The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Archive for November, 2011

Don’t miss us at Autodesk University 2011

Posted by riverbedtest on November 15, 2011

AuNovember 29 through December 1st I will be at Autodesk University at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas showcasing Riverbed's stellar results with Autodesk Vault. It has been an absolute pleasure collaborating with the Vault team.

Autodesk Vault is a data management tool which integrates with popular Autodesk products such as Inventor and AutoCAD. It provides a means for tracking files for management as well as version control for various Autodesk formats (dwg, revit) as well as non-Autodesk files (doc, xls). Vault server uses an SQL database backend and the client-server communication is done over HTTP.

Riverbed's HTTP optimization blade fits right into the Vault model providing huge benefits for client-server communication. In addition, we saw some great results in SQL performance over the WAN.

I highly encourage anyone attending the sessions to check out the 'Go Big or Go Home! Part3 – Extending Autodesk Vault to the Enterprise' class taught by Ross Tanner. Ross's class provides some great insights into:

  • Configuring Sharepoint for extending Vault data to the enterprise
  • Configuring Vault for the enterprise
  • Impact of WAN acceleration for Vault optimization
  • Describe what the new SharePoint integration can do for your organization
The schedule for Riverbed related talks are






Riverbed Technologies – Breaking the WAN performance barrier 

Tuesday, Nov 29th 2011


Avinash Shetty


Go Big or Go Home! Part 3 – Extending Autodesk® Vault to the Enterprise

Wednesday, Nov 30th 2011


Ross Tanner


Riverbed Technologies – Breaking the WAN performance barrier

Wednesday, Nov 30th 2011


Avinash Shetty


Riverbed is a proud sponsor of the Autodesk University, one of only a handful of companies to do so. Please come by the Presentation Theater where I will be presenting the results of our latest study and a live demo. See you there.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Events, People, Technical | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

What is this Stingray Traffic Manager, anyway? (Part 3)

Posted by riverbedtest on November 14, 2011

In the third installment of our introduction to the Stingray Traffic Manager, developer Alex Gosse discusses how STM can be used to balance web site load between multiple physical locations, regardless of how far apart they are.


As we go through this multi-part series, if you have questions or want specific information about Stingray Trafffic Manager (or any other Riverbed products), please ask your questions in the comments, and we'll respond there.

Posted in Load Balancing | 1 Comment »

A Day that Goes to Eleven

Posted by bobegilbert on November 11, 2011

So today is November 11, 2011.  It's the 88th anniversary of Kurt 300px-NYTimes-Page1-11-11-1918Vonnegut's birth.  It's Veterans Day in the  US. (The original Armstice Day commemorated the end of World War I, and the documents were officially signed at 11am on November 11, 1918.)

7-eleven_logoBut as a guy who works with numbers, I've been thinking about the numeric form  of today's date, which for a change works in both the US and the UK… 11/11/11.  I've been thinking about 11s and how they appear in our culture.  My favorite 11 of recent times is the 11 that Nigel Tufnel's amp goes up to in 220px-Spinal_Tap_-_Up_to_Eleven"This is Spinal Tap," the wonderful 1984 movie.  There's also Apollo 11 (the first spacecraft to land men on the moon, in 1969), the 7-Eleven convenience stores, and so many more.  There's even a current horror movie called 11-11-11.  Elevens are all around us. 11-11-11

The trick, of course, as I put this blog article together was to come up with a clever way to tie all that stuff into Riverbed.  Normally we look for the Riverbed tie-in before we choose the topic.  Not Nigel Tufnel 11so much today. 

Very (VERY) late one night last week, one of my colleagues pointed out to me that the binary form of the ASCII space character is 01010101, and since one of the things that our Steelhead Appliances do so well is remove the empty spaces in your network traffic, you can think of that 01010101 as simply 1111 after it's been optimized down. That's it. That's all I've got today.  No videos, no nothing.  We'll get back to that stuff on Monday. Apollo11-2

Well, I didn't promise anything especially profound today.  It's really a totally made up event anyway, as the dates and numbers on the calendar are almost totally arbitrary. 

Hoping that you take a few minutes to enjoy Elevenses today…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

What is this Stingray Traffic Manager, anyway? (Part 2)

Posted by bobegilbert on November 10, 2011

In this, our second in a series of videos on the Riverbed Stingray Traffic Manager, Developer Alex Gosse talks about its ability to both balance traffic and monitor traffic loads per service or per user.


Posted in Application Acceleration, Load Balancing | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed at Akamai Government Forum; Steve Riley to Present on Hybrid Cloud

Posted by riverbedtest on November 9, 2011

With initiatives, mandates and reforms in place aimed at bringing efficiencies to government IT, it should be no surprise that over the last few months you’ve seen a lot of Riverbed at government IT conferences and events. After all, our IT performance solutions help government agencies meet initiatives, mandates and reforms – from enabling data center consolidation, to helping reduce costs for IT, and executing on the cloud first policy.

On November 16, Riverbed will be at the Akamai Government Forum, taking place at the Grand Hyatt Washington in Washington, D.C. The second annual Akamai Government Forum will focus on the latest solutions for scaling the Internet infrastructure for local, state and federal government agencies. Visit the Riverbed station to see demos and learn about our cloud performance solutions, including Steelhead WAN optimization, Stingray application delivery and Web content optimization, Cascade application-aware network performance management for traffic visibility, and Whitewater cloud storage gateways for data protection.

And, because you can’t get enough of him, Riverbed technical leader, cloud expert and aficionado Steve Riley will deliver the cloud track discussion on hybrid cloud from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. ET.

In his presentation, Steve will highlight how the performance problems associated with distance computing can be mitigated with optimization techniques designed for multiple layers: application, transport, network and storage.

Here is the teaser:

No longer just the fluff of airplane magazine articles, cloud computing is here to stay. The architectures envisioned for large public cloud providers are revolutionizing on-premises data centers, too. Hybrid clouds – clouds that utilize both public and private resources – allow agencies to spread workloads across multiple locations to satisfy distinct policy, regulatory, security and financial requirements. Hybrid clouds, like their individual counterparts, involve adding distance between users and their data. In most cases, the particular distance at any point in time is unpredictable, which will lead to inconsistent user experiences. Applications deployed in hybrid clouds often move large amounts of data across multiple internal and external providers; long waits for data transfer will affect productivity and availability.

Stop by; learn everything you need to know about optimization, acceleration and performance to meet the government IT mandates; and tell us what you thought of the conference.


Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Data Protection, Events, Hybrid Cloud, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Visibility, Web Content Optimization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What is this Stingray Traffic Manager, anyway?

Posted by riverbedtest on November 8, 2011

We've been talking a lot over the last couple of weeks about the Stingray Traffic Manager.  Starting today, we'll be irregularly running a series of brief videos (none longer than five minutes) that discuss what it is and what it can do for you.  Some of the videos are hosted by Owen Garrett, the Product Manager for the Stingray Traffic Manager (like this one), and the rest are hosted by Alex Gosse, one of the senior developers.  These videos have taught me quite a lot about it, and I believe they will help you to get a good understanding.

As always, comments are encouraged.

First up, an Introduction to the Stingray Traffic Manager:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Clouds and cables: a pair of useful websites

Posted by riverbedtest on November 7, 2011

Occasionally I encounter fascinating websites that collect lots of neat data and present it in useful ways. I'd like to share a couple of my favorites with you this morning. And yes, they both relate to the topic of computer networking!

CloudSleuth: analyze cloud performance, produced by CompuWare (and with whom we partner), provides a application that displays near real-time cloud performance metrics. The Global Provider View displays the results of measuring a sample application running on multiple public clouds. You can choose response time or availability metrics, a time window between six hours and 30 days, and four separate geographic areas (or the whole world). You can navigate through a map with clickable city nodes, a line chart that graphs the last six hours, or a table listing the raw data. You can narrow the view to specific providers and cities. Scroll the page down to read a thorough description of the measurement methodology, including the design of the sample application.

Greg's Cable Map: explore the undersea backbone

Cablemap2-smWhen I first discovered this site, a couple hours of my day flew by 🙂 Greg's Cable Map mashes data from Wikipedia, fishermen's charts, marketing materials, and other sources onto a Google map of the world to reveal the millions of kilometers of telecommunications cables that ring the planet. When you hover over a cable, a box at the bottom of the browser window displays the cable's name, number of landings, length, and bandwidth. When you click the cable, additional data appears to the right, including in-service date and landing locations. There are some truly curious entries: for example, a 5 Tbps cable between Svalbard and Norway! Why so much bandwidth in such a remote place? Polar orbiters have to dump their data somewhere.

Your favorites

Do you have some favorite data visualization websites? Feel free to share in the comments. We seven billion Earthlings are awash in data; visual displays can help us to interpret it better, reveal otherwise subtle yet important trends, and make the information more interesting

Posted in Fun | 2 Comments »

Riverbed Customer Video – Energy Future Holdings

Posted by bobegilbert on November 4, 2011

Michael Taccino, VP of IT & Infrastructure, Energy Future Holdings shares his experience with Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization and Cascade visibility products.


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

The importance of agility

Posted by riverbedtest on November 3, 2011

 An underappreciated aspect of the Steelhead product line is that it has a diverse set of form factors and – crucially – those different packages all use the same optimization architecture, and thus interoperate. What does that mean for a customer?  It gives tremendous flexibility to adapt to changes in how data and users are distributed, without needing to cause ripple effects elsewhere in the infrastructure.  Let’s consider a simple (and common) example first before we move on to looking at the larger implications. 

Organizations often have some branch offices that are very small.  For the very smallest offices and individual users, it’s usually not hard to decide that the right solution is to use Steelhead Mobile on a laptop or workstation.  And when you get to  10-12 people in an office, both the technology and the ROI arguments for a Steelhead appliance (physical or virtual) are pretty easy to make.  But there’s an area in the middle, around 5-6 users, where there’s enough overlap of capabilities that either approach could work.  Add to this that a given office may grow or shrink enough so that the original configuration in the office may need to be replaced with a different one.

 Using the Steelhead family, these choices and changes at the branch can be accommodated with no additional impact on the data center side.  For a given workload from a given set of users, it just doesn’t matter whether they’re coming from a Steelhead appliance or Steelhead Mobile. 

 Now, if you’re only familiar with Riverbed, at this point your reaction is probably something like “so what?  Big deal!”  But let’s look at just this one scenario with the #2 vendor: their mobile client doesn’t use the same technology as their appliance, so you have to have two separate data-center infrastructures to support the branches if you have a mixture of the technologies.  And as you migrate a given branch from appliance to mobile or vice-versa, you’re changing the load on the corresponding data-center pieces. 

 That divided-technology approach means that it’s easy with the #2 vendor to be in a situation where an apparently-straightforward change at a branch gets tripped up because it exceeds the capacity of some piece of data center infrastructure.  Another layer of complexity comes from the fact that these two different technologies have different network characteristics: their appliance uses an autodiscovery mechanism somewhat like the way that Steelheads work, while their mobile client needs an explicit connection set up to its data-center counterpart.  Their appliance marketing repeatedly insists on the necessity of transparency and the avoidance of tunnels, while the mobile client uses a tunnel-based system – so it’s possible that a particular branch network configuration that works with one of the technologies simply won’t work with the other.

 It’s tempting to say that the divided-technology problem of the #2 vendor is just a typical lapse by a very large company, and that smaller competitors would have a better approach. So we look at the #3 vendor in our space, which is a private company that prides itself on only doing WAN optimization.  But they don’t have any mobile client at all!  So their theory is that you should just pretend that you don’t need WAN optimization when you’re out on the road and dealing with networks in coffee shops and hotels – exactly the opposite of most real-world experience.  And apparently when your branch is too small to support an appliance or virtual appliance, you should just stop using WAN optimization.  (All of a sudden, the #2 vendor looks really good by comparison.)

Before we leave this topic, it’s worth noting that the preceding comparison actually understates the Riverbed advantage. A further advantage comes from the fact that Steelhead Mobile and a Steelhead appliance (physical or virtual) can cooperate via branch warming. In branch warming, Steelhead Mobile and a local Steelhead appliance work together: each time a piece of "optimization vocabulary" is used by the machine running Steelhead Mobile, the mobile client and the appliance coordinate so that both have a copy.  As the mobile client is used in the branch office, their vocabularies will tend to converge.

Without spending too much time on the details of how it works, let’s talk about where it’s useful:  Sometimes there are enough people in an office to justify an appliance, but the nature of the work means that some or all of them have a significant need for mobility – often because they are salespeople, hands-on repair technicians, or field supervisors.  They can use Steelhead Mobile when they are on the road, but they stop needing a mobile license when they’re in the office, and they take the benefits of their office work (newly learned optimizations) back on the road with them when they leave. 

 Now let’s talk about the bigger picture of why this matters.  After all, your organization may not have small branches or mobile users, so that set of examples might not impress you. But the same general principle of agility through a common architecture is more broadly useful, and almost certainly can make a difference to your organization now or in a future configuration.

 A way of getting a handle on this is to list out the different “packages” of Steelhead technology:

  • Physical appliance
  • Virtual appliance
  • Cluster of appliances (physical and/or virtual)
  • Software client
  • Cloud-integrated service
  • “Blade” for HP switch

 All of these interoperate with each other – so it’s easy to go “physical to virtual” or vice-versa without needing to disrupt the other side of the application.  Likewise it’s easy to have a set of services growing beyond the capacity of a single appliance, or migrating into (or out of) a cloud service, without prompting a redesign or redeployment of the client side.

 Again, a comparison with the #2 vendor is illuminating. A casual examination of their WAN optimization product line would suggest a similar kind of breadth and agility. They have a variety of packages of WAN optimization technology. But it turns out that the commonality is more marketecture than architecture.  That is, they use a common branding for what are actually 3 very-different classes of products: what we might call “main”, “mobile”, and “express.”  The “mobile” products can’t interoperate at all with “main” products or with “express” products.  The “main” products and “express” products can interoperate, but only at the lower level of function supported by the “express” products.  So actually trying to use the #2 vendor products for Riverbed-like agility can lead to all sorts of unpleasant surprises, as WAN optimization functionality either doesn’t work at all (mobile/main and mobile/express combinations) or works with sharply reduced functionality and performance (main/express combinations).

IT organizations need agility and flexibility to meet changing circumstances and demands.  The Riverbed single common architecture approach for WAN optimization helps ensure that Steelhead technology can help meet that need.

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

Video: Application Performance in the Cloud

Posted by bobegilbert on November 2, 2011

Bob Gilbert sits down with Zeus Kerravala from the Yankee Group to discuss application performance in the cloud.



Posted in Application Acceleration, Hybrid Cloud, Public Cloud, Storage Cloud | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »