Riverbed's two new SteelHead appliance models, the 7050-L (low) and 7050-M (medium) add to the upper end of the company's appliance line, increasing WAN throughput and connection performance as well as enhancing disaster recovery fault tolerant options. The 7050-L lists for $179,995 and the 7050-M lists for $234,995 and will be available in Q1, 2010.
The Steelhead 7050 appliances are both 3U units that support up to 4Gbps LAN bandwidth and 1 Gbps WAN bandwidth. There is a 100GB partition set aside for the RiOS Services Platform (RSP), which runs virtual machines on the Steelheads. The 7050-L appliance ships with 14 hot-swappable 160GB SSD drives, providing 2.2TB of data store capacity and 32GB of RAM. The 7050-L can support 75,000 TCP connections. The 7050-M has 28 160GB SSD drives for 4.4TB of data storage and 48 GB of RAM, and it can support 100,000 TCP sessions. The appliances have 10Gb Ethernet NICs needed to connect to a 10Gb switch.
The Steelheads use a fault-tolerant data store. If one or more SSD drives fail, the Steelheads will stop using them for data storage. The purpose of the drives is to simply cache network data and not persistent storage. If a drive fails, you simply lose the cached data that will have to be re-warmed. The SSDs are hot-swappable through the front of the appliances, so replacing failed drives is easy and doesn't impact network traffic. In addition, Steelheads can be clustered side-by-side or in-line with the data stores synchronizing, so in the event of an appliance failure, the other Steelhead can take over.
Riverbed increased performance through the use of SSD drives, which unlike disk drives, don't have to contend with seek times to locate data on disk. Reading and writing to an SSD is fast with Input/Output Operations Per Second (IOPS) typically over 20 thousand, while hard disk drives are in the hundreds. The relative large amounts of RAM provide faster memory access for deduplication. In addition, the 7050s may be positioned to scale higher than 4Gb.
Riverbed is positioning the 7050 appliances for disaster recovery scenarios where data needs to be replicated between data centers over a large WAN pipe. Using Riverbeds Adaptive Data-Streamlining technology, the Steelheads dynamically recognize different traffic types and apply the appropriate optimization methods. Other WAN optimization products from vendors like Expand and Silverpeak have similar adaptive features features. Using Riverbeds clustering product, Interceptor, multiple Steelheads can be combined to increase traffic flow.