Riverbed Technology today released two new models of its WAN optimisation engine, the Steelhead appliance, which can now achieve network throughput speeds of up to 1Gbit/sec. over Ethernet or OC-12 connections.

The new appliance, the Steelhead 7050-L (low) and 7050-M (medium), are the first to use solid-state drives (SSD) instead of hard disk drives and offer larger memory configurations, 32GB/48GB of memory, than previous models. The appliances are aimed at backup consolidation for disaster recovery and business continuity.

"This is the first WAN optimisation product built on SSD, which enables faster read/write speeds," said Nik Roudam, director of product marketing at Riverbed.

The appliances also support 10Gbit/sec Ethernet for appliance clustering or for fail-over purposes. Up to 25 appliances can be clustered together for a total of 12GB/sec throughput, according to Roudam.

The Steelhead 7050-L and 7050-M can be configured with 14 or 28 160GB SSD drives respectively, and two hard disk drives, which act as logging disks.

According to Roudam, the new appliances are aimed at data center consolidation, affording greater bandwidth for large scale backups from multiple host systems. The 7050-L offers 75,000 host system connections, and the 7050-M offers 100,000 connections, or a maximum of 20,000 users all backing up through a single appliance.

The appliances use a combination of data compression and de-duplication technology to achieve a data reduction rate of from 3:1 to 8:1, according to Roudam. The engines also perform TCP/IP optimisation to further increase WAN bandwidth during data replication to off-site backup facilities.

Similar to RAID, the appliance also comes with a data store fault tolerance feature, a failover function within the 7050 Steelhead. If one of the SSDs fails, the 7050 can maintain high throughput and continue to optimize data access using the remaining disks.

The 7050-L will retail for $180,000, and the 7050-L will cost $235,000. Both will be generally available this quarter.