Monday, January 18, 2016

Redefine the Branch Office! - Going deeper into the rabbit hole...

When we last looked at how Riverbed is helping Redefine the Branch Office, we concentrated on core capabilities: Converge, Deploy, Sync, Backup, Secure.

Today, we are going deeper into the rabbit hole, to talk about: Optimization, Path Selection, Quality of Service (QOS) and VPN.

Some of the underlying technologies that make SteelFusion truely unique.

Optimize: SteelFusion integrates SteelHead, the proven WAN Optimization technology of Riverbed. This results in dramatic reduction of replicated data, on average around 70-80%. But that's only half the story. Any customer familiar with SteelHead will know it has dramatic effects on your WAN or Internet based traffic. On average, doubling your effective bandwidth. Resulting in branch offices where applications are more responsive and workers are more productive.

Here is a quick example of how SteelHead effects the performance of CIFS file transfers and SharePoint over the WAN.

Path Selection: Allows you to choose your path to the Cloud, be that Private MPLS, Public Internet or a Hybrid.

With Layer 7 application policies, you can Load Balance multiple WAN and Internet links. For example, you might choose to send SAP & Oracle traffic over the WAN and Facebook, YouTube & other Internet traffic via a cheap local broadband connection. Not to mention it will split stream YouTube and Webex traffic, so only one connection is required to download that content to your branch office, from which it is then cast to multiple users. Reducing expensive WAN bandwidth.

Should the WAN link fail, you can configure by policy to automatically fail-over from the WAN to your local broadband. Leveraging the Secure Transport and Any-to-Any VPN capabilities we will talk about later, all this traffic can remain secure, just as it was over the WAN.

QoS: Quality of Service - Prioritizes business latency sensitive critical applications, such as Collaboration, Teleconferencing, VoIP & Video Conferencing. Because no body likes telephone calls that drop out or video conferences that lag.

VPN - With-in the device, there is a built-in Any-to-Any VPN capability, based on a trusted relationship between the SteelHead/SteelFusion devices on your network. In addition to this you can leverage Secure Transport a mechanism that allows you to encrypt all traffic in-flight.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Redefine the Branch Office!

Remember the days of Nokia phones, now called "Bricks"? Today everyone has moved to a SmartPhone, you wouldn't be caught dead using brick!

Time has come for the Branch Office Server. Today is the day that the "brick" server can be tossed aside, replace by a SmartServer that has all the features you'd expect from your iPhone or Android.

  • Converge: It's all-in-one, Server, Network, Storage & Hypervisor.
  • Deploy: Just like on your iPhone, go to the Apps Store (VM templates or private catalogue), download a new application. Boots in minutes, due to our patented BlockStream technology. Transferring only the active data you need to get up & running immediately.
    7min to cold boot a 40GB file server over the WAN, transferring only 322MB!
  • Sync: Just like your iPhone, everything is sync’d to the Cloud (Apps, VMs, Databases, Documents, Files, Photos, Music, Contacts, Mail). If you lose your device, simply re-sync to a new one. – No data loss. Continuous operations.
  • Backup: If you accidentally delete a file or experienced any form of data loss, you can always go back to the Data Center and recover a file or whole VM, either to the same device or with-in the Data Center.
    Centralize data protection, do-away with backup software & tapes in your Branch Offices. Shrink backup windows from 24 hours to minutes.
  • Secure: Just like on iPhone... Everything can be securely encrypted on the device with D@RE and uses SSL to transfer data between sites. – Governments and Off-shore firms are loving the protection against potential loss of Confidential Data, IP and Corporate Espionage.

Use cases:
  • Domain Controller
  • File Server
  • Router
  • Firewall
  • Print Server
  • CCTV
  • CAD
  • PACS
  • HIS
  • SAP
  • SQL
  • VDI
  • VMs

All managed centrally with the same Data Center tools, like VMware vCenter, that you've spent years investing in for Virtualization, Storage & Backup.

Compatible with almost any vendors storage & backup. Including EMC, Netapp, IBM, HP, HDS, Pure, Nimble, Dell, even third-party VSANs like FreeNAS!

You only need allocate low cost secondary NL-SAS at the Data Center, which is deduplicated over the wire and at the Data Center.

SteelFusion – Converge. Deploy. Sync. Backup. Secure.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Predictions looking forward to 2015 and beyond...

1. Software Changes Everything

Today's reality is that software changes everything.

We live in a world where organizations such as Uber, have completely transformed an entire industry, car hire and taxi services. Uber owns no cars, no drivers, yet disrupted the status quo. In months, redefining an entire industry, on a global scale.

Uber exists simply as software, a smart phone application that connects Rider to Driver, where and when they need, in a way that is safer and more convenient.

Drivers and Riders give feedback on each other, weeding out poor drivers and terrible passengers. Payments are all electronic, Drivers need not fear being robbed for sums of cash from the days earnings.

Routes are mapped from pickup to destination. Ensuring to some degree that drivers are kept honest in their choice of route. Spotify, gives Riders their music in their own private ride. Now that's disruptive innovation... and it's all software.

2. The Shared Economy

The shared economy reality effects not only business, but the individual. Just like the move to Cloud services brings utility to computing. Personal services like cars, bicycles, music, movies, tv & insurance, become a commodity where by the user pays, where and when they want, for exactly what they use.

3. Cloud Services: Everything-as-a-Service (EaaS)

Organizations are moving to realign business models, with the reality that IT need not exist as a Capital Expenditure and can rather be delivered as a utility service on-demand, just the same as electricity or water.

Validated in the models of Cloud giants: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and VMware vCloud.

This realignment results in smaller organisations questioning the need for traditional IT all together and larger organisations realigning IT to become a incubator of business innovation, to focus on new and disruptive strategies for competitive advantage.

4. Demise of the "traditional" players

As everything moves to as-a-Service models, the traditional providers of infrastructure are being disrupted. A tsunami of change is already sweeping through the IT industry, with long established players moving rapidly to dump traditional infrastructure portfolios and realign their business to deliver as-a-Service. Effects will be felt across all industries, as disruptive innovation ripples through each industry in waves.

5. Rise of the Start-ups

As software enables rapid and disruptive innovation... new agile players enter the market. Not just in IT, but all industry categories. With this comes acquisitions, as the well financed traditional players seek to adapt & innovate through acquisition rather than internal development. The reality is, it is far easier to innovate from outside the confines of "traditional thinking".

Disruptive innovation is being lead by agility and ability to cut cost... Do more with less. Greater efficiency.

Go bravely...

It will be a challenging year ahead, as organizations across the globe grapple to ride the waves of disruptive innovation.

The good news is, it is the individual who stands to gain the most. As services become more tailored and customer centric in order to stay relevant. Each and every individual, stands to gain from a greater overall experience in everything they do.

So let's raise a glass to disruptive innovation! As we straddle our surf boards for the waves of change ahead. It's going to be a big year!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Introducing VNXe3200, VNX DARE and VSPEX


  • New VNXe3200 shatters the simplicity and efficiency of entry-level storage – supporting 3X the number of virtual machines as the previous generation VNXe in the same small footprint.
  • EMC announces ‘Project Liberty’, previews future virtualized storage software based on VNX that leverages the functionality and user experience of VNX, while uniquely delivering new levels of freedom to deploy applications with cloud-like agility in a software-defined data center.
  • EMC adds Data-At-Rest-Encryption – EMC D@RE – to the VNX Series, providing the capability to encrypt data written to disk and eliminate data access from unauthorized drive removal.

VNXe3200 - Shrinks your storage, whilst delivering greater performance!

Introducing the EMC VNXe3200 Virtual Machine Platform - Shrinks your storage, whilst delivering greater performance!
The VNXe3200 is 3X more efficient than previous VNXe solutions, based on the next generation VNX series that was launched in September 2013. Powered by EMC MCx (Multicore optimization) and EMC FAST (Fully-Automated Storage Tiering) software, the new VNXe is designed to unleash the power of Flash.
Accelerating virtual applications and file performance by 3X compared to its predecessor in the same small 2RU footprint per 25 drives. The VNXe3200 supports unified protocols – iSCSI, Fibre Channel, NFS and CIFS for File Shares or Network Drives.
It builds upon the simplicity & ease-of-use the VNXe is known for, from setup wizards to management via your native Windows MMC Console Control Panel, Hypervisor interface like vSphere / HyperV console.
By leveraging MCx and the FAST Suite, the new VNXe system exceeds previous VNXe solutions in power, efficiency, and ease-of-use. The VNXe technology highlights include:
  • Turbocharging mixed workloads by supporting 3X more virtual machines, 3X more virtual desktops, 3X more Microsoft SQL transactions and 3X more Exchange mailboxes.
  • Simplified management with the ability to setup NAS or SAN in under 15 minutes with EMC Unisphere®. Users can also manage and deploy Microsoft applications 3X faster. There is also a new “get help anywhere” support feature through EMC Connect Proactive Support, as well as “set it and forget it” functionality through automated tiering with FAST, eliminating the need for manual performance tuning.
  • More power in a small and efficient footprint. The new VNXe system supports hundreds of virtual machines and virtual desktops in just a 2U configuration. It reduces capacity requirements by up to 50% with thin provisioning and file deduplication, and leverages space-efficient snapshot technology to easily create copies of production data directly from Unisphere.
The VNXe3200 is also available in new VSPEX Proven Infrastructures, which delivers up to 125 virtual machines and 500 virtual desktops in a VNXe3200. These new VSPEX solutions can store up to 2,000 Exchange mailboxes and over 20,000 SharePoint users.
The VNXe3200, which starts at under US$12k, will be available in the second quarter of 2014 primarily through EMC’s global channel partners. The VNXe3200 is supported by the EMC Business Partner Program, which offers a complete set of partner-ready collateral, Express Solution bundles, and VSPEX reference architectures for simplified ordering, selling, and support.
EMC Unveils ‘Project Liberty’
Today EMC also announced ‘Project Liberty’, virtualized storage software that is based on the industry-leading VNX Family. Project Liberty leverages the rich data services and ease-of management that VNX provides today, and offers this in a variety of flexible deployment models, whether on a virtual server or in a hybrid cloud for example, to meet varied and changing workloads and service levels.
To address increasingly shorter development cycles, IT must deliver a way to enable rapid application prototyping for quicker time to market.  One use case for Project Liberty will be to empower IT to spin up several virtual array instances quickly, at a moment’s notice, to speed development of new applications such as test and development. Project Liberty will enable these new applications to be seamlessly deployed on physical VNX storage systems with higher service levels – all while enjoying a consistent management and rich user experience.
These applications could reside anywhere – whether it’s remote office, central office, or in a cloud. With Project Liberty, customers will benefit from the agility and efficiency of a hybrid cloud. 
Redefining Security in the Midrange
In addition, today EMC also announced Data-At-Rest-Encryption for VNX – VNX D@RE. Since the introduction of the new VNX, customers are now consolidating more and more critical data on a single VNX, making security a higher priority. This is particularly true in industries such as healthcare, financial services and federal and state governments that require more control over sensitive information from increased unauthorized data access. VNX Data-At-Rest-Encryption (D@RE), is expected to be available on the new VNX Series as a non-disruptive software upgrade in the third quarter of 2014. It is designed to help customers protect data written to disk to eliminate data access from unauthorized drive removal, VNX D@RE uses controller-based encryption, which provides the flexibility to support any drive type, speed and capacity.
Customer Quote
Brandon Robinson, Executive Director of Network Services, Aces Power
“The VNXe allows us to leverage industry-leading technology at an affordable price point. The VNXe3200 has improved our efficiency while improving our performance, allowing us to meet internal service level agreements. With the VNXe, we can easily scale our infrastructure as our business grows, or offer new services that our company can provide.”
EMC Executive Quote
Jeff Boudreau, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Enterprise and Midrange Systems Division, EMC Corporation
“We are thrilled with the market response to our new VNX– which has become a mixed workload workhouse for thousands of companies globally. Today, we’ve delivered on our ongoing commitment to our partners and customers to extend key enterprise capabilities, like FAST, MCx, and D@RE, to our entry level and midrange platforms – enabling our customers to further stretch their IT dollar and protect their investments.  We’re especially excited about Project Liberty, which will give our customers more agility as they transition to hybrid cloud deployments, while still enjoying the same consistent VNX user experience.”
Additional Resources