The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Posts Tagged ‘VDI’

Riverbed Technical Leader Steve Riley Q&A on Desktop Virtualization

Posted by riverbedtest on October 18, 2011

For this week's Federal IT Q&A with Steve Riley, we examine the considerations for agencies looking to deploy desktop virtualization, the associated considerations, the drivers, user behaviors, applications, as well as how Riverbed solutions play a critical role in ensuring the best possible user experience. 

To kick things off, Steve breaks it down about what are some of the drivers for VDI. Simply put, the consumerization of IT is high on the list. An agency can allow agents to bring in their own gear, or purchase — with a budget — gear, and then provide and manage a virtual desktop with applications securely. From an IT and budgetary perspective, desktop virtualization allows agencies to not have to purchase devices, manage and refresh them.

Virtual desktop is also truly enabling the dual use personal-professional device. And, as you may expect, iPads and Android-based tablets are the devices of choice. But, the beauty of VDI is it is device independent.

So, what is the Riverbed play? How is Riverbed accelerating virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)? Earlier this year, we announced continued and enhanced support for Citrix XenDesktop. At around the same time, we announced an optimization solution for Microsoft RemoteFX. And, at VMworld in the summer, we announced an upcoming partnership with Teradici, the innovator of the PC-over-IP protocol. Clearly a lot of developments around VDI with more to come.  

If you have been keeping count, then you'll know that we're approaching the end of the Federal IT Q&A series with Riverbed technical leader Steve Riley. Next week, tune in for a recap and finale discussion on how everything we discussed (data center consolidation, cloud computing, data protection, mobility and teleworking, and desktop virtualization) is tied together. 

But for now, watch the below video Q&A with Steve.

 

 

Advertisements

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

The Challenges with Mobility and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Posted by riverbedtest on August 23, 2011

As a commuter heading into San Francisco on BART for the past several years,  I feel as though I have actually witnessed a revolution. 

Just a few years ago, the common commuter either slept, read (books, newspapers, magazines), or stared in the distance.  Occasionally someone might take or make a call, or possibly send a text or two (I loved my nokia 8210, so small!).  

Today, however, the most common pose is a near constant stare at our smart phones or connected device. Stare

I’m as guilty as the next person, pounding away updates on my Blackberry.  But the behavioral change is fascinating to me. Will it always  be like this?  Is this just a phase or are we forever committing to our screens?

Sidestepping the discussion about whether or not you think smartphones actually make us dumb, the proliferation of devices has got me thinking about the impact these devices have on IT. 

The challenge of mobile devices was particularly evident at an event I attended a few weeks ago, it was a customer advisory council meeting for a very successful regional value added reseller (VAR) in the Southeast.  The company had assembled 15 of their top customers to discuss best practices and new technologies.

By a show of hands, the greatest challenge the group faced was the explosion of end user devices and the impact the devices were having on corporate networks and on IT support.  One attendee discussed how their organization had gone so far to embrace end user choice that their company actually issues a hardware/device stipend to all new employees rather than supplying a laptop or desktop. The end user could buy the laptop, phone or pad of their choice, while IT focused on providing support and making sure their networks could handle surging amounts of traffic.

All this lead to a very lengthy discussion about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – (you can find some very honest and comprehensive discussions about VDI here).  VDI is a topic near and dear to Riverbed customers since at the core of the VDI concept is the explicit separation of end users from their data. And as we’ve learned from client-server applications that run over wide area networks, any time you separate end users from their data, especially over great distances, performance can really suffer, and WAN optimization technology is required to deliver the level of performance users demand.

Based on some partner and customer research I conducted earlier this year, I found that today’s most successful VDI deployments take place on local area networks (LAN), often deployed in a single facility or campus.  Education, Government agencies, and various types of financial service companies are particularly attracted to VDI’s promise of controlled, single instance data.  And while early desktop virtualization pitches promoted the cost benefits of VDI, many studies have since shown the cost benefits are minimal.  The real primary attraction of VDI is the age-old IT attraction of centralized control.

However, the challenge of VDI is most evident is over wide area networks (WAN).  If you’ve ever been frustrated by a pause in sending an e-mail or opening an application in a traditional corporate office, try sitting across a WAN from your data on a dumb terminal when you begin to experience slow or inconsistent K..EY..S.T…ROKE..S, forget it, it’s the worst. VDI over the WAN is a real challenge, which is why Riverbed is spending so much time and energy on the subject.  Today, we already optimize the Citrix ICA protocol and we help our customers optimize VMware view deployments as well using RDP optimization. 

During his keynote at Citrix Synergy in May, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton discussed a future where users would enjoy device and network independence.  I think we’re still a ways off from that, but I’m certain Riverbed will help the world get there.  Citrix

And for all my fellow BART commuters staring at your phones, just be thankful there are companies like Riverbed hard at work optimizing your corporate and public networks so you don’t miss a post, tweet, blog, text, request e-mail, video….

Did you know Worldwide smart phone shipments increased 87% in the last 12 months

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Corporate, Mobile, Virtualization | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

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 »

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 »

How VDI will break service provider offerings

Posted by riverbedtest on February 24, 2011

I had a fascinating presentation and discussion with a Riverbed customer yesterday. He’s the cloud computing architect for a global manufacturing company, with about 40 locations worldwide. One fact of note is that their entire organization runs on VDI – that’s impressive in and of itself. But what was more interesting to me is that he believes all service providers are currently at least 5 years behind in enabling him to run VDI the way he wants to. In short – he believes service providers are broken when it comes to the next wave of distributed computing.

The architect used a couple of great parallelisms that couldn’t help but make the topic stick in your mind. First – look at the last wave of traffic to move onto the wire – voice. In many cases it was massively challenging for organizations to engineer their environments to support voice effectively throughout – especially if you were including very remote sites or locations that used public internet or satellite as their connection. In the beginning he argued much of this happened through organizations engineering around service providers, instead of with service providers. (Full disclaimer – these are the claims of the customer, not of Riverbed or myself!)

At the time, voice was the essential communication mechanism that could not fail. People frequently spent hours a day on the phone, so both quality and reliability were essential. But another interesting phenomenon happened along the way – the cell phone. Somehow the world at large was OK with going backwards in quality and reliability (does the phrase “Can you hear me now?” sound familiar?). For the enterprise, why was that acceptable? The customer posited two reasons – for one, the benefit of mobility was a productivity enhancer, but two, the phone was simply no longer as important as your interaction with your computer.

For a knowledge worker like myself, this couldn’t be any truer. On a busy day I might spend 1-2 hours on the phone. The rest of the time I’m probably doing something with my computer. In fact, in many cases when I’m on the phone I’m on the computer too! I could much more easily survive without telephone communications than I could survive without computer access in general.

And now back to VDI. For our customer, he discovered two major problems with regards to how he uses his network today. His service provider has difficulty separating out “real-time traffic” like voice from “interactive traffic” like VDI, where intense back-and-forth WAN communications could massively limit the effectiveness of a worker. Moreover, it’s not just downtime that would affect him, but even high latency would drive losses of a few hundred thousand dollars per hour, per office. And since his service provider only reports average latency for the past month, he’s out of luck in terms of proactively addressing the problem.

The other challenge he has is, in some way, to model the way transitioning to VDI or making changes to your setup will impact your end user experience. For example, if you switch to Windows 7 virtual desktops it’s likely that the bandwidth required per session will go up about 40%. It’s easy to say how much network capacity you’ll require based on number of users, but how will a blip in latency impact the user experience? Will it change on Windows 7 versus other platforms?

Technology is going in the right direction – though the architect needs to see it move faster. For example, he can use Steelhead appliances today in order to prioritize VDI traffic above everything else, even voice and video. But the ability to effectively and scalably model the user experience of VDI is a hurdle that he has not been able to overcome, beyond simply making his users or staff sit at a desk, and spend time testing software instead of closing business.

I would be interested in hearing from others – do you have the tools that you need to implement VDI across your distributed environment? 

 

Posted in Application Acceleration, Private Cloud, Virtualization | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Turner Padget CIO shares his success in deploying Riverbed

Posted by bobegilbert on March 18, 2010

Turner Padget CIO shares his success in deploying Riverbed RSP and
Steelhead Mobile for optimizing VDI for his mobile attorneys. The firm
is also replicating Dell EqualLogic data to its DR site by running Steelhead
appliances and the result is he is able to achieve his disaster recovery goals.

Posted in Bandwidth Optimization, Disaster Recovery, Mobile | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »