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Archive for the ‘Mobile’ Category

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.

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

Riverbed 101 – An introduction video to Riverbed’s products

Posted by bobegilbert on October 19, 2011

Bob Gilbert gives a high level overview of Riverbed's products.

 

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Data Protection, Disaster Recovery, Hybrid Cloud, Mobile, Packet Capture, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Site Consolidation, Visibility, Web Content Optimization | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed Technical Leader Steve Riley Q&A on Desktop Virtualization

Posted by riverbedtest on October 18, 2011

For this week's Federal IT Q&A with Steve Riley, we examine the considerations for agencies looking to deploy desktop virtualization, the associated considerations, the drivers, user behaviors, applications, as well as how Riverbed solutions play a critical role in ensuring the best possible user experience. 

To kick things off, Steve breaks it down about what are some of the drivers for VDI. Simply put, the consumerization of IT is high on the list. An agency can allow agents to bring in their own gear, or purchase — with a budget — gear, and then provide and manage a virtual desktop with applications securely. From an IT and budgetary perspective, desktop virtualization allows agencies to not have to purchase devices, manage and refresh them.

Virtual desktop is also truly enabling the dual use personal-professional device. And, as you may expect, iPads and Android-based tablets are the devices of choice. But, the beauty of VDI is it is device independent.

So, what is the Riverbed play? How is Riverbed accelerating virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)? Earlier this year, we announced continued and enhanced support for Citrix XenDesktop. At around the same time, we announced an optimization solution for Microsoft RemoteFX. And, at VMworld in the summer, we announced an upcoming partnership with Teradici, the innovator of the PC-over-IP protocol. Clearly a lot of developments around VDI with more to come.  

If you have been keeping count, then you'll know that we're approaching the end of the Federal IT Q&A series with Riverbed technical leader Steve Riley. Next week, tune in for a recap and finale discussion on how everything we discussed (data center consolidation, cloud computing, data protection, mobility and teleworking, and desktop virtualization) is tied together. 

But for now, watch the below video Q&A with Steve.

 

 

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

Enhancing your applications for mobile device access

Posted by riverbedtest on October 3, 2011

I recently came across a fantastic infographic courtesy of Microsoft Tag that highlights some very interesting statistics on how people are using mobile devices in 2011 and the possible impacts on mobile marketing.

2011-mobile-statistics The element of the infographic that really grabbed my attention was ‘how fast is mobile internet growing?’ According to the graph mobile internet usage is projected to overtake desktop internet usage by 2015.

So, why should we care about this projected growth?

As an increasing number of organizations look to offer their services online the requirement to have an online presence that performs and meets the expectations of customers no matter what type of device (and not just the trusty old desktop) they are using, is now even more important than ever.

If more of us are going to use mobile devices in the future as the preferred way to access the applications that support these online services, this will have implications on the way those applications are developed and designed to provide the best possible level of performance. According to a recent article in ClickZ, research shows a simple 1 second delay could result in 7 percent fewer conversions, 11 percent fewer page views, and even a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction – not something your organization is going to want to experience.

So, wouldn’t it be helpful to understand which mobile devices visitors are using to access your applications and online services and in-turn help understand how to tailor applications for the best possible level of performance? However, as we all know, the number of devices with different capabilities and the frequency with which they come onto the market is quite amazing. For example, a recent article published on the Rimm-Kaufman Group blog shows that in its last quarter Apple sold 9.25 million ipads which is an increase year on year of 183%.

So, how can an organization keep pace with this change?

Well, thanks to Luca Passani at WURFL (Wireless Universal Resource File) and his contributors, including individuals from a number of the carriers, there is a way! WURFL is a global database of all devices and their capabilities. This file can be accessed by developers so that they can build applications and services that perform better for their users when using certain mobile devices including those from Apple.

For those of you who are already using Zeus’ software-ADC solution for intelligently managing their web-based application traffic, Luca and his contributors offer a Java API. This means that those responsible for writing and developing applications can now build this type of mobile device application enhancement on their application delivery solution.

The data provided by WURFL and the use of a software-ADC like Zeus can help organizations overcome a number of issues. Let's finish with one issue in particular. How can an organization ensure that the performance experienced by those using mobile devices is not compromised due to the resolution of the content being delivered back to them? Well, by identifying which mobile devices visitors are using, the organization can then make an informed decision on the resolution of the content that is delivered back. This will help ensure that the content being requested is delivered back as quickly as possible, resulting in improved page load times.

If the projected increase in mobile internet usage becomes reality, how confident is your organization that the performance experienced by those using mobile devices to access your online services is not compromised?

Image source: Microsoft Tag

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

Riverbed’s Optimization Solutions for the Cloud

Posted by riverbedtest on August 11, 2011

Recently I saw a blog post on ReadWriteWeb / Cloud by David Strom where he described the roles that WAN Optimization can play in helping accelerate Cloud-based IT services.

This has long been an area of attention at Riverbed; for years now we have been helping Enterprises address and solve the challenges they've faced with business applications performing poorly across their private WANs. Riverbed's award-winning Steelhead family of WAN Optimization appliances have held a leading position in the global market for the last several years, according to several leading industry analyst firms.

Now, in the era of Cloud-based IT services, the performance problems created by the increased distance between users and their data, combined with the lack of QoS and un-guaranteed internet performance are significantly worse than those faced within a structured and well-known corporate IT environment. Thus the need for performance optimization in these cloud environments is even greater than in traditional, private corporate IT.

These requirements have prompted Riverbed to develop and offer a whole range of products and technologies, to address the vast majority of Cloud-based IT applications and environments. In his recent blog post,  David mentioned only one Riverbed product in this context, the Steelhead Appliance.   SH

In addition to this though Riverbed also has the following products available to address the Acceleration & Optimization needs of virtual and cloud environments :

  1. Virtual Steelhead – as the name suggests, a virtual version of the Steelhead product that can be run on VMWare ESX/ESXi platforms
  2. Cloud Steelhead – Steelhead WAN Optimization + simple portal-based management, On-demand instantiation, easy cloning, fliexible sizing and pricing
  3. Riverbed Whitewater – a single-ended Cloud Storage Gateway that delivers speed, security, cost-efficiency and ease of use for Cloud-based storage services Ww and of course
  4. Steelhead Mobile – PC and MAC client acceleration software, so you can enjoy accelerated cloud IT services from anywhere, over any connectivity medium.

Additionally with the recent acquisition of both Zeus and Aptimize, Riverbed now also has two new Single-Ended technologies – Application Delivery Controller and Web Content Optimization – to help accelerate  both public and private cloud-based web content and applications.

So in summary, Riverbed really should be your first port of call for any cloud IT service acceleration & optimization requirements.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Hybrid Cloud, Mobile, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Storage Cloud, Virtualization, Web Content Optimization | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Distributed recentralization: Networks to eleven!

Posted by riverbedtest on April 8, 2011

Sun-needle It's a sunny Friday morning here in Seattle. (No, really.) On these rare times when prodigious quantities of warmth and light stream through the large south and east windows of my house, it's easy to let the daily fray subside for a bit and reflect on larger trends. Lately, I've noticed some interesting connections between cloud computing and user-centric IT.

A colleague recently spotted a couple articles that piqued my curiosity. In The virtual desktop: Everything old is new again, CRN's Edward Corriea describes how virtualization's initial appearance on mainframes faded away like an old pair of jeans, only to come back in fashion later: first on commodity x86 hardware and then as one of the core components of cloud computing. Next up is desktop virtualization, or VDI. Edward cites VDI's intense I/O requirements as one of the main shortfalls of large-scale VDI deployments. So many virtual clients, each performing profligate I/O itself, create a "VM I/O blender" on the physical hardware: constant random I/O kills disk performance.

Pc-toss In InformationWeek's 2011 End-user Device Survey, Jonathan Feldman chronicles the ongoing consumerization of corporate IT. Provocatively, he wonders whether it makes sense to hang on to the traditional corporate desktop. Android tablets and VDI are both making gains, he writes; yet fat desktops trapped in three-year replacement cycles and tied to expensive PC leases remain prevalent. Not everything is so gloomy, though. SaaS subscriptions are way up and for some organizations speed now trumps features: he's seeing tradeoff of screen size for portability. Jonathan's data show that organizations are now readying for true VDI, too. He goes on to describe how to free up IT funds to support comprehensive mobile device management, including the burgeoning BYOD ("bring your own device") movement. Jonathan concludes with sage advice: "The end user device paradigm shift offers significant opportunities for business technology innovation, but you'll miss out if you're purely focusing on span of control and defensive IT."

Reading these articles reminded me about a presentation on virtualization security I delivered at Microsoft TechEd a few years ago. I began that talk, as I frequently do, with a short retrospective. The "operating system" running on that hulking PC you bought in the late 1980s didn't have a whole lot to worry about: how much damage can one user running one application really cause? Eventually the operating system had to mature: first to enforce application boundaries so that multitasking would work, then to enforce user boundaries so that multiple people could share a computer. When hardware became powerful enough, software technology shifted: a hypervisor along with a finely-tuned host OS enforced guest OS boundaries so that multiple environments could share a server. A simple visual progression of these trust boundaries might look like this:

OSVM-progression

At this point, you might be wondering: "What's this got to do with user-centric IT and, wait, doesn't Riverbed sell network stuff?" Let me link these seemingly disparate elements together.

Unicorn Virtualization is, of course, one of the fundamental technologies that underlie cloud — providers can crank resource utilization to 11.  But a funny thing happened along the way to the user-centric IT concert: while the cloud offers seemingly infinite compute and storage, people learned the bandwidth to get there isn't all unicorns and rainbows. That phone or tablet of yours is a full-fledged computer, roomy and always connected. It's likely to be your primary means of accessing (and secondary means of storing) work-related stuff. The trends Edward and Jon highlight — more VDI, more BYOD, more SaaS, more mobility — all require network capacities that are expensive to build out and bump into inconvenient laws of physics.

We're entering an era I call distributed recentralization. As I ponder the simultaneous emergence of cloud computing and the move toward IT consumerization, it occurs to me that each one contributes to the sudden and continual growth of the other. We humans are creating and consuming massive amounts of data every day, a lot of it with consumer-type devices. Much of that information gets sent to and redistributed from the cloud. All this activity puts enormous pressures on network links — pressures that often can't be overcome just by buying a bigger pipe.

To-eleven We're passionate about WANs at Riverbed. WANs allow people to create, access, store, and compute information wherever it's convenient to do so — frequently at distance. Our expanding product line enables you to be as creative as you can be without worrying about network or storage constraints. Cloud and consumerization certainly don't imply that IT will become a commodity; indeed, the information an organization possess, and how it manipulates and shares that information, truly are competitive differentiators. Let us help you crank your differentiation to 11.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Mobile, Storage Cloud, Virtualization | 3 Comments »

Kindles, iPads, and future mobile digital content

Posted by riverbedtest on February 1, 2011

I am often asked about long-term IT trends affecting Riverbed. Two of the key trends that we track and respond to are the movement toward mobile devices and the movement toward cloud computing.  I often make the point to people that these are related issues, and that it’s unwise to think about them separately: effectively, today’s enterprise clients are lightening up and becoming mobile, while today’s enterprise servers are virtualizing and moving from corporate data centers to cloud provider data centers. 

These trends have prompted us to develop Steelhead variants that can be deployed in more places (like Steelhead Mobile for Mac, Virtual Steelhead, and Cloud Steelhead) while still supporting fully flexible interoperation for optimization.  The net effect for the customer is increased flexibility and agility.  And we fully expect that we will continue to explore new ways to support performance in the evolving IT universe.

But now I’m going to disregard my own advice about considering both the mobile devices and the cloud, and instead share some thoughts about mobile devices and mobile content without making much reference to the servers or services supporting them.  In particular, is it better to have a Kindle or an iPad? 

Having had both for a few weeks, I now think the premise of the question is wrong.  Similarly, when I read commentary from old-school book-lovers about the dangers of e-books, I find myself thinking “no, you just don’t understand.”

A former marketing VP explained the situation nicely when he told me that the press loves conflict. (In fairness to the media, this is mostly a reflection of the fact their readership loves conflict).  It’s an easily grasped story to talk about a battle, who’s ahead, who will win.  So even situations that don’t really have a duel-to-the-death quality get cast into that framework.

The reality, at least as I experience it, is quite different.  First off, Kindles and iPads are in no way substitutable for each other. Yes, you can run reading apps on the iPad.  And yes, there is a half-hearted browser lurking in the “experimental” section of the Kindle.  And, importantly, both are primarily devices for consumption rather than production of content. There’s also the relatively uninteresting point that they are both tablet formats. But that pretty much exhausts the similarities. 

A Kindle is a very interesting take on what published text can be in a digital networked age.  It’s either weak or totally useless for anything that isn’t published text. Meanwhile, the iPad is a very interesting take on how to rethink the full multimedia experience (well… the full multimedia experience except Flash, I guess). It’s OK for text as well, but it’s not a very well-engineered solution if published text is your primary interest.  The Kindle is so much lighter, cheaper, and better designed for page-turning that the iPad looks clunky.  The interesting exceptions are where magazines are being published specifically for the iPad, which is a better match for a certain style of “eye candy” magazines.

So I think the defenders of “old-style” books against e-books and reading devices have their battle lines drawn incorrectly.  When I started writing this item, I was thinking of Jason Epstein’s various pieces in the New York Review of Books, where he has made a number of acute comments about digitization while rarely hiding his sympathies for the codex — stacked pages between covers — format.  But re-reading his articles from July 2001, March 2010, and February 2011, I realize that he’s actually much more sophisticated in his analysis than I remembered.  Nevertheless, I do run into people whose basic reaction to digital books is to think that they’re awful.

The Kindle seems like an ally to books – it lets you take books to places you couldn’t have taken them before.  Over Christmas I took a vacation with my family travelling around Vietnam, and during breaks I could read Harold McGee’s magisterial On Food and Cooking.  There is no way I could have taken the 896-page hardcover book with me, nor would I have been able to read it at the breakfast table.  But it was amazing to have not only that book but about a dozen others, as well as subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and Financial Times, in a tiny package that hardly required any power.  It’s become trivial for me to slip it into my coat pocket or my briefcase, almost no matter where I’m going.  Whenever I travel there’s a high degree of uncertainty about when I will have “dead time” and how long it will be – the Kindle makes it much easier (and easier on my back) to be prepared for long stretches that nevertheless might not be workable for laptop-based activities.

Now, as much as I like the Kindle there are still some notable drawbacks.  The conversion process from book to e-book is not always smooth, and so McGee’s book (for example) has some broken table layouts as well as mostly-useless cross references given in terms of the hardcover page numbers.  The 3G delivery of newspapers is brilliant but Amazon wants to charge me $5 per week to support it outside the US and (adding insult to injury) won’t deliver any graphics even if I’m paying that fee.  It’s cool that I could fall back on using my laptop’s better browser and WiFi to grab an issue of the WSJ and then transfer it to the Kindle via USB – but it wasn’t cool that I had to open up the Kindle’s directory structure and figure out that the file belonged in the “Documents” directory.  (That was another one of those things that was pretty obvious to me but wouldn’t have been at all obvious to the non-computer-focused people in my life).

Returning to fear of e-books, I think it’s more reasonable for a book-lover to be concerned about iPads, because there we have both the current demonstration of new interface models and the tantalizing hints of future hybrid content – the iPad makes it easy to envision a future further convergence of elements of the Web, movies, gaming, and music.  It seems likely that iPad content will be a lot more exciting overall than Kindle content.  But excitement isn’t everything. 

An element of what scholars don’t like about e-books is the threat to their habits and methods.  But from my perspective that battle was lost a long time ago.  I already have the odd experience that when I cite something that’s not available on the web, people tend to be skeptical.  Just 15 years ago it was flaky to use a URL as a citation instead of a published journal or book, now it’s the other way around – because (implicitly) who finds information by a technique other than the Web these days?  And if I can’t immediately follow your link to check it out for myself, who’s to say you didn’t just make it up?  It was very strange when there was a nice article about Riverbed printed only in my local (Boston) version of the Wall Street Journal – not available online, and not printed in the San Francisco edition where the HQ folks would see it.  I wound up clipping and scanning it to share with others.

Everyone seems to understand that an iPad is a rotten substitute for an iPod – why would you want a honkin’ big device if all you cared about was music, and you could get a tiny cheap easier-to-use device instead of the bigger expensive multi-purpose thing?  But for some reason people seem to have more trouble with applying the same reasoning to published text, and thus some of the iPad vs. Kindle nonsense.

 I have been intrigued that the place I really have found an iPad to be valuable is in managing my personal (non-work) email and other tasks, such as visiting social networking sites. I can’t really justify this assessment, it’s more of an observation at this stage.  I suspect that some kind of future MacBook will do better at combining the laptop productivity that I need at work with the touchscreen gestures that I find congenial for non-work… and perhaps one of the Windows tablets could do that for me today.  But I definitely find that I’m doing a better job of keeping up with my personal email since I started handling it mostly via iPad.  

 Of course, it’s possible that the “iPad vs. Kindle” pseudo-contest is really just a reflection of the Apple cult at work… perhaps the real problem with the Kindle for some analysts is that it doesn’t come from Apple. Perhaps we can look forward to a Kindle-like device from Apple (the iRead?  iText? iBook?) before too long.

Posted in Mobile | 4 Comments »

Virtual Desktops Anywhere with Steelhead Mobile 3.1

Posted by bobegilbert on August 30, 2010

Riverbed announced today Steelhead Mobile 3.1, which introduces enhancements for Citrix, Apple Mac Systems, and key enterprise applications.

Steelhead Mobile 3.1 enables even faster performance for mobile workers accessing critical business applications such as Citrix XenApp and Exchange 2010. 

Steelhead Mobile 3.1 also extends platform support to Mac environments.  Mac users now get accelerated performance for native Mac applications as well as Microsoft applications that are being virtualized on a Mac using VMware Fusion.

Here is a demo of the new Steelhead Mobile 3.1 offering

Posted in Application Acceleration, Mobile | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Steelhead mobile accelerates mobile warriors

Posted by bobegilbert on April 28, 2010

Naveen Prabhu demonstrates Steelhead Mobile, which is Riverbed's solution for accelerating mobile worker environments.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Mobile | 1 Comment »