A few week ago the WAN guys came to me about these new Riverbed hardware appliances that can host vmware guests. If you don’t know Riverbed has a great products for WAN optimization. Our WAN team deploys these Steelhead hardware appliances, models vary, in redundant pairs and it’s really worked well in our company and has enhanced the datacenter model.
Today we got to see the 550L which was licensed with the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP) but the 1050H model is what they plan on deploying in small remote sites and offices with less than 200 users. The Riverbed appliance is running a flavor of linux which is setup to run VMware Server 2 in a dedicated memory and storage space which varies with the model. You create a vm guest outside of the appliance then you use the software to package it up and copy it to the appliance. Once the package is loaded you browse to the device on https://device:8333 and your presented with that familiar login screen for vmware server 2.
Some of my concerns with this device and the current hardware setup is that there is only one network port used by the vmware server instance, the vm guests are stored on the same disks used for the wan optimization but they are on seperate partitions, and there is no fault tolernace built in for (RSP) between redundant systems yet ,there is for the wan optimization though.
All in all this is not a bad idea and I can see where it will have it’s place in any company. The device saves cost on for the wan and reduces the cost for server hardware if it doesn’t eliminate it all together. I am currently looking a using this to deploy domain services, dns, dhcp, and a virus dat repository. Since most of the main services are run out of the datacenter this fits for my needs.