Riverbed Whitewater review: Data deduplication for cloud storage


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Strong data deduplication and built-in support for key cloud storage providers reduce online storage needs while maximizing data protection

Cloud storage seems like such a no-brainer for backups and disaster recovery, it's a wonder that more businesses aren't taking advantage of it. If you're concerned about cloud outages, cloud storage costs, data loss, data security, or the ability to push your nightly backup sets up the Internet straw, Riverbed Technology's Whitewater appliance may make cloud storage easier to embrace.

The Whitewater cloud storage gateway combines data deduplication, local NAS services (supporting both CIFS and NFS), data encryption, and integration with leading cloud storage services in a single virtual or physical appliance. A disk-based target for your existing backup software, Whitewater receives the backup, dedupes and encrypts the data, and transmits only the new bits to your cloud service.

The deduplication reduces your bandwidth requirements, speeds up the data transfers, and keeps your cloud storage needs (and cloud storage fees) to a minimum. A local cache in the Whitewater appliance allows you to restore from the most recent backups without making a trip to the cloud. And because Whitewater encrypts the data using 256-bit AES, it's safe from prying eyes.

The Whitewater appliances scale from a virtual appliance capable of ingesting up to 250GB of data per hour to a 3U unit (the 2010 model I tested) capable of handling up to 1TB per hour. The three physical appliances use RAID-6 for local fault tolerance, with local raw disk capacities available from 3.5TB to 11TB. None of the appliances is limited on the amount of data it can store in the cloud.

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