The Riverbed Blog (testing)

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Posts Tagged ‘network performance management’

What impresses me most about Cascade…

Posted by riverbedtest on September 9, 2011

As a new Riverbed employee (just finished my third month) who previously worked at a Cascade competitor, I have to say I’m really impressed with Cascade, the application-aware network performance management product from Riverbed. It provides some unique features, like automated discovery and dependency mapping, as well as an elegant and simple design the makes it easy to deploy and use. It’s also very flexible. The feedback I’ve heard from Cascade users supports my opinions, and they typically add that it has helped them significantly reduce the time to diagnose and troubleshoot network performance and security issues. In fact, Cascade reduces MTTR (mean time to resolution) by an average of 83%, according to IDC. Making something as complex as Cascade look easy but still provide depth and flexibility is no mean feat and is definitely a feather in the cap of our engineering team.

Here are some of the things I love about Cascade – the features and capabilities that make it easy to use and which also set it apart from other solutions:

• Discovery and dependency mapping – My absolute favorite feature is discovery and dependency mapping (DDM). DDM automates the process of mapping transactions and applications and their interdependencies to the underlying infrastructure. It is an essential component of the Cascade solution because so many other features use the service models it creates to provide richer information. For example, service models become the basis of the Cascade service dashboards, and service maps provide location awareness to speed troubleshooting and are also invaluable tools for planning and validating IT change, such as data center consolidations.


• Service dashboards – Cascade’s service dashboards provide a quick view into the end-to-end health of an application or service. Application services are created using a wizard that automates the discovery process. It identifies the users, web servers, application servers, databases, authentication and DNS servers, etc. that make up today’s common applications. Because the discovery process is automated (unlike our competitors who must manually define service components), it means that service definitions are detailed, accurate and easy to keep up to date. Red-yellow-green health status indicators are driven by Cascade Profiler’s advanced analytics which automatically detect and alert on meaningful changes in performance, providing proactive notification of emerging issues.


• Automated analytics – Cascade’s advanced behavioral analytics are both mature and feature rich. I know analytics have gotten a bit of a bad name in competing products, but Cascade analytics have been stable since day one and they really work. Cascade Profiler track dozens of performance and security metrics, building and updating historical baselines and alerting upon meaningful changes in behavior. Cascade analytics give IT staff the warning they need to identify and fix problems before users even notice them.


• Distributed packet capture / centralized analysis – Cascade Shark appliances can be distributed throughout the network; they should be placed wherever continuous packet capture and storage is needed. While competitive products often require export of large trace files across the network for local packet analysis – often slowing network performance even further – Cascade Pilot analyzes trace files directly on remote Cascade Shark appliances, refining the data to send only the specific packets of interest to Wireshark for decoding. Distributed packet capture / centralized analysis means that when the network is experiencing issues, Cascade is not part of the problem!

• Integrated Packet/Flow (iP/F) – Cascade is the only network performance management solution to combine flow data and packet data into a single logical record. iP/F is the secret sauce that enables broad visibility with minimal instrumentation as well as facilitates the seamless transition between flow-based information in Cascade Profiler and packet-level information in Cascade Shark. The advantage of this architecture is that it provides greater visibility and management at a significantly lower cost, and it reduces the time it takes to identify, diagnose and resolve complex performance issues.


• Wireshark integration – Everybody loves Wireshark. In fact, Wireshark is downloaded more than 500,000 times a month. Tight integration and seamless hand off from Cascade Pilot to Wireshark takes advantage of the network staff’s expertise with Wireshark and further simplifies and streamlines troubleshooting. Why ask your network managers to use anything other than Wireshark, the tool they know and love?

• Steelhead WAN optimization analysis – Of course being a Riverbed product means that Cascade has to play nice with Steelhead appliances. Cascade does that in a variety of ways: it provides a deep understanding of utilization and performance; it enables you to reconstruct response time and normalize it across optimized and non-optimized environments; and it automatically identifies and alerts on changes in the experience of remote users. In addition, you can use Steelhead appliances to provide cost-effective visibility into branch LAN performance without have to add expensive probes. Cascade and Steelhead provide a one-two punch against WAN performance issues!

So, I’ve told you what I like about Cascade, now it’s your turn…What’s your favorite Cascade feature? Tell us your thoughts about Cascade and what role it has played in helping manage your network and application performance.

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

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – Happy Birthday United States of America

Posted by riverbedtest on July 4, 2011

The 4th of July, The Glorious Fourth,  Independence Day or the birthday of the United States of America  are all names that are used to recognize the day the declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. This day marked the legal separation of the 13 colonies from Great Britain and opened new opportunities for the people of the United States to have certain unalienable rights.

 Second sentence from the Declaration of Independence states “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that amongst these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 Much like the 13 colonies that declared their independence in July 4, 1776, knowledge workers should also have unalienable rights including the liberty to access data anywhere, any time without having to deal with bandwidth and latency issues which we would all agree, if not addressed, would dampen our pursuit of happiness!

 So in tribute to the 4th let me suggest 4 ways to gain independence and performance happiness.

 1.       Know your applications and make sure to choose a WAN optimization vendor that can give you application specific acceleration.  Riverbed prides ourselves in supporting the broadest range of layer-7 application-specific optimizations of any WAN optimization vendor.  Chances are that we can improve the performance of the applications you are running

2.       Make sure that your choice supports all environments – data center, branch office, mobile workers, VDI, private cloud, public cloud, etc.  Riverbed offers WAN optimization technology that delivers best-of-breed performance for all environments eliminating the need to have different vendor interfaces, integration, and performance standards.

3.       Know where your performance issues are and have the right tools to quickly drill down to the root cause.  Riverbed’s application-aware Network Performance Management (NPM) integrated architecture gives customers robust real-time network and application performance analytics, resulting in complete top-down visibility into their network and applications. Cascade is the only NPM solution on the market that fully consolidates real-time business-level performance views with packet-level analysis all in a single data set that users can seamlessly navigate in order to quickly and accurately diagnose and troubleshoot network and application performance problems.

4.       Chose a vendor that has industry leading support. In April of this year Riverbed was recognized and certified by J.D. Power and Associates and TSIA for excellence in Global Customer Service and Support. These certifications acknowledge excellence in delivering outstanding service and support on a worldwide basis to Riverbed customers. Riverbed is one of a select few companies to receive this distinction for global certification under both the J.D. Power and Associates CTSS and the TSIA Excellence in Service Operations program in the same year.

 Typical 4th of July tradition is to celebrate by hosting a barbeque, watching fireworks or by decorating in the colors of the American flag – red, white, and blue. For our Riverbed customer’s we encourage you to celebrate your performance independence by celebrating in the spirit of the 4th.

 So whether you enjoy a nice steak and Steelhead, have some Cascade and cocktails, or decide to parade the streets decorated in Riverbed orange, we wish you a very happy Independence day!

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Corporate, Disaster Recovery, Fun, Site Consolidation, Storage Cloud, Virtualization, Visibility | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »