The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

The same, but different

Posted by riverbedtest on September 16, 2011

F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function."   With all of the challenges and the increasing pace of decisions that need to be made in corporate IT these days, I suspect there are a lot of geniuses running enterprise networks!

Many of our customers tell me they have a similar dilemma — "I have a lot of branch offices and sites, each with their own personality, requirements and expectations, yet I achieve a lot of benefit in IT by keeping things the same as much as possible, in terms of reducing complexity and costs."    For example, some sites may need an enterprise class firewall or a print server, while other more remote sites are not directly connected to the Internet or need fewer services.  Virtualization offers benefits here — by increasing the flexibility by which software and services can be deployed, branch offices can be deployed as a uniform framework across many sites, while enabling administrators to clearly define where customization can and cannot be deployed.

Riverbed has been shipping a technology called RSP, the Riverbed Services Platform, for quite some time now — I love to bring this up this solution with customers who are facing this problem of managing multiple heterogeneous sites.   One of Riverbed's strengths is that our technology can optimize almost anything that travels across a customer's WAN, so by standardizing on Riverbed Steelheads for their WAN performance needs, they keep costs and complexity low.

Now, enter RSP:  by adding additional services running virtually on Steelheads deployed at the branches, each site can be changed to suit the individual needs of that site, while still maintaining a consistent virtualized platform across the enterprise.   I like to think of RSP as the Swiss Army knife of the branch.  We have customers running everything from Windows Server 2008R2, to Linux, to one of our numerous technology partners on RSP, all to satisfy the specific requirements of each site.  Some examples are:

  • DNS, DHCP, Print, and other services on Windows Server.  This is a common use case that allows you to run lightweight services at the branch virtually, without additional hardware.  You can even add additional storage to the Windows VM with iSCSI, or enable Branch Cache on the VM to add one-way file caching.
  • Steelhead Mobile Controller Virtual Edition (SMC-VE) Sites that have mobile users that need acceleration can benefit by consolidating and simplifying deployment, management and reporting functions.
  • Cascade Sensor VE.   Often, Steelhead appliances sit near the branch gateway and have a bird's eye view of traffic entering and exiting the branch.  By adding a Cascade Sensor VE, this information can be visualized, analyzed and reported.
  • Firewalls and Security Technologies:  including McAfee Firewall Enterprise Virtual Edition and Check Point Secure Gateway.
  • Branch Office Routing:  by using Vyatta on RSP, you can easily turn your Steelhead into an OSPF or IS-IS router, for example, for sites that need more sophisticated routing needs.

All in all, you can run up to 5 virtual machine instances on each RSP platform, and manage all of them under one interface using the Riverbed Central Management Console (CMC).  This is an easy way by which you can make your branch offices the same, but different enough to fulfill the diverse requirements of the distributed enterprise.

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Posted in Customers, Site Consolidation, Virtualization | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

XenDesktop at the Speed of Now

Posted by riverbedtest on April 19, 2011

Speedometer Today Riverbed announced the expansion of our abilities to accelerate and control the broadest range of virtual desktop environments over the WAN.  We are adding enhanced support for Citrix XenDesktop joining our existing coverage for the virtual desktop solutions from leading providers like Microsoft and VMware. Customers who deploy Steelhead products in a virtual desktop environment are able to overcome the WAN performance issues that bottleneck virtual desktop deployments, significantly enhancing virtual desktop end-user productivity and helping speed the adoption of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).  This announcement is particularly important in light of the many recent developments we’ve seen in the VDI space.     XenDesktopLogo

The convergence of a number of trends in the server and OS market are propelling an increased interest in desktop virtualization.  The enormous success that server virtualization projects have had at helping customers achieve the promised benefits of greater flexibility, lower costs, and improved data management have driven rapid growth in the space as well as increased interest in identifying other opportunities to realize these benefits.  Server virtualization vendors have made significant improvements in their desktop virtualization products, committing more resources and attention on them to eliminate legacy concerns regarding functionality and performance.  VDI graph The increased focus by vendors on desktop virtualization meets a surge demand for OS and client systems as organizations have anointed Windows 7 as the true successor to XP and have initiated refresh cycles.  With a total addressable market of 35 million servers vs 370-600 million enterprise desktops these contravening forces suggest continued growth in this space along with corresponding increases in emphasis by product and solution vendors. 

The primary challenges limiting the adoption of VDI are similar to the challenges of centralized architectures: application performance and bandwidth utilization.  VDI products are particularly susceptible to this as poor responsiveness typically manifests itself not merely as slow application performance but also impacts higher priority tasks leading to sluggish mouse movements and keystrokes.  Additionally, recommendations of up to 256k of bandwidth per user session, which are typically both compressed and encrypted, levies a significant bandwidth tax for usage and also limits the ability for third party technologies to try to ensure quality of service and performance.

Riverbed plays a central role-enabling server centralization and virtualization projects and is well D737~Speed-Racer-Go-Speed-Posters positioned to leverage this success in the desktop virtualization space.   One of the Steelhead products' key differentiators is the ability to optimize across applications and protocols.  That is particularly valuable as organizations rely on their networks to support multiple applications and uses.  This versatility is relevant to VDI as users often run additional applications and services outside of their network stream. 

In addition, Riverbed provides additional benefits to VDI deployments by addressing the inherent difficulties of performance and bandwidth utilization in the virtual desktop stream.  This functionality enhances software solutions from major vendor including Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, VMware View, Microsoft RDP and RemoteFX.  By addressing the fundamental limitations of virtual desktops across vendors while also providing optimization for all other traffic on the WAN, Riverbed is strongly positioned to promote its solution in the virtual desktop space.

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

Delivering Local-like performance for RemoteFX over the WAN

Posted by bobegilbert on February 22, 2011

Today, Microsoft announced the availability of SP1 for Windows 2008 R2.  One of the key capabilities included in SP1 is RemoteFX, which is Microsoft's next-generation desktop virtualization platform. 

RemoteFX leverages the power of virtualized graphics resources and advanced codecs to recreate the fidelity of hardware-assisted graphics acceleration, including support for 3D content and Windows Aero, on a remote user’s device. This allows for a local-like, remote user experience over a variety of possible host, client and network configurations. Dynamic Memory is a new memory management feature of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. 

RemoteFX is optimized to deliver performance to users located on a local area network.  Riverbed extends the local performance experience to RemoteFX users located over a WAN.  Riverbed's Steelhead family of WAN optimization products allow the RemoteFX protocol to more fully utilize the available WAN bandwidth, and significantly increase the number of frames per second of a RemoteFX session, resulting in a smoother, higher fidelity user experience.

Remotefx

Riverbed optimizes Microsoft RemoteFX traffic over the WAN:

  • For office-type users over the WAN
  • Reduce TCP bandwidth consumption over the WAN, increasing productivity
  • Supports remotely rendered WMP files, and streamed WMP, Microsoft Silverlight, and Flash video 

Here is a demo of Riverbed accelerating RemoteFX

 

You can find out more about the RemoteFX SP1 announcement today by reading Microsoft's blog. You can also download a trial of of RemoteFX SP1 here.

 

 

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