The Riverbed Blog (testing)

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Posts Tagged ‘WAN optimization’

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 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 »

Riverbed Technical Lead Steve Riley Q&A on Federal Cloud First Initiative

Posted by riverbedtest on September 20, 2011

For part two of our federal IT initiatives Q&A with Steve Riley, we focus on the Cloud First policy. Now, if you do not work in the the federal IT space, the Cloud First policy is the federal government's strategy for cloud computing, which is part of the greater plan to reform federal IT. The general estimate is $20 billion of the federal government's $80 billion in IT spending could be used for cloud computing.

In the enterprise, cloud computing is a trend that has been discussed and migrated to for many years. However, the push for cloud computing in the federal IT space was kicked-off and championed by Vivek Kundra, the U.S. government's first CIO. And, although Kundra recently left his post last month, former Microsoft executive and managing director at the Federal Communications Commissions Steve VanRoekel has taken the position and reigns, and plans to use Kunrda's grand vision for IT reform as a foundation for even greater changes to federal IT. 

Grab your coffee, tea or something stronger, and watch the below Q&A, which covers what spurred the Cloud First policy (cost reductions and collaboration among agencies), considerations (safety and security), as well as how Riverbed helps agencies to execute on the Cloud First policy. 

 

Stay tuned. Next week, we'll talk about data protection. 

 

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

Riverbed Technical Lead Steve Riley Q&A on Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative

Posted by riverbedtest on September 13, 2011

It's the final countdown – not only for 2011 Federal Fiscal Year, but also for a major phase in the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI), which is integral to the 25-point plan for reforming federal IT. By September 30, officials at federal agencies are required to complete their data center consolidation plans and to-date progress reports. The following week, the plans will be posted to CIO.gov. And, every quarter, agencies must post data centers they plan to close, as well as provide an update on what has already been closed or consolidated. A list of the data centers planned for closure to date is available here.

If you're not familiar with the FDCCI, which was launched in February 2010, the high-level on this initiative is federal agencies are required to close 800 of the U.S. government’s 2,094 data centers by 2015. To make good on that goal, 373 federal data centers will be closed by the end of 2012. 

Why is there a push to consolidate data centers? One of the key objectives is to save $3 billion annually, mainly from gaining efficiencies in energy consumption, maintenance and management of data centers. Another objective is to gain IT efficiencies across agencies and foster greater collaboration. But, this should not be done at the cost of performance, especially to the user experience.

Today's video kicks-off the first in a series of video interviews, in which I ask Steve for his perspective on a federal IT initiative – FDCCI, cloud first and cloud computing, data protection, telework and mobility, and desktop virtualization — what should federal IT leads take into consideration, and how Riverbed address challenges around IT performance for helping ensure success.

Below is the first video interview on data center consolidation. Steve discussed key areas of consideration for how to determine which data centers to consolidation based on applications and information type. He also outlined the challenges associated with moving applications and information farther away from a user, as well as how to ensure that the user experience is optimized, let alone not affected. The takeaway: when data centers are further dispersed across great distances, yet the user is staying put or they are used to accessing an application that is located on-premises, then the WAN becomes even more critical. In order to make FDCCI a success, and not impact the user experience, then federal IT leaders will want agents to feel like the application is hosted locally. In short, Riverbed accelerates the movement of data, information and applications, and eliminates latency that is often associated with computing over great distances. Why is this a consideration? With all the strides to bring efficiencies and reduce costs, ensuring that an agent's productivity is not impacted should also be tops on the list of considerations.

 

Be sure to tune in every week over the coming several weeks for more interviews with Steve.

 

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The WAN of Your Dreams

Posted by riverbedtest on September 6, 2011

PerfectWAN Look, I know it isn't easy. Nobody likes to put themselves out there, face the fear of the unknown. Why rock the boat, right? You're probably thinking to yourself, "I'm happy with my WAN. It's a decent, hard-working WAN. Sure, there are problems, but no WAN is perfect." Now tell me something, don't you think you deserve better? Don't you deserve a WAN that makes you truly happy?

Imagine a WAN that goes above and beyond for you. A WAN that doesn't make you wait an interminable 30 seconds every time you transfer a file. A WAN that doesn't hinder your consolidation efforts with it's insufferable latency. A WAN that gives you superior application performance without dictating where your servers are?  This isn't too much to ask. 

The Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS)

The Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) is the only solution within the WAN optimization industry to  utilize four different technologies to create your perfect WAN. RiOS software powers Steelhead products through a combination of patent-pending data reduction, TCP optimization, and application-level protocol optimizations. Together, these technologies provide a comprehensive solution for true WAN compatibility. (Streamlining descriptions excerpted from the Riverbed Steelhead Product Family data sheet).

RiverbedOptimization

1. Data Streamlining

Data streamlining – RiOS data streamlining works across all TCP applications to reduce bandwidth   utilization, typically by 60% to 95%. Data streamlining works across file sharing, email, CAD, ERP, web-based HTTP and HTTPS applications, databases, virtual desktops, and all other applications that use TCP.

  DataStreamlining

2. Transport Streamlining

Transport streamlining – RiOS transport streamlining reduces the number of TCP packets required to transfer data by 65% to 98%. Transport streamlining also enables the acceleration of SSL-encrypted traffic throughout the enterprise to eliminate the security and performance trade-off.

TransportStreamlining

3. Application Streamlining

Application streamlining – RiOS application streamlining offers the broadest support of application-specific modules for key enterprise applications to provide additional application performance improvements on top of the data streamlining and transport streamlining optimizations performed on all TCP traffic.

ApplicationStreamlining

4. Management Streamlining

Management streamlining – RiOS enables easy deployment through auto-discovery of peers and auto-interception of traffic, with no reconfiguration of clients, servers, or routers. Simple integration into the network has led to Riverbed deployments in a vast array of network environments and topologies including, but not limited to, MPLS, VoIP, video conferencing, QoS, VPN, satellite infrastructure, ATM, frame relay, microwave, and wireless. 

Riverbed is committed to helping you find the WAN of your dreams, and with over 10,000 customers, we are confident that we can.  So begin your Riverbed experience register today for a free trial. After all, over 80 of the Fortune 100 can't be wrong. Hurry, your perfect WAN is waiting!

Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Site Consolidation, Technical | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 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 »

Meet Riverbed at EMC Americas Forum 2011 – Performance Data Protection for the Cloud

Posted by riverbedtest on July 19, 2011

Riverbed and EMC are coming to a city near you! Starting today, in Chicago, you can meet with WAN optimization and data protection experts from Riverbed at EMC Forum events, and learn how to effectively and efficiently protect your data in private, public and hybrid clouds environments. At these day-long events, you will experience keynotes, breakouts and exhibits – all focused on addressing performance for managing your data in the cloud. Riverbed executives will discuss how WAN optimization plays a critical role in a data backup cloud infrastructure, off-site data security, lowered data protection costs, optimized storage utilization and lowered TCO from automation, as well as demonstrate integrated Riverbed and EMC solutions for data protection and backup to the cloud. 

Join Riverbed at the following EMC Forum events:

  • Chicago, IL – July 19
  • Long Beach, CA – August 10
  • Mexico City, Mexico – August 24
  • New York City, N.Y. – October 6
  • Boston, MA – October 20
  • Toronto, Canada – November 3
  • Dallas, TX – November 15

For additional information on the EMC Forum events, including event locations and registration, visit http://www.emc.com/campaign/global/forum2011/.

Also, learn more about how Riverbed and EMC work together — for your data protection needs — at http://www.riverbed.com/emc/.

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