The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for October, 2009

RiOS 6.0 and Cloud Computing

Posted by riverbedtest on October 28, 2009


Cloud computing is clearly one of the today's hot IT topics, and many IT professionals are trying to understand how they can leverage cloud computing concepts.  After all, who wouldn't want to offload their time-intensive and mundane tasks of maintaining servers and other IT infrastructure to a cloud services provider, especially if they can do it cheaper and more efficiently than you can? 

Of course, once you outsource and virtualize your IT assets, the WAN becomes an increasingly important component of your infrastructure, since your end-users will now use the WAN infrastructure to access their cloud-hosted information assets.  Without WAN optimization, endusers may become disappointed and disillusioned with cloud computing initiatives that promise to increase IT efficiency.

For years, Riverbed has delivered best-of-breed WAN optimization solutions that facilitate access over the WAN to remote computing assets hosted in remote data centers; these same capabilities are just as applicable to computing assets that are hosted in the Cloud.  But the newly-available RiOS 6.0 provides a number of new features and capabilities that further enhance and extend Riverbed's capabilites for cloud environments, including the following:

1.  Optimization for Oracle 12, including for JRE clients – With RiOS 6.0, Riverbed is the first and currently the only WAN optimization vendor to support optimizations for Oracle 11i and 12.  With newly-added support for Sun JRE clients, Riverbed can now optimize end-user access to cloud-hosted Oracle E-Business Suite applications, including not only Sun JRE, but also through Oracle JInitiator, HTTP, and HTTPS (SSL).

2.  Enhanced optimization for virtual terminal traffic — RiOS 6.0 offers enhanced capabilities to optimize RDP and Citrix ICA traffic that may be used to access and/or manage remotely-hosted applications in the cloud.  Steelheads now offer the capability to dynamically disable the default encryption and compression for ICA, allowing them to apply Riverbed's SDR byte-level data reduction algorithms to the raw Citrix data.  RiOS 6.0 is also able to individually apply enhanced QoS enforcement policies to Citrix virtual channels found in the ICA traffic.

3.  Enhanced HTTP optimization — RiOS 6.0 introduces an object prefetch table for cached web objects.  This feature complies with all HTTP 1.0 (RFC 1945) and HTTP 1.1 (RFC 2616) caching specifications and requirements, and it further adds to Riverbed's previously-available HTTP optimization capabilities (i.e., connection pooling, URL learning, parse and prefetch, and 304 fast response) for accelerating web applications that may be hosted in the cloud.

Today, a number of enterprises are already planning to use Riverbed to support their cloud-hosted applications.  For example, Riverbed is working with several Fortune 500 companies who are actively planning to use the Steelhead solution to optimize access by 10,000+ employees to Sharepoint and Exchange servers hosted at Microsoft Online Services.  The new capabilities introduced in RiOS 6.0 will only further enhance and expand opportunities for these and other enterprises to leverage cloud computing infrastructures.

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Macintosh support in RiOS 6.0

Posted by riverbedtest on October 21, 2009

Larry Chaffin's blog ( in Network World highlights Riverbed's optimization for Macintosh as one of the key new features in the upcoming RiOS 6.0 software release.  Although Riverbed is also introducing a number of other significant new features in RiOS 6.0, Larry believes Mac optimization will further separate Riverbed from the competition.  Riverbed is the first and currently the only WAN optimization vendor to announce explicit support for CIFS latency optimization for Mac clients using Leopard OS versions 10.5 and later.

Larry's blog comments are notable because use of Macintosh machines appears to be on the rise.  Apple announced just a few days ago on October 19 sales of 3.05 million Mac machines in their most recent quarter, which is a significant 17 percent year-over-year increase from the same quarter in 2008. 

Why is Riverbed's specially-engineered CIFS optimization for Macintosh important?  Although Mac workstations use the same CIFS protocol that Windows machines use to access files over the network, the actual CIFS implementation in the Leopard OSX operating system has some very significant differences compared to the Windows CIFS implementation.  Specifically, the Macintosh CIFS implementations use oplocks differently, and request different file attributes compared to the Windows CIFS implementation.  Use of a WAN optimization product that fails to recognize these significant differences will result in very slow data transfers for certain file requests, or even worse–risk data corruption in a multi-user environment. 

For these reasons, all Steelhead software releases prior to RiOS 6.0 would only apply data reduction–and not application streamlining–to Macintosh traffic when they recognized it, in order to avoid further slowing it down or potentially risking data corruption.  Riverbed is the only WAN optimization vendor who has announced implementation-specific CIFS optimizations for the Macintosh Leopard (10.5) and Snow Leopard (10.6) operating systems, providing further evidence of Riverbed's product and technology leadership in the WAN optimization market.  With the availability of RiOS 6.0, Macintosh workstations in enterprise networks can now enjoy performance benefits such as those experienced by Riverbed customer ESA (performance graph shown below).


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So Good it’s Spooky

Posted by riverbedtest on October 19, 2009


Ever feel like you’re lost in the wilderness on a dark and stormy
night?  Are you wondering what’s going to
jump out and bite you?  Who knows what
terrors lurk just ahead?


All kinds of eerie threats loom in the dark for the
unwitting IT professional.  Luckily,
Riverbed has got your back and will bail you out of all kinds of IT scares with
the introduction of RiOS 6.0 just in time for Halloween.


Speed away from client performance vampires with new magic
offering huge improvements for Citrix virtual desktops, Mac clients for file
sharing, Oracle and other web-based applications.


Scale up to conquer the DR bottlenecked goblins with new
powers to dynamically adapt your data streamlining to suit the workload and
environment, giving you top throughput and best bandwidth optimization, even
for the biggest data protection requirements.


Simplify the fight with management complexity gremlins with
new sorcery showing both optimization and pass-through traffic.  You can also easily integrate with your
network and management tools, and quickly set up the security features you
require to keep you safe.


Select your weapons against the rising branch server ghouls
with the Riverbed Services Platform, now including a watchdog to guard against
virtual machine failure and flexibility to grow virtual disks or deploy


Whatever you fear, Riverbed is here for you with RiOS
6.0.  We’ll get you through the darkest
hours.  The rest is all fun and candy.

Read more about RiOS 6.0 features here.

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Accelerate 2010 – The Riverbed Performance Summit

Posted by riverbedtest on October 15, 2009

We're getting deeper into planning Accelerate 2010 – The Riverbed Performance Summit. Our plans are to include a jam-packed agenda with lots of technical hands-on time and technical architecture discussions.

A few of the topics that we are considering are:

– Designing faster disaster recovery
– Building private cloud infrastructure
– Accelerating virtualization

But, I'd rather hear from YOU in terms of what you'd like to hear and work on during this conference.

What's on the top of your mind? What topics would you like to see on the agenda to ensure that Accelerate 2010 is on your calendar?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Posted in Application Acceleration, Disaster Recovery, Mobile, Private Cloud, Site Consolidation, Virtualization | Leave a Comment »

The value of WAN optimization

Posted by riverbedtest on October 5, 2009


"Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get."

– Warren Buffett


According to wikipedia, a commodity is some good which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market.  In other words, the value of a commodity product does not depend on who you purchase it from.  For example, gold that you buy from some fancy jeweler has the same intrinsic value as the gold that you buy from a precious metals wholesaler.

In high tech it can be argued that there are some product categories that have been commoditized.  For example, Ethernet switches are available from a number of different network equipment vendors.  While each individual switch product might have specific features and capabilities that make them appear unique, in most cases switches from any given vendor can be made to fulfill a general network requirement.  Given this observation, it often makes sense to purchase Ethernet switches from the lowest-price vendor.

But the idea of a commoditized WAN optimization market is encouraged and promoted by vendors who know they have serious deficiencies in their WAN optimization products.  These vendors know that their WAN optimization products are inferior to Riverbed, and therefore they need to offer significantly lower prices in order to compensate.

The fact is lower prices do not address the product's deficiencies as far as functionality is concerned.  Lower prices do not affect the scalability of the product for large deployments.  Lower prices do not affect the ability of the product to facilitate consolidation and removal of remote servers.  Lower prices do not allow that product to eliminate data centers and thereby save $millions of dollars per year.  Lower prices do not make the cheaper WAN optimization product more capable in any way. 

I have personally witnessed how customers who purchase the cheaper WAN optimization product struggle for months or years, and in many cases eventually have to remove it from their networks.  Their original mistake:  thinking that the value of a WAN optimization offering is somehow inversely related to the price that they pay for it.

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