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The appeal of the new products will be broad based because they enable cloud computing benefits like ubiquitous access and predictable costs, said Dave Russell, vice president of research at Gartner and a specialist in storage management software. The de-duplicaton aspect of Whitewater is especially compelling, he said, noting that "de-dupe" is the "fastest-adopted backup technology since tape."
A number of vendor and solution provider partners that attended Riverbed's launch noted the importance of speed, security and reliability in transmitting data via the cloud.
"Not everything is fit for cloud builds," she said, noting that the ability to offer colocation, managed services, hosting and full on-demand cloud services -- all of which AT&T does -- builds a lot of credibility with customers confused about whether they have to go "all in" with the cloud or not.
Mike Feinberg, general manager and senior vice president of the Cloud Infrastructure Group at storage giant EMC, agreed that offering cloud solutions means offering customers choices, and the flexibility and cost savings in the hybrid model.
"Cloud is not a computing problem. What cloud is is a data problem," Feinberg explained. "Getting data in the right place is a challenge. It's solved by storage and networking technologies, and it's an 'and,' not an 'either/or'.'"
Riverbed executives said that the company will continue to seek partnerships with cloud storage specialists, including Nirvanix, which operates a 7-node, international storage delivery network.
Geoff Tudor, senior vice president of alliances at Nirvanix,a cloud storage vendor which has more than 700 mostly enterprise customers worldwide, said the data issues those customers are facing are only going to get worse.
Many enterprises expect something on the order of 10 times the data they currently carry in as soon as five years, with 95 percent of that data unstructured. The difficulty of managing and storing that, Tudor said, is compounded when regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPAA are taken into account.