The Riverbed Blog (testing)

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Posts Tagged ‘Steelhead’

Riverbed Customer Video – Energy Future Holdings

Posted by bobegilbert on November 4, 2011

Michael Taccino, VP of IT & Infrastructure, Energy Future Holdings shares his experience with Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization and Cascade visibility products.

 

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

The importance of agility

Posted by riverbedtest on November 3, 2011

 An underappreciated aspect of the Steelhead product line is that it has a diverse set of form factors and – crucially – those different packages all use the same optimization architecture, and thus interoperate. What does that mean for a customer?  It gives tremendous flexibility to adapt to changes in how data and users are distributed, without needing to cause ripple effects elsewhere in the infrastructure.  Let’s consider a simple (and common) example first before we move on to looking at the larger implications. 

Organizations often have some branch offices that are very small.  For the very smallest offices and individual users, it’s usually not hard to decide that the right solution is to use Steelhead Mobile on a laptop or workstation.  And when you get to  10-12 people in an office, both the technology and the ROI arguments for a Steelhead appliance (physical or virtual) are pretty easy to make.  But there’s an area in the middle, around 5-6 users, where there’s enough overlap of capabilities that either approach could work.  Add to this that a given office may grow or shrink enough so that the original configuration in the office may need to be replaced with a different one.

 Using the Steelhead family, these choices and changes at the branch can be accommodated with no additional impact on the data center side.  For a given workload from a given set of users, it just doesn’t matter whether they’re coming from a Steelhead appliance or Steelhead Mobile. 

 Now, if you’re only familiar with Riverbed, at this point your reaction is probably something like “so what?  Big deal!”  But let’s look at just this one scenario with the #2 vendor: their mobile client doesn’t use the same technology as their appliance, so you have to have two separate data-center infrastructures to support the branches if you have a mixture of the technologies.  And as you migrate a given branch from appliance to mobile or vice-versa, you’re changing the load on the corresponding data-center pieces. 

 That divided-technology approach means that it’s easy with the #2 vendor to be in a situation where an apparently-straightforward change at a branch gets tripped up because it exceeds the capacity of some piece of data center infrastructure.  Another layer of complexity comes from the fact that these two different technologies have different network characteristics: their appliance uses an autodiscovery mechanism somewhat like the way that Steelheads work, while their mobile client needs an explicit connection set up to its data-center counterpart.  Their appliance marketing repeatedly insists on the necessity of transparency and the avoidance of tunnels, while the mobile client uses a tunnel-based system – so it’s possible that a particular branch network configuration that works with one of the technologies simply won’t work with the other.

 It’s tempting to say that the divided-technology problem of the #2 vendor is just a typical lapse by a very large company, and that smaller competitors would have a better approach. So we look at the #3 vendor in our space, which is a private company that prides itself on only doing WAN optimization.  But they don’t have any mobile client at all!  So their theory is that you should just pretend that you don’t need WAN optimization when you’re out on the road and dealing with networks in coffee shops and hotels – exactly the opposite of most real-world experience.  And apparently when your branch is too small to support an appliance or virtual appliance, you should just stop using WAN optimization.  (All of a sudden, the #2 vendor looks really good by comparison.)

Before we leave this topic, it’s worth noting that the preceding comparison actually understates the Riverbed advantage. A further advantage comes from the fact that Steelhead Mobile and a Steelhead appliance (physical or virtual) can cooperate via branch warming. In branch warming, Steelhead Mobile and a local Steelhead appliance work together: each time a piece of "optimization vocabulary" is used by the machine running Steelhead Mobile, the mobile client and the appliance coordinate so that both have a copy.  As the mobile client is used in the branch office, their vocabularies will tend to converge.

Without spending too much time on the details of how it works, let’s talk about where it’s useful:  Sometimes there are enough people in an office to justify an appliance, but the nature of the work means that some or all of them have a significant need for mobility – often because they are salespeople, hands-on repair technicians, or field supervisors.  They can use Steelhead Mobile when they are on the road, but they stop needing a mobile license when they’re in the office, and they take the benefits of their office work (newly learned optimizations) back on the road with them when they leave. 

 Now let’s talk about the bigger picture of why this matters.  After all, your organization may not have small branches or mobile users, so that set of examples might not impress you. But the same general principle of agility through a common architecture is more broadly useful, and almost certainly can make a difference to your organization now or in a future configuration.

 A way of getting a handle on this is to list out the different “packages” of Steelhead technology:

  • Physical appliance
  • Virtual appliance
  • Cluster of appliances (physical and/or virtual)
  • Software client
  • Cloud-integrated service
  • “Blade” for HP switch

 All of these interoperate with each other – so it’s easy to go “physical to virtual” or vice-versa without needing to disrupt the other side of the application.  Likewise it’s easy to have a set of services growing beyond the capacity of a single appliance, or migrating into (or out of) a cloud service, without prompting a redesign or redeployment of the client side.

 Again, a comparison with the #2 vendor is illuminating. A casual examination of their WAN optimization product line would suggest a similar kind of breadth and agility. They have a variety of packages of WAN optimization technology. But it turns out that the commonality is more marketecture than architecture.  That is, they use a common branding for what are actually 3 very-different classes of products: what we might call “main”, “mobile”, and “express.”  The “mobile” products can’t interoperate at all with “main” products or with “express” products.  The “main” products and “express” products can interoperate, but only at the lower level of function supported by the “express” products.  So actually trying to use the #2 vendor products for Riverbed-like agility can lead to all sorts of unpleasant surprises, as WAN optimization functionality either doesn’t work at all (mobile/main and mobile/express combinations) or works with sharply reduced functionality and performance (main/express combinations).

IT organizations need agility and flexibility to meet changing circumstances and demands.  The Riverbed single common architecture approach for WAN optimization helps ensure that Steelhead technology can help meet that need.

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Hybrid Cloud, Mobile, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Site Consolidation | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Riverbed in Washington, D.C. at AWS Gov Cloud Summit II; Steve Riley to Speak on Cloud Implementation

Posted by riverbedtest on October 13, 2011

Riverbed will demonstrate its cloud performance solutions at AWS Gov Cloud Summit II, taking place October 18 at the Washington Marriott Metro Center in Washington, D.C. Amazon's AWS Gov Cloud Summitt II will provide government IT leaders and agency executives with the information to succeed in their cloud computing projects. Attendees can visit the Riverbed station to learn about the company’s cloud performance solutions, which help government agencies meet mandates to consolidate data centers, reduce costs for IT, and execute on the cloud first policy. In addition, Riverbed technical leader Steve Riley will lead a discussion on cloud implementation.

Conference attendees can visit the Riverbed station to learn about how the company’s application-aware network performance management (NPM) and wide area network (WAN) optimization solutions that are critical elements for providing network visibility and control that enable the migration, and accelerates the transmission of applications and data, to cloud environments. 

Conference attendees can also learn more about cloud performance and cloud implementation in a panel session with Steve Riley.

What: Cloud Implementation Panel

Who: Steve Riley, technical leader, Riverbed

When: Tuesday, October 18, 4:15 PM  – 5:00 PM

Where: Solutions Breakout area

 

 

Posted in Events, Private Cloud, Public Cloud, Visibility | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed in Orlando, Florida at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2011

Posted by riverbedtest on October 12, 2011

Riverbed will demonstrate its IT performance leadership at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2011, taking place October 16-20 at the Walt Disney Dolphin in Orlando, Florida. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the IT industry's largest and most strategic conference, providing business leaders with a look at the future of IT. Attendees can visit Riverbed® (booth# 309) to learn about the company’s IT performance solutions, which have been selected by more than 13,000 organizations to help consolidate IT infrastructure and reduce costs while increasing employee collaboration and productivity.

Conference attendees can learn about the Riverbed product families. In addition to its core WAN optimization solutions, Riverbed will showcase its wide range of IT performance solutions spanning application-aware network performance management (NPM), application delivery and web content optimization (WCO), and cloud data protection for back up, archive, and disaster recovery.

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Events, Private Cloud, Public Cloud | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed Technical Leader Steve Riley Q&A on Telework and Mobility

Posted by riverbedtest on October 11, 2011

Teleworking – that is this week’s federal IT initiatives topic. And, everyone who I have spoken with has an opinion on the subject. One point of debate is whether or not government agents or employees should or should not be allowed to work remotely. Regardless of your stance on the matter, I talked with Steve Riley, about how to enable a teleworking model with the user experience in mind, should the user be offered the option to work remotely.

As users work remotely or on the go, they are moving farther away from the data and applications. So naturally, the cloud seems like the perfect place to store data and application for access anywhere, from any device at any time. But, therein lies the challenge.

Data center consolidation (moving the data and application farther away from the user) + cloud first policy (mandate) + telework (remote and on the go users) = Challenges

What does Riverbed offer that enables telework models? Steelhead. It works in data centers, in the cloud, as well as on mobile devices. Steelhead Mobile is based on the same technology as our Steelhead appliances, as Cloud Steelhead, as Virtual Steelhead. Bottom line is federal IT leaders can help remote agents experience the best performance possible, as if they were working next door, even if they are located across the country.

Watch the video Q&A with Steve. As a heads up, Steve dropped a stat, citing an IDC report claiming that an Exabyte of new data is created every day. To put it into perspective, an Exabyte is 10 to the 18th power. That is one with 18 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000). That is one billion gigabytes of new data every day.

Where is all that data coming from? Users like you and me. 

 

 

Posted in Bandwidth Optimization, Private Cloud, Public Cloud | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Riverbed Technical Lead Steve Riley Q&A on Federal Data Protection

Posted by riverbedtest on September 27, 2011

Thanks for tuning in for part three (of five) of the Federal IT initiatives Q&A video series with our illustrious technical leader Steve Riley. As projected by many industry research and analyst firms, data will continue to grow. This is not surprising. And as you may remember, with the Cloud First policy, agencies have a mandate to move data and applications to the cloud. So, for this week's video Q&A, we shift gears, and examine some of the considerations for agencies to protect their data in the cloud.

Steve answers the following:

1. How data is protected in the cloud.

2. What are the technical considerations and strategies for protecting data in the cloud.

3. How Riverbed, specifically, helps protect data in the cloud. Here is a hint – it has something to do with FIPS certification.

Next week, I'm taking a break from posting. But, tune in again October 11 for a Q&A video on teleworking and mobility. It would be appropriate to watch the video on a smart phone or tablet, outside of your workplace.

 

 

Posted in Data Protection, Hybrid Cloud, Private Cloud, Public Cloud | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

DDM

• 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.

Dashboard

• 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.

Analytics

• 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.

IPF

• 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 »

Riverbed’s Optimization Solutions for the Cloud

Posted by riverbedtest on August 11, 2011

Recently I saw a blog post on ReadWriteWeb / Cloud by David Strom where he described the roles that WAN Optimization can play in helping accelerate Cloud-based IT services.

This has long been an area of attention at Riverbed; for years now we have been helping Enterprises address and solve the challenges they've faced with business applications performing poorly across their private WANs. Riverbed's award-winning Steelhead family of WAN Optimization appliances have held a leading position in the global market for the last several years, according to several leading industry analyst firms.

Now, in the era of Cloud-based IT services, the performance problems created by the increased distance between users and their data, combined with the lack of QoS and un-guaranteed internet performance are significantly worse than those faced within a structured and well-known corporate IT environment. Thus the need for performance optimization in these cloud environments is even greater than in traditional, private corporate IT.

These requirements have prompted Riverbed to develop and offer a whole range of products and technologies, to address the vast majority of Cloud-based IT applications and environments. In his recent blog post,  David mentioned only one Riverbed product in this context, the Steelhead Appliance.   SH

In addition to this though Riverbed also has the following products available to address the Acceleration & Optimization needs of virtual and cloud environments :

  1. Virtual Steelhead – as the name suggests, a virtual version of the Steelhead product that can be run on VMWare ESX/ESXi platforms
  2. Cloud Steelhead – Steelhead WAN Optimization + simple portal-based management, On-demand instantiation, easy cloning, fliexible sizing and pricing
  3. Riverbed Whitewater – a single-ended Cloud Storage Gateway that delivers speed, security, cost-efficiency and ease of use for Cloud-based storage services Ww and of course
  4. Steelhead Mobile – PC and MAC client acceleration software, so you can enjoy accelerated cloud IT services from anywhere, over any connectivity medium.

Additionally with the recent acquisition of both Zeus and Aptimize, Riverbed now also has two new Single-Ended technologies – Application Delivery Controller and Web Content Optimization – to help accelerate  both public and private cloud-based web content and applications.

So in summary, Riverbed really should be your first port of call for any cloud IT service acceleration & optimization requirements.

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

Configuring the Steelhead appliance for RDP acceleration

Posted by bobegilbert on March 23, 2011

Configure_rdp

My blog last week featured a video demonstrating how Steelhead appliance can accelerate RDP 7 environments.  The blog triggered a number of inquiries about how to configure the Steelhead to achieve these type of results.

 Below is a list of the steps you need to take:

 

  1. Turn off RDP compression and encryption
  2.  Remove RDP (TCP port 3389) from the default "interactive' port labels list in the Steelhead appliance management console
  3.  Create an in-path rule for destination port 3389, with "neural framing mode" set to "never" and normal optimization

Note: If you are not familiar how to do this, please reference the "View WAN Reference Architecture" document on VMware's website

Performing these 3 simple configuration steps changes RDP from being passed-through unoptimized to being intercepted and optimized by Steelhead appliances.  Happy optimizing!

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »