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Archive for the ‘Technical’ Category

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

Title

Date

Time

Presenter

Location

Riverbed Technologies – Breaking the WAN performance barrier 

Tuesday, Nov 29th 2011

8:10pm

Avinash Shetty

Theater

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

Wednesday, Nov 30th 2011

10:15am

Ross Tanner

TBA

Riverbed Technologies – Breaking the WAN performance barrier

Wednesday, Nov 30th 2011

8:10pm

Avinash Shetty

Theater

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 »

The WAN of Your Dreams

Posted by riverbedtest on September 6, 2011

PerfectWAN Look, I know it isn't easy. Nobody likes to put themselves out there, face the fear of the unknown. Why rock the boat, right? You're probably thinking to yourself, "I'm happy with my WAN. It's a decent, hard-working WAN. Sure, there are problems, but no WAN is perfect." Now tell me something, don't you think you deserve better? Don't you deserve a WAN that makes you truly happy?

Imagine a WAN that goes above and beyond for you. A WAN that doesn't make you wait an interminable 30 seconds every time you transfer a file. A WAN that doesn't hinder your consolidation efforts with it's insufferable latency. A WAN that gives you superior application performance without dictating where your servers are?  This isn't too much to ask. 

The Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS)

The Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) is the only solution within the WAN optimization industry to  utilize four different technologies to create your perfect WAN. RiOS software powers Steelhead products through a combination of patent-pending data reduction, TCP optimization, and application-level protocol optimizations. Together, these technologies provide a comprehensive solution for true WAN compatibility. (Streamlining descriptions excerpted from the Riverbed Steelhead Product Family data sheet).

RiverbedOptimization

1. Data Streamlining

Data streamlining – RiOS data streamlining works across all TCP applications to reduce bandwidth   utilization, typically by 60% to 95%. Data streamlining works across file sharing, email, CAD, ERP, web-based HTTP and HTTPS applications, databases, virtual desktops, and all other applications that use TCP.

  DataStreamlining

2. Transport Streamlining

Transport streamlining – RiOS transport streamlining reduces the number of TCP packets required to transfer data by 65% to 98%. Transport streamlining also enables the acceleration of SSL-encrypted traffic throughout the enterprise to eliminate the security and performance trade-off.

TransportStreamlining

3. Application Streamlining

Application streamlining – RiOS application streamlining offers the broadest support of application-specific modules for key enterprise applications to provide additional application performance improvements on top of the data streamlining and transport streamlining optimizations performed on all TCP traffic.

ApplicationStreamlining

4. Management Streamlining

Management streamlining – RiOS enables easy deployment through auto-discovery of peers and auto-interception of traffic, with no reconfiguration of clients, servers, or routers. Simple integration into the network has led to Riverbed deployments in a vast array of network environments and topologies including, but not limited to, MPLS, VoIP, video conferencing, QoS, VPN, satellite infrastructure, ATM, frame relay, microwave, and wireless. 

Riverbed is committed to helping you find the WAN of your dreams, and with over 10,000 customers, we are confident that we can.  So begin your Riverbed experience register today for a free trial. After all, over 80 of the Fortune 100 can't be wrong. Hurry, your perfect WAN is waiting!

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Site Consolidation, Technical | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Kicking the Tires in a Lab

Posted by riverbedtest on August 19, 2011

As engineers we enjoy getting under the hood of a new solution and getting our hands dirty. In some cases, you might even get paid to conduct studies or tests. While there is no more interesting scenario to analyze a solution than in production, some times we have to study solutions in a lab.

Davinci_iphone When a potential client mentions a robust lab study to base purchasing decisions or recommendations on I tend to get a little worried. Primarily, because testing WAN optimization in a lab doesn’t typically expose the complexities of production environments.  Furthermore, testing WAN optimization isn’t as straight-forward or as well understood as other standardized technologies. For starters, many of the popular automated test tools don’t support the application layer (OSI Layer 5-7) fluency needed to properly evaluate application acceleration for protocols like MAPI, CIFS, NFS, etc. Next, the boilerplate content in these tools doesn’t represent production datasets at the byte level so the ‘out-of-the-box’ deduplication test results aren’t representative. Many times the test tools are measuring per-packet or inter-packet metrics, while WAN optimizers are focused on per-transaction optimization by proxying TCP connections…which means we have three different sets of packets per transaction (client-side, inner channel & server-side).  So the test tool ‘timing’ reports aren’t always applicable or representative of the actual user experience.  Not to mention the application security infrastructure and requirements in a lab may not mirror the production environment (I.E. encrypted Outlook/Exchange, CIFS SMB Signing, Kerberos/NTLMv2 authentication, SSL requires smart-cards, etc).  These are just a few of the many hurdles you need to be aware of in test environments.

So now that we’ve discussed the challenges, let’s look at how you can structure a reasonable test lab for WAN Optimization…although in my opinion there is no substitute for production testing.  First, we need to emulate the production network performance characteristics in a dependable WAN Emulator, such as Apposite’s Linktropy. Next, we need to thoroughly understand the production applications on the real network so we know what to test and how to properly configure the test resources. If possible, setup a test client lab that connects to production servers so you don’t have to worry about building or configuring test servers. Don’t forget to check the applications’ security architecture such as settings for authentication, encryption and domain integration…many times these settings either make or break WAN optimization project success in production. Next, understanding the most common transactions for these applications will help us define individual test cases. Getting adequate sample content and data for these test transactions will provide the basis for measuring the effectiveness of deduplication.  The more samples/content the more representative your results will be. To test deduplication you’ll want to setup initial and subsequent test runs with the same or similar datasets. Typically, these are called cold, warm and partially warm tests.  For testing common applications like CIFS and HTTP you can use Riverbed’s Riverbench software to record time and throughput metrics, just ask your Riverbed Sales Engineer for a copy. A great place to find free performance test tools is Open Source Testing. If needed, setup test cases for the other features of the WAN optimization solution you’re considering.  Commonly these are Quality of Service, visibility, virtualization, etc. 

Prior to starting any testing thoroughly baseline the environment so you can work out any wrinkles…there is nothing more frustrating than starting formal testing only to find misconfigured speed/duplex settings or interface queues that are too short.

For post-test analysis you should use packet capture tools such as Pilot, Shark, and Wireshark to capture packets on the client-side, WAN and server-side of the WAN optimizers during each test. This will allow you to very quickly dive into the intricate details, and have hard data to backup the test results should they come into question.

In 2007 Network World setup their first WAN optimization test lab. There were gracious enough to put together a podcast on how they did it and the lessons learned along the way. I highly suggest you take the time to learn from it prior to setting up your own test lab for WAN optimization. 

When in doubt consult your Riverbed Sales Engineer.  They have extensive experience in testing WAN optimization and can be quite helpful.

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best – “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

 

Posted in Bandwidth Optimization, Technical | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »