The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

The ultimate “BOB” is here!

Posted by bobegilbert on November 20, 2008

I know what you may be thinking.  Having my name in the title of this blog is completely and utterly self serving.  While there may be a hint of truth to that, the Bob I am talking about is not your's truly, but rather the acronym for a product that promises to have a dramatic and positive impact on the IT infrastructure environment at branch offices around the globe.

Riverbed has over 5000 customers and a large number of these customers have relied on Riverbed's solution to enable the successful consolidation of branch office file servers, mail servers, and tape backup systems to central data centers.  Riverbed solves the perofrmance challenges with accessing the consolidated assets that have been moved from the local LAN to a high latency, limited bandwith WAN.  While a set of customers may move directly to a total consolidation effort, many customers will opt to keep a set of services like authentication, dns/dhcp, and print local.  There are also other branch office services like security, streaming media, and monitoring and reporting that take precious server or appliance real estate at the branch office. 

With the upcoming release of RiOS 5.5, the software that powers Riverbed's groundbreaking Steelhead appliance, Riverbed is delivering an all encompassing appliance that combines industry leading WAN optimization and application acceleration with local branch office services like authentication, dns/dhcp, print serving, streaming media, security, and more!  You can read more here 

Riverbed's strategy is to not develop these branch office services, but instead partner with vendors that provide these best of breed capabilities.  The foundation partner for this branch office box product is VMware as Riverbed is leveraging VMware's industry-leading virtualization platform as the base for installing services from Riverbed partners like Microsoft, Opnet, InfoBlox, Wowza, Secure Computing and others.

This is a big win for organizations that want to consolidate their branch office IT infrastructure not only to the data center, but also at the branch office.  Compared to other WAN optimization vendors that have limited WAN optimization capability and try to compensate with limited extracurricular functionality like security, Riverbed's BOB box provides best of breed WAN optimization, application acceleration combined with best of breed branch office services from leading vendors like Secure Computing, Microsoft, Infloblox, and others.

I am looking forward to seeing Bob show up at branch offices around the globe.

2 Responses to “The ultimate “BOB” is here!”

  1. Bob, how does the Office in a Box relate to the Application Delivery Network controllers that Gartner (also) talks about. These controllers are supposed to be multi-functional network devices, including acceleration, optimization, layer-7 content switching, load balancing, etc.
    It seems that these ADN controllers and the BOB concept are very similar. Do you think they are? Will these merge?
    I’m curious what your thoughts are.
    BTW, the BOB concept is indeed pretty strong, as long as you can have all key features in such a box…

  2. Bob Gilbert said

    Great question Rob. While there is sometimes a blurred line between WDS or WAN optimization and ADN controllers, they continue to address their own set of unique problems and value propositions.
    For example, the ADN space has been lead by F5 and their Big IP product. The key value is the ability to load balance and offload application servers at a data center. These devices are often asymmetrical with a single appliance front-ending server(s) at a data center. One example environment is the ability to offload heavy cryptographic processing from SSL-encrypting application servers. These devices also perform optimization to the level of optimizing TCP and providing a level of web caching as well. One of the key values of these devices is for internet-facing traffic.
    Compare that to Wide-area Data Services or WAN optimization where the devices are asymmetrical with a device on both ends of the WAN link and together the devices provide WAN-based data-deduplication, TCP level optimization, and layer-7 protocol/application acceleration.
    The result with WAN optimization devices like Riverbed’s is that organizations can achieve 10 times, 50 times, and in some cases up to 100 times faster application performance. With this level of acceleration, organizations can successfully consolidate their branch office servers. Other value areas include the ability to reduce their bandwidth utilization and improve their data backup and replication operations.
    Merging the two together may make sense at some point, but for now the market for ADCs and WAN optimization is separate.

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