The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for March, 2010

Cisco credibility forever changed

Posted by riverbedtest on March 26, 2010

It has been pretty entertaining to skim online commentary in the wake of Cisco’s not-so-exciting-after-all announcement of the CRS-3. Here’s a quick recap of the situation for any who didn’t trip across the ubiquitous marketing as it was happening:

After a relentless campaign of hype…


… including the promise that Cisco was going to “forever change the Internet,”


… and a big countdown clock to the EXACT MOMENT of this GLORIOUS EVENT


… what we actually heard was… 


Cisco will be building and selling a big router.  

(Yawn.  Soft sound of chirping crickets in the background.)

The mismatch between the claims and the reality was not exactly unexpected. At Riverbed, we’ve been competing against Cisco WAAS for more than 5 years, and we’ve become accustomed to exaggerated claims from Cisco for both the virtues of WAAS and the evils of our product.  We’ve even had some fun with it along the way, picking up the wilder quotes from Cisco marketing people and then contrasting those with the realities of the products as shown in screen shots and documentation.


So when I saw that this supposedly Internet-changing announcement was happening at the same time that I would be on an airplane, I didn’t particularly worry that I would miss something important.  I certainly didn’t make any effort to rearrange my plans around the event.

That said, there was a little nagging doubt in my mind – we have a lot of respect for Cisco capabilities overall (basically, as soon as you move away from WAN optimization and other app-layer stuff). There was always the possibility that some of the many smart people at Cisco dealing with routing, switching, security, etc. had really come up with something interesting.

And it seems like a lot of other people expected something much bigger and better. I don’t know whether people were actually rearranging their calendars to watch the announcement, but certainly it seems like many had invested some of their time and attention in Cisco and felt like they had been duped.   Marek Fuchs of posted a video before the announcement commenting on the atmosphere. From my Riverbed experience, he got me laughing at a couple of points: “Cisco is a responsible company, and they’re really hyping this” and “they’ve been a very accurate company historically – one of the few.” But he got it exactly right when he said matching up the hype to the reality of the product would be a good basis for deciding whether to trust Cisco going forward or whether there’d be a need to re-evaluate. 

Was I the only one who saw a gap? Doesn't seem like it. After the announcement, Marguerite Reardon at CNET noted that it was "more of an incremental upgrade to the company's existing product, the CRS-1. IP routing is Cisco's bread and butter. It's not surprising that the company has developed yet another big router to keep up with growing Internet traffic demand."

Escalating to the next level of snarkiness, Loring Worbel at TechBites commented that “Cisco CEO John Chambers’ come-to-Jesus pontificating has gotten so over the top, it’s useful to have [real-time blogger] Scott [Raynovich] serve as real-time standup comic to poke holes in the proselytizing.  And someone needs to tell Cisco executives it’s wrong to call a session Q&A, when it’s just mid-level managers from Cisco interviewing each other.” 


But the pithiest response to the "forever change" line came from the reaction of Jim Duffy on Network World's Cisco Subnet: “Well, it forever changed the way we'll set expectations for a Cisco announcement.”

There were some commentators who were willing to cut some slack to Cisco that they were caught out by a changed environment… I guess when you screw up, it's better to claim adverse circumstances rather than incompetence.  Still, it's not exactly complimentary that one "nice" analysis thinks that Cisco didn’t realize that they were a consumer brand, or that another argues they were thrown off by the way that Apple has changed mainstream expectations.


It feels like the CRS-3 announcement has served as a wake-up call for a number of people that Cisco either doesn’t know or doesn’t care that there’s a difference between a new router and “forever changing the Internet.”  And realizing that Cisco gets that wrong suddenly opens eyes to the possibility that maybe Cisco’s credibility is suspect in some other areas… like WAAS.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Global Manufacturing company avoids WAN upgrades and accelerates Oracle

Posted by bobegilbert on March 22, 2010

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

Turner Padget CIO shares his success in deploying Riverbed

Posted by bobegilbert on March 18, 2010

Turner Padget CIO shares his success in deploying Riverbed RSP and
Steelhead Mobile for optimizing VDI for his mobile attorneys. The firm
is also replicating Dell EqualLogic data to its DR site by running Steelhead
appliances and the result is he is able to achieve his disaster recovery goals.

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

WAN Optimization, Security, and the Federal Market

Posted by bobegilbert on March 5, 2010


For the typical enterprise customer, selecting a WAN optimization vendor usually starts with identifying solutions that do a good job accelerating the applications they care about, are scalable, and can be seamlessly deployed within their IT infrastructure.  For the government customer, there is arguably an even more important consideration that goes above and beyond speed, scalability, and simplicity and that is security.  There are 3 key security considerations for government organizations selecting a WAN optimization vendor.

1.  The existing secure infrastructure must not be weakened

Features need to be in place that ensure that as WAN optimization devices and/or software is deployed, additional security risks are not introduced. 

For example, Riverbed offers the ability to SSL encrypt the traffic between Steelhead appliances.  In addition to encrypting the traffic in flight over the WAN, Riverbed also offers the ability to encrypt the chunked data that is stored on the Steelhead appliance for optimization.  Up to 256 bit AES is supported.  The result is that with Riverbed, you get an end-to-end WAN optimization solution that is secure.

2.  You must be able to accelerate secure applications

Federal organizations that have deployed web-based applications that are SSL-encrypted, have encrypted Exchange email, or have applied SMB-signing to their file sharing environment to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks are often forced to make the trade-off between application acceleration for security.  For many WAN optimization vendors, they will simply pass this traffic through unoptimized or worse, will ask the customer to turn off security so they can achieve acceleration.

Riverbed has done a tremendous amount of engineering work to optimize and accelerate these encrypted environments.  With Riverbed, Federal organizations don't have to turn off SSL encryption, Exchange encryption, or SMB signing.  You get to have your cake and eat it too.  Accelerate your applications, while maintaining a secure environment.

3.  Must comply with federal security standards

Large government organizations, civilian agencies, and militaries deploy IT equipment that runs on networks, in data centers, in office buildings, and even in tents or vehicles to support a military endeavors.  This equipment must not only be secure, but it must comply with federal security standards including FIPS, Common Criteria, and JITC.  These federal security standard requirements are often extended to WAN optimization devices as well.

Riverbed has invested a large amount of resources to ensure that our products meet these Federal security standards.

If you are interested in finding out more about how Riverbed has been selected by government agencies around the world to accelerate applications, optimize bandwidth, consolidate IT infrastructure, and optimize disaster recovery, while doing it securely, please drop me an email.

Bob Gilbert

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Disaster Recovery, Mobile, Private Cloud, Site Consolidation | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

Video – Steelhead Mobile Demo

Posted by bobegilbert on March 4, 2010

Bob Gilbert demonstrates Riverbed's WAN optimization solution for mobile workers.

Posted in Mobile | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Steelhead 7050: Riverbed continues to innovate

Posted by riverbedtest on March 1, 2010


The recent announcement of the newest Steelhead 7050 appliance makes available new and unprecedented levels of scalability to Riverbed's largest customers.  As the first WAN optimization appliance with the capability to store 100% of its persistent data on solid state disks (SSD's), the Steelhead 7050 represents only the latest of many innovative capabilities first delivered by Riverbed to its customers.

While Riverbed's competitors are eager talk about their roadmap and future plans, only Riverbed is able to show how historically they have consistently executed on their product plans.  In fact, Riverbed innovates at such a fast rate that competitors are struggling to keep pace in copying Riverbed's new ideas.  To show what I mean, here is a list of major innovations by Riverbed, where Riverbed was the first WAN optimization vendor to introduce the innovation:

May 2004:  The first WAN optimization appliance to use disk-based data reduction

May 2004:  The first auto-discovery capability allowing dynamic peer discovery

May 2004:  The first layer-7 optimization for Exchange 5.5 and 2000 (MAPI)

March 2005:  The first layer-7 optimization for Exchange 2003 (MAPI 2003)

October 2005:  The first to support for asymmetric routing for appliances deployed in-path

August 2006:  * The first to support data store synchronization within redundant cluster

March 2008:  The first layer-7 optimization for Exchange 2007 (MAPI 2007)

March 2008:  The first virtualization platform for WAN optimization (RSP)

October 2008:  * The first layer-7 optimization for Lotus Notes

October 2008:  * The first layer-7 optimization for Encrypted Exchange (encrypted MAPI)

November 2009:  * The first branch office warming (appliance & mobile client data sharing)

November 2009:  * The first layer-7 CIFS optimization specially engineered for Macintosh

February 2010:  * The first WAN optimization offering to use solid state disks

The above innovations listed with an asterisk (*) indicate features that are still only available exclusively from Riverbed.

From noting the above observations, Riverbed's customers can be assured of two things:

1)  Riverbed is as dedicated to innovation today as we always have been since we first introduced the Steelhead in 2004.  The pace of Riverbed introducing new innovations and capabilities continues unabated.

2)  Unlike its competitors, Riverbed has a strong history of execution that gives customers a high level of confidence in the continued execution of its roadmap and product plans.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »