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Archive for the ‘Visibility’ Category

Upgrading Performance From Good to Great

Posted by riverbedtest on June 24, 2011

As a sales engineer, clients commonly ask me ‘what else could we do to improve application performance over the WAN?’ I normally respond with something like, “Keeping the network available and using WAN acceleration to make applications faster provides good performance. However, integrated application-layer Quality of Service (QoS) and robust performance visibility provides GREAT performance.”  QoS enables predictable performance over the WAN. Robust performance visibility provides the ability to efficiently solve problems.  If you want a worry-free WAN, in which business applications run well even under the heaviest utilization loads, then today’s blog post is for you.

Earlier this year, RiOS 6.5 was released with a major QoS overhaul.  This included application-layer classification via AppFlow; basic/advanced modes with robust traffic shaping improvements; and workflow improvements to save tons of time. If you want to ensure your precious WAN resources are mapped to strategic priorities, then RiOS 6.5 is your new best friend. With it customers can easily control tricky recreational applications, enterprise port hopping applications like Microsoft Exchange/Outlook’s RPC, and UDP-based Voice/Video.  This is a huge benefit for triple-play networks where balancing the simultaneous demand of voice, video, and data can be daunting. While QoS isn’t sexy, it enables customers to ensure performance when the WAN is most heavily utilized…instead of getting a call complaining about application problems just as they’re sitting down for dinner with the family. 

Blog_osi_modelWhile customers could use router-based QoS, they’ll find deploying WAN Acceleration and QoS in two different devices is less than ideal. Application-layer classification is critical in today’s networks where many applications tunnel over HTTP or port hop (Outlook/Exchange, VoIP, etc). Applying application layer QoS is the biggest challenge for enterprises since the WAN Accelerator obscures OSI Layers 5 – 7 (the application signatures) from the router. If you want application layer classification then moving QoS to the Steelhead is the best option. The Steelhead can see all the application signatures prior to optimization and apply the most appropriate QoS level. If the WAN supports Classes of Service then the Steelhead can also intelligently mark DiffServ bits, so an application’s packets are treated accordingly across the whole network. This enables an application-aware end-to-end QoS  architecture. To learn how to configure the new QoS features in RiOS 6.5 refer to Chapter 3 of the RiOS 6.5 Riverbed Deployment Guide and Chapter 7 of the Steelhead Management Console User Guide.

Blog_dashboardWith the acquisitions of Mazu and CACE Technologies Riverbed gained several unique visibility solutions…Cascade Profiler, Pilot, and Shark. The rapid integration of these solutions with Steelheads has delivered a formidable and cost-effective performance analysis toolset that tightly integrates with WAN optimization as a whole. Steelheads have long supported NetFlow export and tcpdump for packet captures. With Steelhead’s adoption of cascade-flow export, organizations can migrate from a basic utilization-focused view with Netflow to cascade-flow’s performance-centric view. This enables streamlined monitoring/troubleshooting for applications, sites, networks and users. The customers I’ve had deploy Cascade absolutely love the service dashboards, Active Directory user tracking integration, and true application-layer visibility. When they first migrate from the port and IP address visibility of NetFlow to the application visibility of Cascade they are amazed at what applications are really on their networks.

Blog_pilotIf they layer on Pilot and Shark they get high-speed packet capture, transaction visualizations, and packet analysis to quickly find the root cause of problems. Riverbed has a long tradition helping customers set new IT speed records, and we’ve just done it again with the addition of Cascade Profiler’s right-click integration with Pilot/Shark. Customers now can drill-down from reports in Cascade Profiler to the transaction and packet visualizations in Pilot all in the same workflow.  If they need to go even deeper they just right-click and open only the packets they desire in Wireshark where they can see the exact bit and bytes. My customers have been particularly impressed with Pilot's ability to efficiently find and analyze VoIP call problems. Finding and analyzing performance problems has never been easier.  To see videos of  Pilot in action go here.

At the end of day, if an organization can’t proactively solve network, application and user performance challenges then they won’t have great performance. When WAN optimization is deployed across an enterprise proper planning and execution to ensure the IT staff has the right visibility into the right data is worth the effort.  With Steelheads at remote sites integrated with Cascade at the datacenter customers now have enterprise-wide visibility to efficiently find and analyze performance challenges.

Don’t settle for good performance, upgrade to great performance today.

Posted in Bandwidth Optimization, Visibility | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed announces RiOS 6.5 and Cascade 9.0

Posted by riverbedtest on February 7, 2011

Earlier today, Riverbed released updates to our RiOS and Cascade products.  You can find the press release here

2011-02-07_1214 RiOS is the Riverbed Optimization System.  I think of it as 2011-02-07_1216the Operating System that runs Steelhead Appliances.  But this time around, I want to talk about Cascade and its major improvements first.

With this release of Cascade, Riverbed will provide a wide range of functionality that can discover the critical services on your network, prioritize critical traffic with advanced, built-in QoS capabilities, and monitor performance of your applications with easy-to-use, executive-level dashboards, all while reducing your hardware and software costs. This helps to extend visibility from the network engineer all the way to the C-suite, and the ability for IT to control and allocate resources based on the business needs of enterprises.

Riverbed Cascade® 9.0 delivers a set of service dashboards that report on application and network status in an easy-to-use format, so you can see how the network is delivering your critical applications. With Cascade dashboards and reports, you can finally answer business and technical questions about your network around what are the performance problems, where did they occur in the service delivery path, identify the root cause, fix it and ensure that your service-level objectives are met.

Some of the new features in Cascade 9.0 are,

  • Executive-level Dashboards
  • SLA Reporting
  • N-tier Application Discovery Wizard

Executive-level Dashboards are designed to give a C-level person an easy way to quickly see the status of 2011-02-07_1122 all of his managed networks.  When you see a red circle, as in the example to the left, you can drill down and see what the source of the problem is (as is shown under San Francisco).  Cascade 9.0 enables network managers to drill down further, and identify the source of the problem.  You can find exactly where the problem occurs in the delivery path, based on discovery and dependency mapping. 

And unlike competitive products, you can navigate between apps, servers, and users to really identify and solve the problem.  You are not limited just to packets.  You can find how long the problem has existed, whether or not it's getting worse, and even identify the root cause.

2011-02-07_1145 The Service Performance Report (right) gives users and administrators a high-level summary view of what's going on across the network.  We've also added QoS reporting per application and network segment, along with real-time monitoring and historical analysis.

These QoS-centric features increase the gap between Riverbed's offerings and our competition.

The new release of 2011-02-07_1210RiOS 6.5 adds some major new features as well.  One is the new Riverbed AppFlow Classification engine.  Essentially, it will give users the ability to classify network traffic by the application that sends it.  RiOS will ship with the ability to recognize the most popular and commonly found applications, and users will have the ability to add their own apps, even custom ones. 

And then once the apps have been identified, you'll be able to schedule or prioritize them by QoS levels, and QoS will also be smart enough to take into account applications' latency requirements and sensitivity. 

We're also adding improvements to satellite optimizations, client side SSL certificate support, and support for IPv6, and several industry firsts:

  • Native Optimizations for SMB v2 traffic
  • Full-spectrum Optimization for Outlook Anywhere
  • End-to-end Client server signing of traffic
  • Selective Optimizations for SRDF

As always, Riverbed customers with support contracts can get these upgrades for no additional charge.  Watch for other blog entries today with demos and information about these important releases.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Visibility | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed Connect Podcast – RiOS 6.5 and Cascade 9.0

Posted by bobegilbert on February 7, 2011

Bob Gilbert and Vikram Ramesh discuss the 6.5 update to RiOS, the software that powers Riverbed's WAN optimization products.  Also discussed is Cascade 9.0, which is a major update to Riverbed's solution for providing visibility into network and application performance.



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

Riverbed Think Fast Demo – Cascade 9.0

Posted by bobegilbert on February 7, 2011

Cascade 9.0 Demo


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

Riverbed Think Fast Demo – Advanced QoS Engine

Posted by bobegilbert on February 7, 2011

RiOS 6.5 and the Advanced QoS Engine


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

Riverbed can shed the “one trick pony” label

Posted by bobegilbert on January 26, 2011


Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization appliance has been arguably one of the most successful IT infrastructure products since it started shipping in May 2004.  While the overwhelming market success of Steelhead is undeniable, many industry followers continued to wonder if Riverbed would be able to expand our market reach beyond our core WAN optimization competency.

My initial response to the industry followers is that if you are going to have a single product and market focus, what better market to focus on than the WAN optimization market?  Riverbed's Steelhead family of WAN optimization products has a profound impact on a variety of IT initiatives ranging from application performance to infrastructure consolidation to disaster recovery and business continuity.  Not only is there huge value with our WAN optimization products (ask our customers), there is also a large untapped market with future customers that have yet to deploy WAN optimization.  

That being said, I am happy to say that the last 2 years has seen Riverbed expand beyond our core Steelhead family of WAN optimization products.  The result is new technology, capabilities, and value for markets that extend beyond the core WAN optimization market.

The Jan 2009 acquisition of Mazu Networks, and ultimately the release of Cascade, was a clear signal that Riverbed was serious about expanding our solution set beyond core WAN optimization.  Cascade combines advanced analytics with a powerful drill-down capability to deliver an awesome solution for obtaining visibility into network and application performance.  With the recent acquisition of CACE technologies, we have rounded out our network monitoring solution set with the addition of a robust suite of packet capture, and analysis technology. 

The recent launch of Whitewater, our groundbreaking solution for optimizing cloud storage, is yet another example of how Riverbed continues to innovate in areas adjacent to the WAN optimization market.  Whitewater enables customers to leverage public cloud storage provider environments to perform data backup and recovery.

While I am excited about our new products and new market potential, I am also happy to say that we continue to focus on our foundation Steelhead WAN optimization family of products with innovative features and capabilities delivered with every major software update.  Keep your eyes open for an upcoming announcement on this front.

Can we finally shed the one trick pony label? 


Posted in Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Visibility | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Cascade Demo – Chapter 1: Jack’s New Job

Posted by bobegilbert on October 5, 2010

Jack is the manager of the network team and is confronted with application performance problem reports from his users. To find out how Jack delivers good, consistent application performance, watch the rest of the demo here


Posted in Visibility | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Network and Application Visibility with Cascade

Posted by bobegilbert on April 28, 2010

Dinko Zidarich demonstrates Cascade, Riverbed's solution for providing visibility of both network and application performance

Posted in Visibility | Leave a Comment »