The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for February, 2010

Video – End to End Network and Application Visibility

Posted by bobegilbert on February 24, 2010

Bob Gilbert sits down with Yoav Eilat,
Riverbed's Director of Product Marketing to discuss Cascade, Riverbed's solution
for providing end to end network and application visibility.
 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Riverbed eats it’s own dogfood and saves more than $2M

Posted by bobegilbert on February 23, 2010

In the latest edition of the Riverbed Connect podcast, Bob Gilbert chats with Tom Bakewell, Riverbed's CIO about how he is using his company's product internally to save more than 2 million dollars.  The case study is also available here for download.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Private Cloud, Site Consolidation, Virtualization | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Video: Global Forestry Slashes Costs with Riverbed Steelheads

Posted by bobegilbert on February 12, 2010

A global forestry company looked to Riverbed to enable
consolidation of 8 Data Centers down to 2 and 280 remote servers consolidated from the branch offices to the data centers.
Application performance is 12 to 18 times faster with Riverbed.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Private Cloud, Site Consolidation | Leave a Comment »

Why Riverbed WAN optimization should be a priority in 2010

Posted by riverbedtest on February 11, 2010

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John Rath is among a number of IT industry observers who have noted that the WAN optimization market is hot; enterprises are looking to WAN optimization as a means of gaining significant IT efficiencies.  As the market leader in WAN optimization, Riverbed is increasingly the choice of CIO's and IT directors who understand the importance of investing in game-changing technologies for their IT infrastructure.  Despite scarce budget dollars available in today's difficult times, Riverbed is at or near the top of many IT project lists.

Those IT organizations who have or are investing in Riverbed realize that the resulting benefits go beyond just improved application performance and bandwidth savings.  Here are five things that they have come to understand about WAN optimization, and why Riverbed should be a priority in 2010:

1)  Riverbed's WAN optimization technology is different – Riverbed offers truly new and innovative technology that departs from older legacy approaches that are still being used by Riverbed's competitors.  Riverbed does not use file caching approaches that can lead to scaling and data coherency issues.  Unlike traditional Packeteer-style tunneling compression devices from the 1990's, Riverbed Steelheads can address the behavioral inefficiencies of a broad range of different applications, in order to effectively solve WAN latency issues.

2)  Investment in Riverbed often facilitates an instant short-term ROI and cost-savings – Many Riverbed customers are able to remove WAN links and reduce bandwidth subscriptions from their telecom providers, yielding immediate short-term cost savings that justify the Riverbed purchase within a matter of months.  Numerous Riverbed customers have been able to completely remove file servers and other application servers from their branch offices, yielding additional savings in IT operational costs.

3)  Riverbed allows you to do what was previously impossible – A number of Riverbed customers have been able to shut down data centers, leading to $millions in annual savings.  In the past, this would not have been possible without adversely affecting application performance for branch office employees.

4)  Riverbed WAN optimization lays the foundation for tomorrow's IT infrastructure – Many see Cloud Computing as the "Next Big Thing" that will deliver new levels of efficiency in IT operations.  However, The Cloud also creates new dependencies on the WAN infrastructure, because it demands that everyone access their applications and data remotely.  WAN optimization is therefore needed to prevent performance issues that arise as a result of WAN latencies and limited bandwidth.

5)  Riverbed allows the IT guy to be the hero – Most IT projects are considered successful if end-users don't notice any change or impact.  The typical IT guy would be happy if end-users don't notice any impacts arising out of that server virtualization, router or switch upgrade, or VoIP migration project.  But one of the key objectives of a Riverbed WAN optimization deployment is to impact the end-user in very real and productive ways.  Imagine the IT guy receiving a call that turns out not to be a complaint, but a complement.  "What did you do to the network??? Things are soooo much faster now!!!"  In fact, at Riverbed we are aware of a number of IT guys who were promoted as a reward for deploying Riverbed WAN optimization.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

The Secret Value of WAN Optimization – Optimized Disaster Recovery

Posted by bobegilbert on February 9, 2010

Dr

In one of my recent blog posts, I talked about the ABCD's of WAN Optimization where I spotlighted some of the key IT initiatives where WAN optimization provides high value.  While application acceleration, bandwidth optimization, and consolidation are IT initiatives that are becoming more aligned with WAN optimization solutions, disaster recovery (DR) tends to be an initiative that is not often thought of as being related.  This is more of a market perception, but the reality is that WAN optimization can be critical in the success of any DR or business continuity strategy.

Most DR strategies share a common goal and that is to protect data in the event of a disaster.  The data needs to be backed up and recoverable in a certain amount of time.  The amount of time it takes to recover data from a disaster or how long you can go without your application or data is the recovery time objective (RTO).  The obvious goal is to recover as quickly as possible and for some organizations, the longer it takes to recover, the more costly to their business.  Not only is there the need to recover data quickly, there is also the requirement to ensure that the data being recovered is relatively new and not data that is from several hours, days, or even weeks ago.  How much data can you afford to lose?  If you last performed a backup 18 hours ago and a disaster occurs, your backup contains data that is 18 hours old.  This is known as the recovery point objective (RPO).

There are a couple of key challenges in achieving a strict RTO and RPO.  For one, data created by organizations is ever growing and the result is that hundreds of gigabytes to multiple terabytes of data needs to be backed up daily.  Combine this hefty data backup requirement with the fact that the backup needs to go over a wide area network in order to reach the backup data center.  The inefficiencies of the network combined with the high latency cripples performance.  Big bandwidth is not the solution either.  You can invest in an OC-12 622Mps link or event a dedicated GigE connection between data centers, but organizations cannot get near the throughput they need to complete their replication jobs.  It is not uncommon to get 70Mbps of throughput out of your 622Mbps link.  If replication jobs don't complete in time, then your RTO and RPO goals are not being met.

This is where WAN optimization comes to the rescue.  Place a Riverbed Steelhead appliance at each data center and through a combination of WAN-based data de-duplication and TCP optimization techniques, organizations can dramatically increase throughput performance.  Meet replication time targets, replicate more often, and more importantly, recover from a disaster more quickly and with data that is fresher.

As timing would have it, Riverbed announced today a groundbreaking WAN optimization appliance platform for tackling even the most demanding replication jobs.  The Steelhead 7050 raises the bar when it comes to scalability and performance for tackling the most demanding DR environments.  The 7050 is also equipped to handle large hub and spoke data center to branch office environments when you are deploying a WAN optimization solution for IT consolidation.

The net-net is that WAN optimization and Riverbed in particular, should be considered for any DR initiative.  Below is a recent video covering Riverbed and disaster recovery.

Posted in Disaster Recovery | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

5 things to look for when choosing a WAN optimization vendor

Posted by bobegilbert on February 8, 2010

Wanopt_confusion

I recently blogged about the ABCD's of WAN optimization in an attempt to simplify the understanding of how this technology adds value to IT organizations.  After hopefully gaining a better understanding of WAN optimization, the obvious next step is to choose which WAN optimization vendor's product to deploy.  As Riverbed's evangelist, I am obviously biased, but I thought I would plot out what I see as the 5 key things to look for when selecting a WAN optimization vendor.

1.  Customer and industry recognition

Customer references remain king regardless of the product, technology, or service.  We see this with social media platforms like Yelp where the community shares their experience with a variety of businesses.  If a large percentage of the community rates the business highly, then there is a better chance that your experience will be positive as well.  The same holds true for WAN optimization.  Ask your vendor candidates to provide several customers that you can call to ask how their experience has been.  Even better, ask for references that represent an environment similar to your own.  Be wary of vendors that only have a small amount of references or simply provide you with case studies in lieu of someone that can accept a phone call.

In addition to customers, talk to industry experts to get their take.  For example, Gartner is one of the premiere analysts that covers the WAN optimization market.  They publish a Magic Quadrant spotlighting leaders and visionaries in this market.  These industry experts have done their homework and while their opinion is at the end of the day, just an opinion, it is an expert opinion.

2.  Proven ROI

Value and return on investment is cornerstone to any technology deployed in today's economic landscape.  Ask each vendor to go through an ROI exercise based on your environment in order to determine what the potential savings would be.  While the product cost varies from vendor to vendor, so does the ROI once you figure in the deployment costs, optimization results, and cost of the product as well.  It is also a good idea to ask for both customer and 3rd party ROI validation.  Beware of products that are considerably less as the old adage "you get what you paid for" often applies.

3.  Speed, Scalability, Simplicity

At the end of the day, it's usually about speed\acceleration\optimization.  How much acceleration do you get with each WAN optimization vendor?  Many vendors will tout acceleration for varying applications, but vendors differ in their implementation.  Look for vendors that have developed acceleration techniques geared towards mitigating the latency impact on the performance for your specific application. 

WAN optimization encompasses IT infrastructure technology that is often deployed as an appliances (hardware/virtual) at a branch office and data center and software that is deployed in mobile worker's laptops.  Scalability of this IT infrastructure as far as being able to address the demands of your user, network, and application loads is critical for very large deployments where there are large amounts of users and branch offices.  Being able to scale down can be very critical as well.  If you have small offices with only a handful of users, does the WAN optimization vendor offer a product specifically designed for your environment?

One of the often overlooked comparison points of WAN optimization is simplicity.  How simple is the product to deploy?  How much IT staff is required for the initial deployment and ongoing maintenance?  test each vendor by timing how long it takes from un-boxing to optimization.

4.  Product Features and Breadth of Capabilities

You may be surprised that product features is this far down on the list.  The truth is that once you test for speed, scalability, and simplicity, the product features usually take second stage.  For example, if your application is SSL-encrypted, vendors that have developed SSL acceleration features should rise to the top during your testing.  Vendor acceleration features in the areas of web-based apps to Lotus Notes optimization to thin client acceleration vary greatly as do their ability to accelerate these applications. Beware of vendors that claim acceleration of an application only to find out they they don't solve the latency impact on performance.  Once again, make sure your applications are part of your WAN optimization test plans.

There are features very applicable to WAN optimization that are not necessarily about optimization or acceleration specifically.  For example, the ability to provide end-to-end visibility into the network and applications is important for both identifying additional opportunities for optimization along with monitoring the effectiveness of the WAN optimization devices themselves.  Some vendors offer a robust visibility solution while others are well behind in this important aspect of WAN optimization.

Another feature to look for is the ability to run branch office services such as domain controller, print, DNS/DHCP directly from a WAN optimization device.  A number of vendors provide a virtualization layer where you can run these services on their box, providing the ability to consolidate a number of servers and appliances at the branch.  Think branch office box functionality.

5.  Company Viability and ability to Support

Last, but certainly not least is the viability of the vendor and their ability to adequately support their product.  A WAN optimization solution can be a big investment with great value and a tremendous ROI, but your investment could be a bad one if you choose a vendor on the way down, instead of up.  Is the vendor's business growing or shrinking?  Do they have ample resources to focus on your success after the sale?  If you are a global company, do they provide global support?

If you would like to hear from me specifically about Riverbed's response to each of the above five points, please respond and let me know.  I would also love to hear your feedback and if there is maybe something I missed.

Bob Gilbert
bob@riverbed.com

Posted in Bandwidth Optimization, Site Consolidation | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

La Porte Regional Health Systems deploys Riverbed to optimize medical imaging

Posted by bobegilbert on February 3, 2010

La Porte Regional Health Systems selected Riverbed Steelhead appliances to optimize CIFS and
GE PACS files from a remote hospital and a diagnostic center. Added
benefit to running Steelheads is their nightly remote backups went from
4 hours down to 10 minutes.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Disaster Recovery | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Global Clinical Research firm reduces 72% data over the WAN with Riverbed

Posted by bobegilbert on February 1, 2010

Riverbed customer able to optimize Notes and replicate a Domino database
data in real-time. This customer continues its consolidation project by
deploying the Riverbed Services Platform to its branch offices.

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