Riverbed Improves Cloud, Container Visibility in SteelCentral Update

SteelCentral network visibility technology gets a milestone update providing administrators with more insight into what's running.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted May 17, 2016
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Riverbed is updating its SteelCentral product today with a spring release that provides new network visibility and performance options. Among the improved areas of visibility are Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and container environments.

SteelCentral is a technology that was originally part of the Riverbed Performance Management Suite of products before being rebranded in 2014. Much of that portfolio was gained by way of the $1 billion acquisition of OPNET back in 2012.

Krishnan Badrinarayanan, Sr. Product Manager at Riverbed, explained that SteelCentral’s APM (Application Performance Management) module, AppInternals, has had visibility into the cloud through its software agents for many years. By deploying the agents on cloud-based, datacenter-based, hosted or virtual servers, users can get visibility across applications on distributed environments. Badrinarayanan added that the agents measure code, SQL, and web service execution performance while capturing system metrics every second. The agents also inject JavaScript into web pages as they are being served, to capture end user experience insights right from within end user devices. The server receives metrics from the JavaScript and the agents to deliver end-user to backend transaction traces, app maps, user experience heat maps, analytics and more. AppInternals can operate on its own, or as a module within the SteelCentral platform.

"Last year, we offered AppInternals from within the Microsoft Azure Marketplace," Badrinarayanan said. "This means Azure users can deploy AppInternals within Azure, and deploy agents across hybrid environments to gather performance insights."

With the new SteelCentral spring release, Riverbed is now extending cloud support to Azure Cloud Services, Azure’s PaaS offering.

"As a result, AppInternals can scale as the application on Azure scales, by automatically instrumenting servers as the environment scales up or down," Badrinarayanan explained. "This provides continued visibility regardless of the state of the underlying infrastructure the application is running on."

SteelCentral now also provides visibility into containers. Badrinarayanan noted that AppInternals agents can be deployed into containers as they are instantiated, to monitor applications that run within them.

Moving beyond just simply monitoring what's going on in a network, be it a traditional, virtualized, cloud or container network, is the new Application Performance Graph feature in the SteelCentral spring update.

"This release introduces the Application Performance Graph that visually maps interactions between application modules in real-time, regardless of the underlying infrastructure," Badrinarayanan said. "This reveals dependencies and hotspots obscured by the elasticity of the environment so that IT can observe and fix issues with the most overarching business impact."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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