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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…

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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:


 

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It’s been a very scary year!

Posted by riverbedtest on October 31, 2011

225px-Jack-o'-Lantern_2003-10-31It's Halloween today (at least in the US), and as I sit here in my house in northern New Jersey looking at the new-fallen snow, and all the downed tree limbs strewn about my neighborhood, I think to myself, "What the heck is going on here?"

Let's take a moment and review the last 4 months or so here in the suburbs of New York City:

  • Back in late June, we had a series of heavy rainstorms which resulted in some major flooding of 082311eastquake4.sJPG_900_540_0_95_1_50_50 homes, streets, and businesses.  For me this meant that a 1500 square foot piece of my land and four trees slid into the stream that runs past my house. 
  • On August 23, while we were all preparing for Hurricane Irene (which hit a few days later), we felt the effects of the earthquake that was centered in Virginia.  Mostly it just scared people and knocked things off shelves around here, but the effects were a little more serious in the Virginia and Washington DC area.
  • P1090230A few days later, hurricane Irene hit, and there was massive flooding.  We saw 7-8" of rain in about 24 hours, and the stream that runs past my house set a new record for how far out of its banks it came, and we wound up with minor flooding in my basement.  And places like Vermont had flooding on a scale that few could ever remember seeing before.
  • About 2 weeks after Irene, the remnants of tropical storm Lee hit us, and stalled over us unexpectedly, which resulted in another 6-7" of rain in a brief period and more serious basement flooding.
  • And then we had Saturday.  The worst snowfall ever to hit the northeast in October hit us.  New IMG_0344 York City only saw about 3", but some colder suburbs saw 12" to 20" or more.  We're used to snow around here (though usually it falls between December and March), but when it's a heavy wet snow, and there are still leaves on all the trees, that's a problem.  My neighborhood looked like a bomb went off, due to all the tree limbs and branches strewn all over the place.  Power continues to be out to large swaths of northern New Jersey, along with parts of Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania; more than 750,000 customers are reported to be without power.  In many towns, trick-or-treating has been cancelled or postponed.

You may well ask, what's all this got to do with Riverbed?  One of the things that our products do extremely well is protect your data from the effects of a disaster.  And any one of these events (not to mention the two feet of snow that fell back on December 26) could qualify as a business-damaging disaster.

Our Steelhead WAN Optimization products can make sure that your data is safely replicated off site to a place that might not be affected by the disaster.  Steelhead Mobile can help your users to get their work done in a timely and efficient manner even if they can't come into the office.  Our Whitewater Cloud Storage Gateway enables you to backup your critical data to a local hard drive which is then automatically replicated into the Storage Cloud, and Cascade will help you quickly identify the source of a network outage so that if it's a more local disaster you can fix it quickly and efficiently.

A disaster can be something you expect (Hurricane Irene), something that is always possible but very disruptive (a major snowstorm), or something totally unexpected (an earthquake).  And a responsible organization needs to be prepared for any and all of these things.  And, it's important to note, one disaster does not necessarily provide protection from the next one (or the next four).

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Stingray Traffic Manager Version 8.0 released

Posted by bobegilbert on October 26, 2011

Today's blog article was reposted from the Stingray Technical Blog, where you can find all of the old Zeus blog Stingrayposts, and which will continue to report on new updates to Riverbed's Stingray products.  Old Zeus Community content can be found at the Riverbed community site

Today's blog article was written by Mark Gyles.

Stingray Traffic Manager was released on October 24, 2011 via customers’ download pages and is available for evaluation.

Stingray Traffic Manager 8.0 is a major revision of the Stingray product family, containing a number of performance and functionality enhancements and bug fixes. 

Customers are recommended to upgrade to this version to take advantage of the changes. For more details of the changes, take a look at the Release Notes.

Major Features in 8.0

  • Branding Refresh

In July 2011, Zeus Technology was acquired by Riverbed Technology. This release features branding changes and a UI and documentation refresh that brings the product family into line with other Riverbed offerings.

Primary changes to note include:

  • Change of product name from Zeus Traffic Manager to Stingray Traffic Manager.  Similarly the Application Firewall Module is now the Stingray Application Firewall.
  • Administration server (Web User Interface) design refresh.
  • Updated EULA and copyright information.
  • Application Firewall Integration

Version 4.1 of the Stingray Application Firewall (formerly Zeus Application Firewall Module, or "AFM") is now available for use with the traffic manager software.   The Application Firewall is now built into the Traffic Manager distribution and, if licensed, can be installed and enabled without uploading a separate package.

IMPORTANT: Existing users of the Zeus Application Firewall Module will require an updated traffic manager license to use the Application Firewall with version 8.0 onwards.  Please contact your support provider to obtain a new license.  This must be done before upgrading, as the Stingray Application Firewall will not function without a new licence key. When upgrading from a previous version of the traffic manager with the Application Firewall installed it is recommended that the updated license be installed before the upgrade is attempted.

Access to the Application Firewall administration interface is no longer separate from the Traffic Manager administration interface. Traffic manager users can now access the Application Firewall administration interface by clicking on the "Application Firewall" link on the toolbar.
Customers who use a variety of groups for their ZTM and AFM admin users should read the section on User Management on p. 93 of the Stingray User Manual before upgrading, to understand how Single Sign On will affect them.

Other changes in 8.0

For the full list of changes in 8.0, please refer to the Release Notes.

Contacting support

Please continue to use the support@zeus.com address to contact support until 1st November 2011. Thereafter, please use support@riverbed.com.

Upgrading

Customers with valid maintenance and support contracts will be able to download this release from their customer page. See the relevant instructions for upgrading your Zeus software or appliance.

Documentation

The documentation for Stingray Traffic Manager 8.0 may be found here.

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Five reasons why Riverbed will retain product and market leadership well into the future

Posted by riverbedtest on October 21, 2011

Car_race-riverbed
A leading analyst firm recently reported Riverbed's market share in the AP Worldwide WAN optimization market has increased to about 52%.  This continues a longstanding trend where Riverbed has gained market share at the expense of competitors.  Today Riverbed's market and product leadership in WAN optimization is stronger than ever.  But despite their past failures in WAN optimization, some competitors such as Cisco are still claiming that they will catch up to Riverbed, even as they continue to lose market share. 

Here are the key reasons why I believe those competitors are wrong, and why Riverbed will continue to provide leadership in WAN optimization well into the forseeable future.

1)  Riverbed has more engineering resources dedicated to WAN optimization than any competitor.  Because Riverbed derives more revenue and profits from WAN optimization than any other vendor, we can afford to re-invest in the core business by retaining more WAN optimization-focused engineers than any competitor.  There is no need to subsidize development of WAN optimization products using revenues from unrelated product lines and businesses.  More engineering and development resources directly contributes to Riverbed's ability to maintain and extend product and technology leadership in WAN optimization.

2)  Riverbed has more technical support resources dedicated to WAN optimization than any competitor.  The professional expertise of Riverbed support personnel is a key reason why recent independent customer surveys performed on Riverbed customers by JD Power and Direct Opinions reported overwhelming satisfaction with Riverbed technical support services.  In addition to these independent surveys, Riverbed's own customer surveys show feedback ratings of 4.64 out of 5 (with 5 being the highest) for the most recent quarter.  Riverbed has also won a number of awards for outstanding customer support, including the 2011 "Support Center Excellence Award," and the 2010 "Best Emerging Company Support" and "Best Service Optimization Delivery" Award by the TSIA and ILS.

3)  Riverbed Steelhead is best-of-breed for any and all WAN optimization requirements.  Some competitors claim their WAN optimization products are best suited for high-speed data center replication requirements.  Others claim that they are better at optimizing virtual desktop (VDI) traffic.  Still others may claim they are appropriate optimizing traffic to branch offices, although they have discontinued their data center replication capabilities and have to OEM a software client from another vendor.  Some vendors believe their virtualized WAN optimization products somehow give them an edge.  In contrast, Riverbed offers best-in-class WAN optimization capabilities for any and all WAN optimization-related customer requirements.  This includes appliance-based Steelhead products for branch office, data center replication, and VDI requirements, or Steelhead Mobile software client for mobile users, or a virtual or cloud-based Steelhead for cloud computing environments.  With Riverbed there is no need to go to a different vendor and use a different product for your various WAN optimization needs.

4)  Riverbed has added tight integration with complementary products. There is strong integration between the Steelhead solution and other Riverbed offerings including Cascade and Shark.  Today, Steelhead appliances can feed data to Cascade in order to provide unprecedented visibility in to the network.  Shark capabilities have also been integrated to Steelhead and Cascade to allow detailed packet capture and analysis anywhere Steelhead products are deployed. Integration will only increase in the future for these and other Riverbed products.

5)  Riverbed is best positioned deliver WAN optimization for Cloud-hosted applications.  Steelhead Cloud-based WAN optimization capabilities make Riverbed relevant for all enterprises, including small businesses who may not have private WANs today but are contemplating use of Cloud-hosted applications in the future.  Riverbed has partnerships with key Cloud vendors such as Akamai, Amazon, VMware, Microsoft, and others.  More importantly, only Riverbed products have the scalability, technology, and sophistication necessary to fully integrate into the infrastructure of Cloud application providers.  But of course, Steelhead virtual instances deployed within the infrastructure of leading Cloud providers will not interoperate with WAN optimization products from other vendors.  This means that enterprises–including those who don't currently use WAN optimization, as well as those who use products from a different vendor–will need to consider using Riverbed if they wish to obtain fast optimized performance for their Cloud-hosted applications.

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On the Big Screen!

Posted by bobegilbert on October 20, 2011

We are at EMC Forum today in Foxboro Mass, and thought this photo of the big scoreboard screen was worth sharing.

image from http://blogs.riverbed.com/.a/6a00e5508a3ca788340162fbcb441a970d-pi

Sent from my iPhone

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Is Your Network an Anarchy?

Posted by riverbedtest on October 20, 2011

Unless you're an anarchist you will probably agree that organized government is required to keep a society running smoothly. The same is true for your network.

Think of your WAN as your own little country. Do you know what is going on in your country? Are people abiding by the laws and behaving like civilized members of society or is it a chapter out of Lord of the Flies? Are your bridges, highways and traffic-lights all operating efficiently and smoothly or is it more like a Los Angeles freeway during rush hour-traffic?  

CascadeBehAnalyticsWouldn't it be great if you had some way of knowing every little thing that was happening in your country? What if you could be warned about potential problems in your country before they turned into catastrophes? After all, you want to be the first to know if something is working properly. You can't have your constituents calling to inform you of things going wrong, that's just embarrassing. They will think you don't know what you're doing, that you don't have things under control. If only there were some kind of government for your network.

DrillDownCascade

There is, and it's called Cascade. Think of Cascade as a governing body for your network. Never again will you learn about a problem from an end-user. Cascade will actually learn your network's normal behavior and alert you when something is off. With easy to read dashboards you can drill down to the source of a problem with just a few mouse clicks. You can easily determine if a problem is an application issue or a network issue. Network monitoring and conflict resolution all in one. What more can you ask for?

Watch a Cascade Demo Video or visit Cascade on the Riverbed website to learn more.

 

 

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Riverbed in the Land Down Under

Posted by riverbedtest on October 17, 2011

Today we have two customers from Australia talking about how valuable Riverbed has been to their organizations.  Coincidentally, both are not-for-profit groups who do some remarkable work helping out the mentally ill and the aged.

 

First up is a short video from Lance Knight, the Senior Systems Officer for Sundale, an Australian-based not-for-profit organization primarily focused on providing care for the aged.  They support 28 lines of business and about 225 business applications.  Before they brought in Riverbed Steelhead Appliances and Cascade, network performance was very slow and prone to disconnections and other service interruptions.

They call their network situation a “tsunami through a straw,” a very apt name as they try to push 12 terabytes of data a week through a 100 mbps link.

Check out how they have brought the tsunami under control, solved their networking problems, and made it feasible to do all the things that they want to across their network…


 

Next up is an audio clip from Mind Australia, a not-for-profit organization that helps over 4500 people per year in South Australia and Victoria who have mental illness.  Their workforce consisting of about 600, helps them find clinical services, employment, and residential facilities.  They have about 50 offices, each with a very thin and poorly performing data connection.

They are migrating from a pencil-and-paper-based system to a electronic client management system that runs in a desktop application.  Since they cannot afford to pay for more bandwidth, especially in some of the remote areas in which they operate, they needed a WAN Optimization solution to make this migration feasible.  They needed to improve application response time and file server performance across their WAN.

Hear about their evaluation and their results…

Riverbed_Mind_Australia_Combined_FINAL

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Riverbed named one of the Top Healthiest Employers for 2011

Posted by bobegilbert on October 14, 2011

 

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The Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times have named Riverbed Technology one of the top healthiest employers in the SF Bay Area for 2011.  The inaugural Healthiest Employers award ranked Riverbed #11 in the 500-1,999 employee category due to our focus on providing employees with comprehensive low contribution-rate health plans, a wellness program and the availability of healthy snack options in all company offices. This award is recognition of the company’s commitment to providing our employees with a positive and healthy work environment.

 

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Using Cloud Storage Just Got Easier

Posted by riverbedtest on October 13, 2011

One thing about Riverbed customers, they really help us by indicating how we should expand our products.  This applies particularly to Whitewater cloud storage gateways.  From customers that were using backup tools or targeting public clouds that we had not yet certified, we heard requests to expand our ecosystem.  Well, we did something Riverbed is known for.  We listened. 

Tuesday, Riverbed announced the next version of our Whitewater cloud storage gateway.  With version 1.3, in addition to adding new manageablity features, we have expanded the Whitewater ecosystem both on the front and back ends.  Whitewater is now an option for all users of current versions of CommVault Simpana, HP Data Protector, and Veeam, and also can take database dumps from Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle Recovery Manager (RMAN).  Together with the tools we already supported, Whitewater can now be used with every backup tool that has more than 3% market share.  So chances are, it will drop right into your environment.

We have also expanded the cloud APIs that we support.  In addition to Amazon S3, AT&T Synaptic/EMC Atmos, and Nirvanix, Whitewater now interfaces with Rackspace Cloud Files, Windows Azure storage, and clouds based on OpenStack/Swift object storage.

Whitewater customers have been very impressed by the Whitewater gateway's drop-in installation (Box to Backup ~1hr), the levels of deduplication they see, the costs they avoid, and the labor that is freed up.  With the announcement of version 1.3, we can now bring these same benefits to a broader audience.  If you haven't yet taken a look at some of our customer testimonials or case studies, pop over to www.riverbed.com/whitewater and let us know what you think. 

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