The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for May, 2008

Why Caching is so Old-School

Posted by riverbedtest on May 30, 2008

"Please describe how your solution accelerates WAN transfers by caching files and emails." I review many of the RFP’s that Riverbed receives from prospective customers, and this is an example of a question that I see from time-to-time. I struggle with how to respond. To me, this question is like asking a jet engine manufacturer to describe how their piston-driven propeller engines work. Or in the networking field, asking Cisco to describe how their token-ring switches work. How would you respond to a question like that?

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Posted in Application Acceleration | 7 Comments »

WAN optimization so easy, your secretary or fundraiser can install it

Posted by bobegilbert on May 28, 2008

I participated in a webinar recently with one of our partners SolidWorks and one of our joint customers, FKI Logistex. During the course of the presentation, Brian Hickle from FKI said something that is becoming a common theme with customers that experience deploying Riverbed in their environment.  Brian stated that Riverbed was remarkably easy to install.  So what’s the big deal? Many WAN optimization vendors claim to have products that are easy to deploy.

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Posted in Application Acceleration | Leave a Comment »

Customer increases bandwidth by 462 times…holy cow!

Posted by bobegilbert on May 22, 2008

A customer in the not-for-profit rehab business recently shared with me how they are using their Riverbed Steelhead appliances to optimize the traffic over their WAN when anti-virus signature updates have to be applied from the central data center to user’s branch office and remote worker PCs.

I have to warn you that the following results are unbelievable:

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Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization | Leave a Comment »

RiOS in Rio

Posted by riverbedtest on May 21, 2008

I had another opportunity to visit Brazil last month.  It is amazing to see the progress Riverbed has made in the region.  My first visit to Rio de Janeiro was in late 2005; the original customer I met with on that first visit now has over 100 Steelhead appliances deployed and operational in their production network.  Back in 2005, we only had one channel partner in the country.  On this visit I was busy meeting with and training a considerable collection of different local partners from various cities throughout Brazil, all eager and anxious to build up their experience and expertise in Riverbed products.

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Riverbed customer testimonial – Silicon Image

Posted by bobegilbert on May 20, 2008

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Disaster Recovery, Site Consolidation | 2 Comments »

Peeling back the Onion on a Sales Call

Posted by riverbedtest on May 19, 2008

It’s interesting to see how "potential customer" interests have
changed over the last 5 years.

In 2003, when I was first meeting with customers, talking about this
product we were working on, everyone agreed that they had challenges
in their network with remote users. The challenges varied — either
performance of centralized applications/servers, or backing up their
remote servers (ok, and a few who wanted to centralize).  But
everyone blamed bandwidth as the culprit for poor
performance.  Often they couldn’t afford the larger links, but
sometimes they had already upgraded and were scratching their heads as
to why it didn’t help as much as last time.

So, since they viewed it as a bandwidth problem, we’d explain our
killer compression (SDR), and they’d spend 90% of the meeting focused
on that, then graciously allow us to talk about what we
wanted to discuss, which was how transaction prediction (and VWE)
would ameliorate the effects of latency and really speed things up.
Sometimes light bulbs would nearly visibly go off over people’s heads,
usually I got a "hm, I’m sure that’ll help too, now back to SDR, what
happens when…"

Later they’d test the product (as no one believed our speedup
claims…remember WDS hadn’t even been invented as a term and we were
this dinky startup), and be amazed.  The vast amount of their
speedup, of course was due to transaction prediction, the majority of
the time.

So, how about 2008?  Last week I was meeting with a large financial
enterprise, discussing their challenges.  They knew that latency was
the root of application performance problems, and we spent most of the
time talking about that (still did discuss SDR — as they’d rather not
get more OC3s).  But they were puzzled with their test results —
things were clearly faster (i.e. stopwatching user actions), and the
reports showed dramatic bandwidth reduction on the Steelhead, but the
routers reported the WAN links were still full — where were the
"savings" coming from.  Anyone see the answer to this mystery?

Well, the data reduction enabled more traffic to flow, and the
transaction prediction stopped applications being bottlenecked on the WAN, also
enabling more traffic to flow, so…  People got more done — in
the same amount of time — thus the WAN was "full again."  It’s sort of
Parkinson’s
Law
experienced in a different domain (and with a more hopeful spin).

So, how far have we come?  It’s mixed, the great news is that people
are aware of latency and it’s insidious effects.  We still have a ways
to go with the second order implications of this though, i.e. that
filling a WAN link can actually be a good sign.  And someone needs to
come up with a way to measure ROI on knowledge workers — surely them
getting more done in a day is valuable to the enterprise. 

So, what do you think…Latency*chattyness is now well understood, or still breaking news?

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Site Consolidation | 2 Comments »

Can Riverbed save the internet from Doomsday?

Posted by bobegilbert on May 16, 2008

AT&T recently warned that the internet will run out of bandwidth in two years.  It sounds crazy, but Jim Cicconi, AT&T’s VP of Legislative affairs says that the current systems that constitute the internet will not be able to cope with increasing amounts of user generated content and video.  He went on to say that in three years time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire internet today!

When you think about it, this doesn’t sound so far-fetched. 

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Posted in Bandwidth Optimization | 1 Comment »

The Soon to be Much Friendlier Skies

Posted by riverbedtest on May 15, 2008

Not since Virgin Atlantic promised "more experience than the name suggests" have business travelers been as excited about how to occupy themselves while traveling a mile high in the sky.

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Posted in Mobile | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Key Components of WDS

Posted by riverbedtest on May 14, 2008

While numerous enterprises have begun deploying WDS solutions, the technology is relatively new.  Many in the IT community are still struggling to understand how WDS technology works.  Compared to say, routers and switches, and other mainstream solutions where technical expertise is readily available, there is a general lack of experts knowledgeable about how WDS solutions work.  Tragically, this has created an environment where seemingly all-knowing charlatans can spout their so-called wisdom to serve their own purposes.

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Interop Shrugged

Posted by riverbedtest on May 12, 2008

OK, I admit it… having participated in way too many trade shows over the years, I was a bit jaded and not too thrilled with the thought of spending 3+ days in the fake cheese capital of the US.  I should have been excited,

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