Usually when someone talks about "collapsing" something, images of toppling towers, imploding buildings, tumbling bridges, and other destruction come to mind. But when IT organizations are able to collapse server and storage resources back to the data center by removing hardware and admin chores from remote offices, that's a good thing.
Riverbed Technology, well known for its WAN acceleration and optimization solutions, also offers a way to collapse branch office server and storage resources back to the data center while making it seem as if those resources were still living in the remote office.
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Riverbed Granite 2.5 leverages a pair of appliances to "project" iSCSI and Fibre Channel LUNs from the data center to the branch, removing the burden of installing and maintaining storage from the remote office. Servers still run in the branch office, where performance remains LAN-like to users, but the virtual machines and storage volumes reside in the data center, under central IT control. Perhaps best of all, backups are no longer conducted over the WAN, but run right in the data center.