Riverbed announces disk streaming over the WAN for VDI

Everyone knows Riverbed as a WAN acceleration vendor. Earlier this year they announced something called "Granite" which lets you run VMs on an appliance in a remote branch office while keeping the disk images in the central office. The remote VM accesses the disk blocks across the WAN as needed, and the appliance handles caching, replication, and keeping everything in sync.

At VMworld last month, Riverbed announced that they're working out the details of making this granite technology apply to VDI workloads. (So you have your VDI VMs running locally at the remote branch, but the disk images they're running on are housed in the central location.) In some ways it's like Citrix Provisioning Server over the WAN. The idea is that you get "custody" of your data in the datacenter while leveraging the power of local branch-level computing power to run the VMs.

Right now this is just a tech preview, but they're working on integrating it with the connection brokers to provide more smart routing and spinning up of desktops.

Here's a video with Riverbed's Eric Carter explaining how Granite applies to VDI:

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This is incredibly interesting, and I'm surprised that Citrix hasn't yet figured out how to do a Branch Repeater sync like this in a "PVS Relay" type configuration.  I'd envision that they could even integrate VIAB onto a Branch device for some degree of local control or brokering?  It would seem they have all the pieces already, just need to integrate them.

I could see great potential in doing this as almost a "private DaaS" model for organizations who want to retain total ownership over the system and aren't ready to outsource VDI to the cloud for security, licensing, or other reasons.  It would make great sense for organizations looking to move to centralized infrastructure but that may have to overcome bandwidth challenges in smaller or remote branch offices.  Great potential for DR solutions too!  I'll definitely be watching to see where this goes.


I really don't think this is as incredibly interesting as Mark F. makes it out to be. If bandwidth at a remote office is the challenge to a centralized infrastructure why not just use Branch Repeater to accelerate the ICA traffic back to the datacenter? Why introduce distributiveness (may not be a word) into a centralized model?

I get why VMware is looking at Riverbed to help them solve their WAN issues, but Citrix over a WAN works perfectly fine.

"The idea is that you get "custody" of your data in the datacenter while leveraging the power of local branch-level computing power to run the VMs."

In my opinion, and I could be wrong, but it sounds like the idea is to move the VM's closer to where the people that are running them are, thus alleviating PCoIP's know WAN limitations.

I also don't buy that the "appliance" running locally is going to have more compute power than something running in a datacenter.

just my .02



This is something that only a Citrix apologist would say. In fact, Citrix would benefit from this technology.

The Riverbed solution works even when the network is completely severed. Branch Repeater can NOT address this. Show me evidence that Branch Repeater can do that anywhere.

ICA has shown to have serious WAN issue in India, China, Australia. So don't give us the crap that ICA is the key to the kingdom.