It is not good when an engineering firm has to fully equip 20 branch offices with expensive hardware and store up to 1TB of data in each branch. But for many companies that is the reality because operational restraints have made consolidation to the data center impossible—until now with the new Riverbed® Granite™ appliance edge virtual server infrastructure (edge-VSI).
The benefits of data center consolidation are tremendous
Consolidation to the data center lowers costs by eliminating branch infrastructure. It frees IT personnel for other important projects. Consolidation keeps data more secure and manageable. And it is much better for backing up data and DR planning.
“By consolidating servers and storage, eliminating local backup policies and procedures, and reducing if not eliminating local IT support, organizations that embrace an edge-VSI strategy may reduce costs up to 50 percent compared to traditional approaches,” says Zeus Kerravala in WAN Optimization Gives Rise to Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (PDF). (ZK Research, 2012)
No solution for these situations until now
It has been an accepted fact that you cannot consolidate branch infrastructure into the data center when any of the following is true:
- You have write-intensive applications
- You create or manipulate large files or many small files
- You need to access data even when the WAN is down
- You rely on custom applications—especially those dependent upon local storage
“Too much infrastructure remains in the branch, and too many staff members are required to support it.” – Riverbed Extends from WAN Optimization to Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (edge-VSI) (PDF) (The Taneja Group, 2011)
Why you can consolidate now
Now the Granite appliance edge-VSI approach changes everything. For the first time ever you can bring edge servers and storage home to the central data center—and, most importantly, end users in the branch will see no difference. That is possible because the Granite appliance addresses performance challenges low in the technology stack, at the block level.
Separating branch computing from storage
Indeed, with a Granite appliance IT managers can separate branch computing from data storage, eliminating the need to purchase and support storage traditionally hosted in branch offices. Users and applications in the branch experience local performance while data is consolidated securely in a central location.
Projecting large CAD and GIS files to the branch
At the aforementioned engineering firm, for example, large CAD and GIS files and slow WAN transfers meant too much infrastructure was kept in branches supported by too many IT staff. And local storage meant that each remote office had to be equipped with a backup server.
But with a Granite appliance they now store data in the data center and project CAD and GIS files from data center storage over the WAN to local offices without impacting the end-user experience.
Steps for adopting an edge-VSI strategy
It is easy to get started with the Granite appliance edge-VSI:
- Leverage virtualization technology by virtualizing the remaining applications in the branches
- Migrate these applications and data to the data center or private cloud
- Deploy the Granite appliance at the branch-office level
- Project centrally managed applications and data across the WAN to the edge-VSI infrastructure