The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for March, 2011

Riverbed customer spotted in the wild

Posted by bobegilbert on March 30, 2011

Wright Pierce's Director of IT and longtime Riverbed customer Ray Sirois was recently at the Washington Convention Ctr Subway Station when he couldn't help but notice the Riverbed mojo surrounding him.  Ray captured the moment with this snapshot.

Ray-rvbd-crop-med

Thanks for sharing the photo Ray and for being such an awesome customer!

 

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

Optimization Is for the Clouds

Posted by riverbedtest on March 29, 2011

While some enterprises are still unsure of how the cloud will benefit them, conference organizers certainly don't share that trepidation: my calendar is packed with events. I wish I could say that people have agreed on what the cloud is, but no — not only is cloud computing keeping the events industry afloat, it provides a platform (get it?) for endless debate and gasbaggery.

05-01-01_fight_cloud Since I always enjoy being in the middle of the fray, I'll take my turn. Fundamentally, the cloud is one great big WAN. And where there's a WAN, there's…a…(here it comes)…way! To eliminate inherent performance problems! To provide users that lush, LAN-like experience! (Hm, is that an orchestra swelling in the background somewhere?)

Wan-network The performance challenges posed by cloud computing are really very similar to those posed by other forms of computing from a distance. Fortunately, you can solve these in much the same way you solved general WAN performance problems you encountered during your data center consolidation project. I'm working on a paper some of the cool things you can with Cloud Steelhead and Amazon EC2. I'd like to float a few of my ideas here.

Optimizing project migration

Many organizations get started with cloud computing by duplicating an important (but not critical) application to the cloud for a period of testing time. If the testing is successful, the on-premise deployment is decommissioned and the cloud deployment becomes primary. Steelhead can help this project succeed in two ways:

  • The appliance in your data center and a Cloud Steelhead in your AWS region can accelerate the initial transfer of applications, data, and even full server images using AWS VM Import
  • During the testing phase and after migration, the Steelheads will continually optimize communications between users on your network and applications running on instances in the cloud, providing LAN-like performance

Bringing dispersed organizations together

Distributed organizations can dispense with centralized IT altogether and instead deploy everything in the cloud. In some cases, venture capital funding even requires this. The economic and technical benefits are clear: applications can be written to take full advantage of the cloud's capabilities and resources can be added or removed to match demand. Bandwidth usage in these scenarios can be quite high, though. This is an ideal opportunity to combine branch office Steelheads, mobile Steelheads, and Cloud Steelhead together to drive further cost reduction from your monthy telecommunications and cloud transfer charges.

Optimizing cross-region transfer

Cloud Steelheads can communicate with each other, too. Global enterprises using AWS often need to transfer data from one region to another. Because AWS relies on public Internet connections for data transfer between regions, Cloud Steelhead can accelerate these transfers and reduce your bandwidth costs, often by a significant amount. When you configure a Cloud Steelhead in each region, the auto-discovery agent will detect the Steelheads and ensure that cross-region traffic is optimized.

Boosting one cloud with another

You can take advantage of AWS's international peering agreements to accelerate traffic to other cloud providers that don't offer Steelhead as an option in their data centers or on virtual machines. As an example, assume you’re a business based in Australia and you wish to consume PaaS or SaaS style cloud services from a provider whose closest data centers are in Singapore. Even under the best of network conditions, latency between these locations can be unbearably high. It's likely, though, that AWS's Singapore region is topologically very close to your ultimate destination, perhaps with latencies as low as five milliseconds. You can install Steelhead appliances in your Australia office, deploy a few Cloud Steelhead instances in AWS Singapore, and route traffic to and from your ultimate destination via AWS. Users will experience performance almost like that of a LAN because the long-distance, high-latency links are carrying only optimized traffic.

What would you like to do with Cloud Steelhead?

Global_communicationsIf you're wondering whether Cloud Steelhead would benefit your particular project, drop me a note in the comments below and I'll reply. Cloud Steelhead is an ideal application for compute requirements on Amazon EC2 where users are separated from resources by long distances.

Posted in Bandwidth Optimization, Private Cloud, Public Cloud | Leave a Comment »

Video: 6 year old installs Riverbed Steelhead appliance

Posted by bobegilbert on March 27, 2011

Riverbed has gained a reputation throughout the years for having a groundbreaking technology that not only performs great, but is also simple to deploy.  I decided to put Riverbed's "it is simple" reputation to the test and asked my 6 year old daughter to perform an installation and configuration of Riverbed's flagship Steelhead appliance.  6 year-old Jasmine was not only successful at installing and configuring the appliance, she also tested it afterwards!  

This is all caught on video. Enjoy! 

 

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Fun | Tagged: , | 7 Comments »

Post-Apocalyptic IT Glory

Posted by riverbedtest on March 25, 2011

Today's Guest Blogger is Matt Berry.  Matt is a Sales Engineer from Down Under (Australia), which explains the theme of his piece.  

Are you mad? Considering changing your first name to Max? Just been on eBay looking for some “V8 Mad max car Interceptor” muscle?

Well I’m here to tell you that you’re looking in the wrong place. Riverbed can give you the Interceptor without all the '70s wind resistance. It goes well beyond a blown V8 with fat tires and an exhaust system you could only dream of on your Toyota hatchback. The Riverbed Interceptor can intercept 1,000,000 – yep, 1 million – TCP sessions; can be souped up with 10Gigabits/sec of Ethernet connectivity madness; and can pump 12Gbits/s of throbbing WAN accelerated glory into the network!

“What on earth is he talking about?” I hear you ask. Well check this out:

Presentation1 Put a pair of Riverbed Interceptors between your WAN and Data Center LAN and you’ve got a highly P54587_Large+Ford_Falcon_Fastback+Full_Driver_Side_View available, Steelhead-aware, load-balancing solution with full stateful failover! Try and do that in a 1970s Ford Falcon Fastback! If one Interceptor fails (which makes Max really Mad), the other will seamlessly Intercept and redirect optimized sessions to the same Steelhead – thereby not interrupting the Optimized flow.

Ever wanted to pause a Steelhead for planned work? “Pause? Huh?” Yes, have the Driver Steelhead reject new sessions so old sessions can be gracefully shut down. Well the Riverbed Interceptor now makes this possible – you can plan work on a Steelhead without losing a single packet. “That’s just crazy talk!” I hear you say.

“How about the ability to load-balance across any sized Steelheads that I like? Maybe I want to start small, with a 2050, then later add a couple of 5050s but still keep that 2050 workhorse in the mix?” Well unlike Max’s beast of a wagon, the Riverbed Interceptor lets you do just that.

“How about a couple of kick-butt, solid state, 7050 bad boys for my DR traffic, balanced with a humble cluster of 5050s for all my whining users?” Yep! The Interceptor’s load balancing rules were made for that!

Just remember, when you think post-apocalyptic IT glory, think Interceptor!

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

How can we make our blog better?

Posted by riverbedtest on March 24, 2011

Blogshakespearecomic We know that we get thousands of hits on our blog in a typical week, but at the same time, we have little or no sense of how our blog content serves you, as a reader of that blog.  So today, for a change of pace, we're going to ask you to do a little bit of the writing.

Please create a comment below, and tell us what you like and don't like about our blog.  What types of articles you prefer and what types you wish we'd never post.  And what you'd like to see more of.  For example:

  • Yesterday, Bob Gilbert posted some tips about configuring a Steelhead appliance to maximize RDP performance; do you want to see more tips? 
  • Sometimes we post videos; are they useful and interesting? 
  • Do you prefer rants, explanations, discussions, reminiscences?
  • Back in November, we live blogged our product announcements for Whitewater and Cloud Steelhead.  We hope to do more of that with future product announcements; is that interesting?
  • We've been mixing it up lately with guest authors from around Riverbed.  Do you like that approach?
  • Do some products and technologies get too much or too little coverage?

And if you're up for it,

  • Please tell me why you visit us?  What are you looking for?
  • How do you find us?  Twitter?  RSS? Another source?  Istockphoto_4029135-one-way-signOr do you just check in on your own from time to time?
  • Do you follow us on any of our other social media outlets?  Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook?  Are you a member of our Community?  
  • Are you a user, a prospect, a partner, an employee, an investor, a journalist, or someone else?

Our blog has been very much a one-way street. We'd love to increase the interactivity and the  value to our readers.  So please take a minute and help us make the Think Fast Blog better.   We're listening.

And thank you.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

Configuring the Steelhead appliance for RDP acceleration

Posted by bobegilbert on March 23, 2011

Configure_rdp

My blog last week featured a video demonstrating how Steelhead appliance can accelerate RDP 7 environments.  The blog triggered a number of inquiries about how to configure the Steelhead to achieve these type of results.

 Below is a list of the steps you need to take:

 

  1. Turn off RDP compression and encryption
  2.  Remove RDP (TCP port 3389) from the default "interactive' port labels list in the Steelhead appliance management console
  3.  Create an in-path rule for destination port 3389, with "neural framing mode" set to "never" and normal optimization

Note: If you are not familiar how to do this, please reference the "View WAN Reference Architecture" document on VMware's website

Performing these 3 simple configuration steps changes RDP from being passed-through unoptimized to being intercepted and optimized by Steelhead appliances.  Happy optimizing!

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

What is the real value of my stored documents?

Posted by riverbedtest on March 22, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Mark Lewis.  Mark is the Senior Director of Marketing and Alliances for Riverbed in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) for Riverbed.  He is based in London, England.

ManDrawerI was talking with a customer recently about his storage needs, how they had grown over the years Solid-brass-radiator-bleed-key-016142M and how they were likely to grow in to the future. Truth is, he said, “It’s difficult to know what to keep and what to dispose of, so we keep everything, just in case”!

It reminded me of the ‘man drawer’ sketch by comedian Michael McIntyre. A ‘man drawer’ is the kind of place you store batteries, even old ones you haven’t had a chance to throw away yet. You’ll store instruction manuals for appliances you no longer own, new and old light bulbs, keys from homes you don’t live in any more and, of course the most masculine device key of all, the radiator bleeding key.


 

Why do we keep all this? I have asked this question of many customers and they all agree they know they are keeping more than they need to, but the reasons are very convincing. For some it’s regulatory needs, though they admit not all documents are regulated but it’s ‘too complicated to separate them’. For others the argument of falling disk prices means the cost of storing is always coming down, excluding management of storage of course.

071108batteries01 But how are we going to protect all that data? Even with deduplication storage technologies, the rate of growth is going to continue at a tremendous rate and more importantly what happens at the point of recovery? There are going to be a lot of old batteries, bulbs and keys to sift through or rather their business document equivalents. Old Keys 3

One assuring bit of news are the new services being launched by various organizations such as Amazon and AT&T with many more to follow, offering backup options in a multi-tenanted environment. Some call this ‘cloud storage’.

The great news is your back up really can be someone else’s problem and with technology from organizations like Riverbed with its Whitewater appliances these third party solutions can seamlessly integrate in to any IT environment. If you want to learn more look out for a number of online seminars and trade shows taking place. Or you can read more about these solutions here

 

Posted in Disaster Recovery, Public Cloud, Storage Cloud | 2 Comments »

Riverbed and the Crisis in Japan

Posted by riverbedtest on March 21, 2011

In my nearly-a-year here at Riverbed, I have been very gratified to see the way my company and my co-workers respond to problems and crises in the world.  The ongoing problems in Japan are another outstanding example.  

Riverbed has taken a two-pronged approach to helping.

On a larger scale, our executives came forward and offered to match funds that our employees donate to relief efforts through Mercy Corps.  Specifically, if the employees came up with $40,000, the executives would match that with $10,000 of their own money.  It took just a few days for the roughly 1250 Riverbed employees to exceed $47,000 in donations as of this morning, with more coming in every day.

On a more personal scale, Riverbed has 13 employees located in Japan.  Our Employee Services team, led by Senior VP Mike Guerchon, has been in regular touch with them, and he assures us that they are all doing fine, though they have many issues with the availability of food, water, basic supplies, and transportation.  We arranged to evacuate our team and their families this past weekend, if they chose, to temporary housing and office space in Osaka, which we believe will give a larger buffer to any potential radiation.  We will provide them with apartment-style housing so the families can cook and have more room than a hotel would provide. 

Riverbed would take care of the costs for transportation and housing if our people decide to temporarily relocate. We have  large boxes of food and basic supplies like toilet paper on stand by that we can ship overnight to our people should they need them. We are in touch with our folks there multiple times per day to make sure that their needs are being taken care of.

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Clearing Up… Slowly!

Posted by riverbedtest on March 18, 2011

Today's guest blogger is Christian Lorentz. Christian, who is based in Munich, Germany, is the Product Marketing and Alliance Manager for Riverbed in EMEA (Europe, The Middle East, and Asia).  What follows are his impressions (and a few beautiful photographs) from his visit this week to the X-Days conference in Interlaken, Switzerland.

Xdays What was considered nothing more than marketing hype here in Europe 12 months ago, is starting to turn into reality.  I participated in X-Days, the largest IT show in Switzerland this week, and I saw a lot of interest from enterprises of all sizes in using cloud services.

At the X-Days conference, the large vendors' messages focused on efficiency, agility and other cloud Interlaken sunny characteristics. Why? In the last several months, many CIOs in Europe claimed that they have begun embracing the cloud before their IT organizations did. However, if you take a closer look at what they have achieved so far, you’ll see that all they've done is begin to consolidate services, streamline processes, and perhaps outsource some of their non-critical applications.  This is far from what the visionaries call the cloud. These are just the first steps toward the private cloud, but the journey to the public cloud remains difficult. Why?

In Europe, cloud services offerings are not as rich as they are in the US. Most global vendors follow the one-size-fits-all model and try to sell the same services across all horizontals, all verticals, and all countries. Even though there are no longer customs restrictions  between European countries anymore, there are still different legal requirements between different countries and verticals. For example,Interlaken cloudy Switzerland and France are very restrictive on the location where the enterprise data can be saved. Therefore, using Cloud Storage Services  that are based in Ireland, where the majority of the data centers are based, is unimaginable in these countries. The lack of local, in-country players who understand the requirements of a specific vertical or horizontal market so that they can propose the correct service is slowing down the adoption of the cloud throughout Europe.

Many IT organizations are lobbying the EC to get an harmonization of the services but this is very unlikely to happen soon, and so Europe will stay on the back seat of the “cloud shuttle” for a while.

IMG_0092

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Riverbed Demo: RDP 7 Acceleration

Posted by bobegilbert on March 16, 2011

This video says it all, but essentially Riverbed can have a big impact on the performance of RDP 7 when used over a high latency WAN connection.  The RDP activities in this demo are pretty straightforward and include the dragging and resizing of a window.

  

Rdp7

 

 

Posted in Application Acceleration | Tagged: | 2 Comments »