Riverbed Accelerates Network Visibility

New RiOS 6.5 and Cascade 9.0 releases deliver new WAN optimization and quality of service tech.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Feb 7, 2011
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When it comes to improving network acceleration, two elements are critical: application visibility and Quality of Service (QoS). Riverbed (NASDAQ:RVBD) is taking aim at both those elements with its Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) version 6.5 WAN optimization and Cascade 9.0 application visibility platforms.

The new offerings are software updates for existing Riverbed Steelhead and Cascade appliances, providing them with deeper visibility and control options. Steelhead is Riverbed's acceleration platform, while Cascade provides application visibility. With the new release, Riverbed is aiming to make it easier for enterprises to figure out how they can accelerate network traffic.

Nik Rouda, director of solutions marketing at Riverbed, explained to InternetNews.com that the new Cascade 9.0 release adds a new service discovery wizard. Rouda noted that Cascade 9.0 can help identify an application's server and storage components in order to create a comprehensive performance map. An improved enterprise dashboard in Cascade 9.0 enables IT managers to look at performance data from a historical perspective to see how things have changed over time.

For Riverbed's RiOS 6.5 system, QoS has been simplified to make it easier for administrators to setup their WAN optimization policies. Rouda said that the new QoS system first looks through applications and sorts them into categories based on bandwidth and latency needs. The traffic classification now provides additional depth as well, so the system knows the source and destination of traffic. Underlying the QoS system is something that Riverbed calls the Hierarchical Fair Service Curves (HFSC) algorithm.

"HFSC is the algorithm and it's very intelligent in that it sorts not just on bandwidth but on latency requirements as well," Rouda said.

Additionally, RiOS 6.5 adds more protocols and applications that can be accelerated and optimized with Steelhead appliances. For enterprises and government organizations that leverage Satellite based protocols, RiOS 6.5 adds LTTS and TCP Westwood protocol support. For regular file-sharing, SMBv2 Windows file-sharing support has been improved as has optimization for Microsoft's Outlook Anywhere technology. Rouda also noted that IPv6 support has been added, which is especially timely now that IPv4 space is exhausted. The RiOS 6.5 release is the first major update for Riverbed's core optimization software platform since the RiOS 6.1 release in June of 2010. Riverbed has since added a virtual Steelhead appliance to its product portfolio as well as a cloud focused system called Whitewater.

Neither Whitewater or the Virtual Steelhead are being updated as part of the RiOS 6.5 update.

Rouda noted that the Virtual Steelhead is engineered off the same code platform as the physical Steelhead and RiOS and he expects that the virtual edition will have equivalent functionality. He added that the virtual edition has a different release date, but provided no additional information on when that might be.

For Whitewater, which is not based on RiOS, the product is still being ramped up by Riverbed.

"Whitewater is a new product and we're still getting reaction from customers," Rouda said. "The biggest demand is probably support for more backup utilities and more cloud storage destinations."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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