The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Riverbed Technical Leader Steve Riley Q&A on Distributed Recentralization

Posted by riverbedtest on November 1, 2011

Thank you for tuning in to the Federal IT Q&A series with Steve Riley, our friend for all things cloud. With this episode, we're wrapping up the series with one question and one answer. 

The question: what does the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative, Cloud First policy, data protection, mobility and telework, and desktop virtualization, have in common?

The answer: Distributed recentralization. In the below video, Steve provides a history on the computing models we've experienced (i.e., mainframe, client-server and centralized computing), and talks about the direction we're moving towards – distributed recentralization. The trend is that we're moving to fewer but larger data centers. And, compared to centralized computing (creation, access and process happening in one place), with distributed decentralization, access and creation are happening in one place, and processing and storage are happening in another place. Also, with fewer data centers, these two activities are occurring at even greater distances in the past ten years. 

This is why adding a layer of intelligence to networks is critical.

 

Actually, there is one more question. What topics — within the realm of IT performance — would you like to see from us?  

 

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

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).

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Optimizing Your Global Infrastructure for SharePoint – Part 1

Posted by riverbedtest on October 28, 2011

SharePoint is an amazingly rich and robust solution that has taken off like a rocket.  However, SharePoint’s performance isn’t always perceived as rocket fast by remote users.  Many times organizations forget not everyone is at HQ sitting around the corner from the SharePoint servers…where they have virtually unlimited bandwidth and only 1 – 2 milliseconds of latency.  In most global organizations employees are at remote sites far away from the SharePoint servers…where they have limited bandwidth and much higher latency.  This limited bandwidth and higher latency correlates to a slower user experience and subsequently lower productivity.

In this multi-part blog post we will discuss how your organization can optimize your infrastructure to ensure your employees get a very fast SharePoint experience – no matter where they are.

Screenshot_cascade_profiler_discovery_service_mapOne of the first tasks most large global organizations will want to undertake is understanding how their SharePoint environment overlays the infrastructure.  Cascade’s dependency mapping, performance monitoring, multi-tier service maps, transaction analysis and other capabilities empower organizations to better understand, consolidate, support and troubleshoot global SharePoint environments.  For example it can help answer questions such as:

  • Where are my SharePoint Servers? > Are any of them unauthorized, or at remote sites and need to be consolidated?
  • Which sites/users connect to which servers? > How fast is their experience? > Which users are the most disadvantaged?
  • How many of my SharePoint users connect from the Internet/VPN versus internally?
  • How many objects make up specific web pages? > Which objects are the largest/slowest? > How much delay is on the server versus the network?
  • What backend servers do my SharePoint web servers connect to and depend upon?
  • Are the SharePoint/IIS servers authenticating to a local Domain Controller for all users, or are they unexpectedly hitting a remote Domain Controller for some users?
  • How much bandwidth does my crawling of regional SharePoint sites consume? > Is it impacting business applications?
  • How much backup traffic does SharePoint generate?  Which path does it take to the DR/COOP Site?

Now that we understand SharePoint globally it is time to start strategizing how to improve performance.  There are several ways to approach this and priorities will depend on your organization’s goals.  In this series we’ll take the approach that user productivity and application availability take priority over infrastructure optimization. 

The fastest and easiest way to optimize general user experience and productivity within SharePoint is to optimize the content being served up.  To accomplish this Stingray Aptimizer, formerly Aptimize, has consistently been found by SharePoint administrators to be the solution of choice. It makes web pages pages 30 – 75% faster, increases server throughput, and takes only a few hours to fully configure and start improving performance.  Plus you can kick the tires for free prior to making a decision. 

Stingray Aptimizer is loaded on the SharePoint web server as a Runtime Page Optimizer (RPO).  A_site_analyzer
It improves performance by file merging, dynamic layout, compression, caching and more so that users see the page significantly faster. This results in fewer objects, fewer authentication turns, more use of the browser’s cache, lower network utilization and less load on the server infrastructure.  It has a huge impact on productivity and encourages users to engage SharePoint even more.  For third-party validation read about how Microsoft uses Stingray Aptimizer on their own SharePoint site.  

For the uber-geek here are live reports from http://www.webpagetest.org so you can compare optimized and non-optimized performance of Microsoft's SharePoint site.

Homepage 
Customer page 

If you’re a visual person here are two great videos about Stingray Aptimizer:

1)    How It Works

2)    How to Install, Configure & Deploy

Wondering how much faster your SharePoint could be?  What are you waiting for? Give Stingray Aptimizer a try for free today.

In the next post of this series we’ll discuss how Stingray Traffic Manager and Application Firewall intelligently load balance, scale and protect global SharePoint environments.

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Visibility, Web Content Optimization | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Video: Riverbed is looking for SaaS acceleration beta customers

Posted by bobegilbert on October 27, 2011

Riverbed is looking for customers that are interested in extending their Steelhead WAN optimization to SaaS applications such as Office 365, Salesforce.com, and Google Apps.

This groundbreaking technology is a joint effort from both Riverbed and Akamai and for existing Steelhead customers, it requires no new hardware. If you are interested in participating in the SaaS acceleration beta, please email Bob Gilbert: bob@riverbed.com.

 

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

Stingray Traffic Manager Overview Video

Posted by bobegilbert on October 27, 2011

Owen Garrett, Director of Product Management for Riverbed's Stingray line of asymmetric optimization products, provides an overview of the Stingray Traffic Manager.

 

 

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

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Introducing the Stingray Product Family

Posted by bobegilbert on October 25, 2011

Apurva Dave, Riverbed VP of Marketing, provides an introduction to Stingray, which is Riverbed's new line of asymmetric optimization products.
 
You can also read the press release here

Posted in Hybrid Cloud, Virtualization, Web Content Optimization | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

We love developers!

Posted by riverbedtest on October 24, 2011

ProgrammerIf you’re no stranger to the Riverbed blog, any of our other social media outlets, or even our web site, by now you’re aware of our new acceleration offerings. Keen observers (and we know you’re all keen!) will note these products depart from our traditional symmetric optimization history. We’ve already discussed why we believe this matters. I’d like to write a bit about to whom it does.

We realize that an IT organization comprises more than those who build the networks and shepherd equipment that routes datagrams. All of that infrastructure would be unnecessary if it weren’t for the applications they run and the data they move about. And while plenty of great technology choices can help the network guys discover and accelerate their prized datagrams, developers, too, can benefit from tools and techniques that improve the speed of their code and the availability of their data.

As a developer, you’re continually trying to balance conflicting demands. Your code must run fast, function correctly, contain no vulnerabilities, and reuse other elements where possible—all, of course, on schedule. At times, some of these demands give way to others—that’s just reality. Aligning resources to meet a release date with full functionality might require constraining resources available for optimizing your code’s performance. That’s where we can help.

FastcodeOur Stingray line of products is designed specifically to ease the pressure to tightly optimize your code. It can also help you eliminate the worries of deploying code that you acquired elsewhere and are unable to modify it to streamline its performance. Whether you need to improve the response time of a single SharePoint server or rapidly distribute high-performing applications across multiple geographic locations, we at Riverbed realize that you, our new developer audience, deserve the same kind of high-quality attention to your needs as we’ve provided our networking friends for years.

We encourage you to explore our new application-oriented performance offerings. Then, take a walk downstairs (it’s almost always downstairs, isn’t it?) and chat with your buddies in the networking department. They might look kind of scary, but they’re cool people—I promise, I used to be one of them! Swap some stories about how eliminating performance bottlenecks has helped your organization rise above your competitors. And work together to ensure that your entire IT stack—from the datagrams to the data—perform at the speed of 21st century business.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Web Content Optimization | Leave a Comment »

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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