"Between these five [backup applications], we think we cover 90% of the backup market," Pakala said. "We feel pretty good about this list."

Pakala said Riverbed is also working on support for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure cloud. That will allow customers to centralize their IT operations from edge environments directly to a public cloud without going through a central data center.

"Some customers have a mandate not to add anything more to the data center," Pakala said. "They want to go directly to the cloud. The customers in this camp tend to be more forward-leaning."

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