The Riverbed Blog (testing)

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Archive for August, 2011

Bandwidth Confessionals

Posted by riverbedtest on August 31, 2011

Hello Riverbed followers…my name is Sabrina and I just recently joined the Riverbed blogging team. I am a business development rep, as part of the corporate sales team, in San Francisco. My day consists of calling prospective customers and uncovering opportunities for our regional sales managers in the Southeast region (I'm that person who calls and interrupts your workday to find out if you are interested in Riverbed's solutions).  I'm very excited to be contributing to our blog and hope you will enjoy my perspective and insights. Now, without further ado, my first post…

 

I'm going to ask you a question and I want an honest answer. This is a safe space, no judgement here.  Ok, ready?  Have you ever upgraded your bandwidth , even though you knew it wasn't going to solve your latency problems? 

BandwidthRegret If you said yes, it's okay. Everybody has done it and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Your intentions were good, and besides, it gave you a reprieve from all those user complaints. But then, after awhile, they started again, didn't they? 

And now you are right back where you started from, thinking about going back to bandwidth. Do you really think things will be different this time? Sure, there will be the honeymoon period, but eventually you will be right back where you started, broken promises and shattered dreams. I'm begging you, don't do it, don't go back to bandwidth!

As much as you want it to, bandwidth will not solve your problems. I know it's comfortable, it's safe,   RootCauses everybody knows bandwidth, but it's not right for you. Is bandwidth going to address all those TCP applications whose chatty behavior is causing your end users to waste valuable time waiting for apps to load or files to transfer? And do you honestly believe bandwidth will ever be able to address the latency problem? I don't care how big your pipe is, those applications still need to go back and forth across the WAN and having more space will only make their trip more comfortable, not faster.

Imagine you have to transport 100 of your employees from HQ to a remote office that is 3,000 miles away. You want to get all of them there as quickly as possible. You have two travel options:

1) A volkswagon bug and a four-lane high way, or… 

2) A Greyhound bus and a single lane highway.

Option 2 right? It's a no-brainer. The situation is no different with your WAN. Upgrading bandwidth is like choosing option 1 and implementing a WAN optimization solution is like choosing option 2.

CostSavings

 

What about cost you say?    This chart shows the  calculations done by the law firm Allen Matkins. They found that "the cost of deploying the Riverbed Steelhead solution would be 70% less expensive than the cost of implementing a bandwidth upgrade. Annual operating costs for the Riverbed Steelhead solution are a staggering 88% less expensive than the bandwidth upgrade.(Case Study: AllenMatkins).

I'm glad we were able to have this little chat today. I care about you,everybody here at Riverbed cares, and we don't want to see you go back to bandwidth. You deserve so much better.

 

Calculate your companies potential bandwidth savings by using our ROI Calculator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Introducing the Riverbed Customer Network (RCN)

Posted by bobegilbert on August 31, 2011

I can go on and on about the many customer programs at Riverbed.  From the regional user groups to customer advisory boards to the advanced access program, Riverbed is well connected to it's customers.  

Riverbed Group Marketing Manager Irene Yam has put together an awesome lineup of programs that assist customers in making the most out of their Riverbed deployment.  Irene and her team recently produced this short video clip that introduces these programs under the Riverbed Customer Network or RCN moniker.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Aptimize: Supercharging Your SharePoint Performance!

Posted by riverbedtest on August 30, 2011

Do you have issues with Microsoft SharePoint environment performance?  While SharePoint is an amazing collaboration tool with loads of rich features, oftentimes long distances and bandwidth limitations can get in the way of delivering the best possible SharePoint experience to remote workers.  Waiting for bus

No one likes to wait, and delays will drive users’ behavior.  If SharePoint is too slow, dissatisfied employees won’t use it as much as they could, might open IT tickets in complaint, or may even abandon it entirely.  This can result in productivity losses and missed opportunities in SharePoint deployments.  What to do?
 
Enter Riverbed!
 
Steelhead WAN optimization has been able to improve SharePoint performance for branch office workers with data reduction, HTTP protocol features, and even application specific tuning to accelerate authentication for example.
 
Now complementing Steelhead is our new Aptimize web content optimization software, which can immediately deliver additional performanceimprovements when installed on the SharePoint server.  Aptimize also has the advantage of being able to optimize asymmetrically (nothing required on the client side!)
Aptimize logo
 
Aptimize will help SharePoint by:

  • Merging web page files for fewer roundtrips
  • Shrinking and compressing these files to reduce data quantity
  • Increasing browser caching to reduce reload times
  • Tuning the page layout to display first things first

 
The results speak for themselves:

  • Up to 76% reduction in load times
  • Up to 43% less traffic
  • AND happier and more productive SharePoint users

 So whether you are a Steelhead customer today or new to Riverbed and looking for a fresh approach, here’s your chance to supercharge your SharePoint environment!
 
Reach out to your local Riverbed representative to learn more.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Web Content Optimization | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed on Cloud Cover TV

Posted by riverbedtest on August 29, 2011

Good Monday morning! Evan Marcus, esteemed caretaker of this here fine blog, recently updated our posting schedules. Since I rather enjoy writing, I volunteered for an every-other-Monday slot. Coincidentally, then, I’ve got something to share with you: our first interview on Cloud Cover TV.

I’ve known Jo Maitland, executive editor at SearchCloudComputing.com, ever since my days at Amazon Web Services. Recently I joined her at TechTarget’s San Francisco studios for an in-person interview. We discussed a range of topics, covering the state of cloud security and Riverbed’s broadening of its product portfolio. Also we talked about why I felt the time was right to take what I learned during my 18 months at AWS and apply that to what I see as the next major barrier to cloud computing: performance. While security still tops all surveys asking respondents what’s stopping them from moving to the cloud, I’m having trouble squaring that with what I’ve actually seen: large enterprises in verticals handing sensitive information are already running production workloads on various clouds. And for many of these customers, once they design proper security, performance is usually the next hurdle to tackle. Moving data fast is what we do best here at Riverbed. As companies migrate their IT into the cloud, I can’t imagine a better place to work.

Anyway, please enjoy the interview. And let us know what you think, we love feedback!

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f8/1367665875

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

Get Cascade management visibility directly on your iPhone, iPad, or Android!

Posted by riverbedtest on August 26, 2011

In this day and age where every IT professional has at least one of the above-listed devices, having the ability to perform actual work on them, rather than just playing Angry Birds all day, can be a real benefit.

Riverbed® Cascade® provides a cost-effective, enterprise-wide solution for network visibility and performance management. To deliver the performance that the business needs, network and application teams need complete visibility into the applications, servers, and users on their network. Cascade fulfills this need with network monitoring, network traffic recording and analysis, discovery and dependency mapping and troubleshooting capabilities that collect traffic data on the network and alert network managers to problems before business is impacted.

This functionality can be made all the more "highly available" and "real time" through the use of devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android phones & tablets as mobile terminals to access and monitor the Cascade system. Below are some sample screenshots that illustrate just how useful this can be :

1. Multiple active alerts shown on the Service Dashboard :

P1

2. Tracing the source of the problem :

P3

 

3. Interface Utilization report :

P4

4. Network Operations Dashboard :

P5

and Zoomed in for a closer look :

P6

5. being notified of a WORM outbreak :

P7

6. Locating the source of the outbreak :
P8

7. Tracking down the computers involved and affected :
P9
So as you can see, the Riverbed Cascade system can be extremely useful when accessed remotely by any kind of HTTPS capable browser device, like Apple and Android terminals. Since there's no Java and no executable files required to run in the browser, any device like these can access and run Cascade to the fullest effect, truly empowering your mobile IT operations workforce with critical, real time information about your network.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

New stuff in the Community

Posted by riverbedtest on August 25, 2011

We've made some changes to the Riverbed Community that we'd like everyone to know about.

1) We've created a new board called Help the Newbies.  It's a general question and answer board.  Got a question?  Ask it here.  Do you know the answer to someone else's question?  Answer it here. Don't wait for someone else to answer it; if you know the answer, just shout it out! 

The idea is that there are no stupid questions, just stuff that somebody else doesn't know. 

2) We've created a second new board.  This one is called The Community Cafe.   It's a socially focused board, where we encourage people to introduce themselves to the community.  You can tell us a little about yourself, your background, your family, and your use of Riverbed products.  (And if you have a superpower, be sure to mention that too.)

Nothing fancy required, and don't share anything unless you're comfortable doing so.

We're trying to make our Community a friendlier place.  If you have any suggestions that might help us in that area, don't be shy.  You can make those suggestions at Forum Guidelines and Feedback.

See you in the Community!

Posted in Customers, People | Leave a Comment »

Why We Picked Zeus as Riverbed’s ADC Technology

Posted by riverbedtest on August 25, 2011

We kicked off our series on Zeus last week with a primer on ADC technology. Delving into this topic a bit more, in this week’s post we'll explain why, in our eyes, Zeus stood head-and-shoulders above its competitors. Here’s a quick hint, it might have something to do with the fact that Zeus was the leader in providing the most effective and versatile ADC solutions on the market.

Zeus’ technology runs on a wide variety of operating systems and can function in just about any infrastructure environment, physical, cloud, or hybrid. Once deployed, Zeus sits on the front-end of an organization’s internal infrastructure: the user- or Web- facing processes. When you enter your user name into a website form, for instance, you are interfacing with the front-end of the IT infrastructure. This front-end, in turn, relays information to the back-end, where much of the processing happens, as shown below.

Ztm_image This deployment is typical of most load balancers. But since ADCs sit at the point that connects users to business services and data, selecting the best solution is not a decision to be made lightly. Zeus Technology, now part of Riverbed, carved its market niche as the best load balancing and traffic management solution for the job for two main reasons. 

A software-based application's performance is typically comparable to a hardware-based solution. Zeus’ software meets and often exceeds the performance of its hardware counterparts. But the unique assets that Zeus brings to organizations are business agility and new opportunities. In fact, earlier this year, Zeus commissioned the analyst firm Ptak, Noel & Associates to research why its customers selected Zeus, and its findings specifically identified those assets as primary reasons.  

Many of Zeus’ customers started using ADC as a hardware appliance, but came to Zeus looking for a solution that allowed them to scale capacity without impacting the end user’s experience. Hardware-based solutions typically employ an active-passive model of scaling capability, which means customers have to buy units in pairs – one active and one standby unit. But this model forces customers to buy two units, even in situations when IT organizations only exceed their current capacity by a small amount to ensure availability if one device fails.  Because Zeus is a pure software solution, it can instantly scale up or down to accommodate changes in demand, enabling agility, without the need for costly installations or standby equipment.

Nowadays, technology changes at lightning speeds and software makes it easier an organization change right along with it. Software makes upgrades quick and easy, and doesn’t burden organizations with having to resell obsolete hardware to recoup sunk costs.  IT organizations who use hardware-based appliances must also deal with shared load balancing, an approach that is not adequate for business-critical applications.  Unfortunately, it’s the only option for hardware appliances that cannot provide the fine-grained control that's needed to properly implement these technologies.  Without the advanced management of software-based application delivery, public cloud infrastructures become risky and inefficient.

There was recently a lively discussion on the NANOG (North American Network Operators’ Group) mailing list, comparing the various options for a load balancing solution. The original poster was considering an open source option, but several of Zeus’ customers chimed in, recommending Zeus’ technology because it can be deployed on hardware, in a hybrid scenario, or a fully virtualized cloud platform.  It was described as the most versatile and adaptable option for nearly any scenario. 

We believe that this tells the whole story. The best endorsement for technology comes from those who use it. So we’ll leave you with a quote straight from the proverbial “horse’s mouth.”

“The decision to implement Zeus was critical in our migration to a virtual infrastructure because its solution is completely software-based and has maximum portability,” says Tim Maliyil,CEO, AlertBoot. “With Zeus, we’re able to handle the same – if not greater loads – and we have never had a single glitch. We’re now completely convinced there’s no need to stick with expensive hardware solutions.”

Join us again next week for a discussion on how Zeus’ partnerships benefit the Riverbed community.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed is looking for beta testers!

Posted by bobegilbert on August 24, 2011

Betatester

While I can't share any details about future products in this blog post, I can tell you that we are looking for customers that are interested in beta testing Riverbed's new products and software updates.  

If you are a Riverbed customer and are interested in getting early access to new features and products, please submit your request for participation by filling out and and submitting this online form. Once you submit your completed online form, a Riverbed product manager will follow up with you with more information.

I hope to see you as a participant in the Riverbed beta program!

Bob Gilbert, Riverbed Technology

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

The Challenges with Mobility and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Posted by riverbedtest on August 23, 2011

As a commuter heading into San Francisco on BART for the past several years,  I feel as though I have actually witnessed a revolution. 

Just a few years ago, the common commuter either slept, read (books, newspapers, magazines), or stared in the distance.  Occasionally someone might take or make a call, or possibly send a text or two (I loved my nokia 8210, so small!).  

Today, however, the most common pose is a near constant stare at our smart phones or connected device. Stare

I’m as guilty as the next person, pounding away updates on my Blackberry.  But the behavioral change is fascinating to me. Will it always  be like this?  Is this just a phase or are we forever committing to our screens?

Sidestepping the discussion about whether or not you think smartphones actually make us dumb, the proliferation of devices has got me thinking about the impact these devices have on IT. 

The challenge of mobile devices was particularly evident at an event I attended a few weeks ago, it was a customer advisory council meeting for a very successful regional value added reseller (VAR) in the Southeast.  The company had assembled 15 of their top customers to discuss best practices and new technologies.

By a show of hands, the greatest challenge the group faced was the explosion of end user devices and the impact the devices were having on corporate networks and on IT support.  One attendee discussed how their organization had gone so far to embrace end user choice that their company actually issues a hardware/device stipend to all new employees rather than supplying a laptop or desktop. The end user could buy the laptop, phone or pad of their choice, while IT focused on providing support and making sure their networks could handle surging amounts of traffic.

All this lead to a very lengthy discussion about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – (you can find some very honest and comprehensive discussions about VDI here).  VDI is a topic near and dear to Riverbed customers since at the core of the VDI concept is the explicit separation of end users from their data. And as we’ve learned from client-server applications that run over wide area networks, any time you separate end users from their data, especially over great distances, performance can really suffer, and WAN optimization technology is required to deliver the level of performance users demand.

Based on some partner and customer research I conducted earlier this year, I found that today’s most successful VDI deployments take place on local area networks (LAN), often deployed in a single facility or campus.  Education, Government agencies, and various types of financial service companies are particularly attracted to VDI’s promise of controlled, single instance data.  And while early desktop virtualization pitches promoted the cost benefits of VDI, many studies have since shown the cost benefits are minimal.  The real primary attraction of VDI is the age-old IT attraction of centralized control.

However, the challenge of VDI is most evident is over wide area networks (WAN).  If you’ve ever been frustrated by a pause in sending an e-mail or opening an application in a traditional corporate office, try sitting across a WAN from your data on a dumb terminal when you begin to experience slow or inconsistent K..EY..S.T…ROKE..S, forget it, it’s the worst. VDI over the WAN is a real challenge, which is why Riverbed is spending so much time and energy on the subject.  Today, we already optimize the Citrix ICA protocol and we help our customers optimize VMware view deployments as well using RDP optimization. 

During his keynote at Citrix Synergy in May, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton discussed a future where users would enjoy device and network independence.  I think we’re still a ways off from that, but I’m certain Riverbed will help the world get there.  Citrix

And for all my fellow BART commuters staring at your phones, just be thankful there are companies like Riverbed hard at work optimizing your corporate and public networks so you don’t miss a post, tweet, blog, text, request e-mail, video….

Did you know Worldwide smart phone shipments increased 87% in the last 12 months

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Corporate, Mobile, Virtualization | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Shifting Models & Lumped Circuits

Posted by riverbedtest on August 22, 2011

Today's Guest Blogger is Mark Day, Riverbed's Chief Scientist.

Back when I was studying electrical engineering, I first learned about lumped circuit models.  In a lumped model, we considered the wires to be ideal and just focused on the behavior of the connected Lumpedcircuits components (resistors, capacitors, inductors).  After we knew what we were doing (more or less) in that simplified world, we learned about transmission-line models, where we modeled the behavior of the wires.  And we learned that for certain kinds of real-world problems like managing an electrical grid, a lumped model would give you hopelessly wrong answers.

A little later, when I was in graduate school for computer science, I read an entertaining rant about ideal wires vs. the reality of building a fast parallel computer. Today that item came back to mind as I was thinking about explaining WAN issues and cloud performance to people whose frame of reference (their model, if you will) might be mostly LANs.

I was happy to find that my memory had mostly served me correctly.  Here’s a relevant excerpt from Danny Hillis’s book The Connection Machine (MIT Press, 1985):

“Fundamental to our old conception of computation was the idealized connection, the wire.  A Connection Machine wire, as we once imagined it, was a marvelous thing. You put in data at one end and simultaneously it appears at any number of useful places throughout the machine.  Wires are cheap, take up little room, and do not dissipate any power.

“Lately, we have become less enamored of wires. As switching components become smaller and less expensive, we begin to notice that most of our costs are in wires, most of our space is filled with wires, and most of our time is spent transmitting from one end of the wire to the other.  We are discovering that it previously appeared as if we could connect a wire to as many places as we wanted, only because we did not yet want to connect to many places.”

I think you can see that some of the same reality-check critique applies to ideas about the performance of cloud computing and distributed computing across WANs, with the network taking the place of the wire.  It sure is simple when the network’s behavior doesn’t matter, but unfortunately that isn’t always true.

At Riverbed it’s nice to have a variety of technologies that can be brought to bear on those network-related issues. One subtle problem is that because we think about it all the time, it’s easy for us to take for granted that “switch of models” that is sometimes harder for our customers.  People sometimes have to shift from assuming that everything “just works” in ideal fashion, to actually thinking about the WAN as an element of the system.

Posted in Hybrid Cloud, Private Cloud, Public Cloud | Leave a Comment »