The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for December, 2009

“…so what’s the story with Blue Coat?”

Posted by riverbedtest on December 22, 2009

I recently met with the CIO of a large Riverbed customer.  During the course of our meeting, the CIO mentioned to me how an analyst firm had recommended to him that they look at Blue Coat for WAN optimization.  Though they are a happy Riverbed customer, he was curious enough to accept some Blue Coat devices into their lab for testing and evaluation.  What his team observed was a very complex and difficult-to-configure Blue Coat product that significantly underperformed Riverbed.

The CIO gave me a puzzled look and asked, "so what's the story with Blue Coat???"  The analyst had told him that they were the "market leader" in WAN optimization, but according to his team who had tested them, Blue Coat's products were essentially unusable for their network, at least for WAN optimization.  I am aware of a number of other customers who were disappointed–even angry–with their poor, sometimes-disastrous experiences with Blue Coat WAN optimization functionality.

Blue Coat is widely known as a security vendor, but they have made some startling claims about being the "market leader" in the WAN optimization. At least one analyst firm has believed these claims, which belie recent events surrounding Blue Coat as a company, such as:

1)  Recent layoffs of at least 10% of Blue Coat's existing employees — It seems counter-intuitive that a "market leader" would be laying off employees just as the economy is coming out of a recession.  I would think that most market leaders would be hiring in order to maintain their leadership position during an economic recovery.

2)  Blue Coat moving 50 high-tech jobs to India — Blue Coat seems to be obsessed with cutting costs instead of expanding their product leadership.  Tragically, Blue Coat rewards the US employees who engineered their supposedly "market leading" WAN optimization products by moving their jobs overseas.  Perhaps the real reason for the cost cutting is because Blue Coat's WAN optimization capabilities just aren't achieving satisfactory levels of customer acceptance.

3)  Blue Coat's mandatory shut-down and vacation time for all employees in December — The WAN optimization market is very competitive.  But isn't Blue Coat jeopardizing their "leadership" by taking a break in a very competitive race?  If you were leading a highly-competitive marathon race, would you stop to take a coffee break?

4)  Blue Coat's 1% revenue growth in the latest quarterly financial report — Unusual for a "market leader," Blue Coat's financial performance is anemic compared to most other high-tech companies.  And this was during a quarter in which the US economy experienced 2.8% growth, according to the US Commerce Department.

5)  Blue Coat's CEO disclosing that pure WAN optimization represents "less than a couple percent of overall product revenues." — Blue Coat is the leader in WAN optimization, even though pure WAN optimization represents a very small part of Blue Coat's business.  Hmmm…something doesn't sound quite right with that statement…

The real story behind Blue Coat is that in 2006, they made ambitious plans to enter the WAN optimization market.  To spin their story and convince the market of their supposed leadership, Blue Coat uses sophisticated language such as "the Application Delivery Network (ADN)," terms that are meaningless to a hands-on IT professional, but impressive-sounding to casual observers.  But unfortunately for Blue Coat, the actual implementation of the WAN optimization features in their repurposed security product is a failure, and doesn't come close to achieving the eminence anticipated by their marketing team.  While Blue Coat maintains a healthy amount of business in their core security market, it appears their investments in WAN optimization have not panned-out, hence the need for cost-cutting.  What is now becoming evident is the disconnect between their marketing spin, and the reality of their failed WAN optimization efforts.

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The Perfect Holiday Gift for the Citrix Lover: Steelhead Appliances

Posted by riverbedtest on December 18, 2009

Dear Santa,


I have been a
good user all year (except the photo-copier incident at the Annual Party, which
I’m sure we’d all like to forget) and I think you probably have some
end-of-year budget.  Anyway, if you
and the IT elves could please review and give me the following, I’d be the
happiest worker ever.  I want:


– Citrix to be
much faster (it takes way too long now)

– Quicker
download/upload of files

– Speedy

– More bandwidth

– A Red Ryder
carbine-action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock.





Well, I’m sure
you’ve received many similar holiday helpdesk requests already.  Good news, Riverbed is here to make the
holidays happy for Citrix customers everywhere!


With RiOS 6.0,
Steelhead appliances can easily optimize the WAN for
Citrix ICA – up to 40% faster response times and 83% bandwidth
Many Citrix customers have struggled with
performance across the WAN, impacting end user acceptance and
productivity.  Riverbed now has
simplified configuration and enhanced QoS capabilities for Citrix delivering
both bandwidth reduction and up to 40% better response times.  Just contact your local Riverbed team
to order in time for the big day.


As for the Red
Ryder air rifle, well, I’m sure your users would just shoot their eyes out, so
better give them the Steelhead appliances for Citrix instead.


Best wishes for
the holidays!



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Mark your calendars for Riverbed’s Accelerate ’10 conference

Posted by bobegilbert on December 10, 2009


It's official. Riverbed's Accelerate conference is slated for May 19-21 in Las Vegas.  This promises to be an outstanding event for customers, partners, or anyone interested in WAN optimization and IT infrastructure performance. There will be a variety of activities ranging from technical hands-on workshops and Riverbed product best practices to valuable sessions delivered by thought leaders and technical experts.  Not to mention the fact that this is the opportunity to interact with hundreds of your peers.

You can join the priority registration notification list here

I am looking forward to seeing you there!

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Blue Coat CEO admits “We’re in different market segments…”

Posted by riverbedtest on December 7, 2009

"…our pure WAN op revenue as defined by just storage acceleration and general acceleration is I think less than a couple percent of our overall product revenue."

— Brian Nesmith, CEO Blue Coat in 23 November 2009 earnings teleconference

In any emerging market there are vendors who are the true technology innovators, who through hard work and perseverance create truly innovative products that deliver real value to customers.  At the same time there are often vendors in neighboring spaces who copy ideas from technology leaders, and attempt to give the illusion of leadership and innovation in the emerging space through creative marketing messages.

This is certainly the case in the nascent WAN optimization market.  Riverbed's Steelhead solution has allowed thousands of enterprise customers to consolidate their IT assets, realizing what can now be described as a private cloud infrastructure.  The Riverbed solution has saved millions of dollars for enterprises around the world.

At the same time there are vendors such as Blue Coat, who are established in neighboring markets–in this case web security.  Thinking that they could reproduce Riverbed's success, in 2006 Blue Coat introduced WAN optimization features into their flagship security product, the ProxySG.

But in WAN optimization, success has been elusive for Blue Coat. Their problem was that in bakeoff after bakeoff, customers consistently choose Riverbed instead of their repurposed security product whenever WAN optimization is tested and evaluated.  Of course, Blue Coat continues to have success in their core web security market, and up until recently their good fortune in that neighboring market allowed them to mask the failure in WAN optimzation.

Blue Coat will likely experience continued success in pursuing the web security market.  But after three years of fruitless attempts to penetrate the WAN optimization market, the Blue Coat CEO is finally admitting failure in competing against Riverbed.

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Anatomy of a live stage demo at Interop – Side-stepping Murphy’s Law

Posted by bobegilbert on December 2, 2009

With my 17+ years experience working with various technology companies, I should have known better that the live demo I signed up to both prepare and present during Interop 2009 in NYC would be much more challenging than originally anticipated.

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