WHITE PAPERThe Riverbed Performance PlatformA Visionary Approach to Enterprise IT
The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionRiverbed: The Performance Platform VisionPerformance matters to our customers. Whe...
The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionFluid data centersIf you were to ask IT architects how they would design their inf...
The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionGoing one level deeper, these limitations typically come from a few different issu...
The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionWe believe the same transformation will take place for performance technologies. T...
The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionGranite delivers complete server and storage consolidation. Certain business appli...
The Riverbed Performance Platform Vision     •    Cascade Profiler can incorporate and map Stingray virtual IPs to the phy...
The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionHere are two examples of what programmability could achieve across the Riverbed Pe...
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GDS International - FST - Summit - Europe - 7 - 10


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The Riverbed Performance Platform

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GDS International - FST - Summit - Europe - 7 - 10

  1. 1. WHITE PAPERThe Riverbed Performance PlatformA Visionary Approach to Enterprise IT
  2. 2. The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionRiverbed: The Performance Platform VisionPerformance matters to our customers. Whether customers are considering performance as raw application speed, as costefficiency, or as reduced complexity, customers are looking at ways to improve their IT architecture to deliver applications fasterand more effectively.Riverbed is the performance company. Our vision is to give customers the tools to create the highest performing IT environmentpossible, enabling users everywhere to be more productive while giving IT teams greater control over their enterprises’ technologyresources. Our vision focuses on the intersection of applications, servers, networks, and storage, and brings customers a single,unified view of performance in their distributed environment.Our recent experiences talking to enterprise architects worldwide have shown that organizations are trending towards two mainideas for what their IT infrastructure must achieve in the next few years. This document outlines those end goals and howRiverbed will help businesses achieve them, also covering the core technologies that make this possible.Enterprise VisionAs opposed to focusing initially on products and what they can do for a particular use case or vertical, consider the broader goalsof accelerated user flow and fluid data centers. This will help illustrate how to build a high performance enterprise infrastructurethat supports the goals of users, IT, and business owners. Let’s examine these requirements in more detail and then see how aPerformance Platform can help. An illustration of a comprehensive inter-connected enterprise infrastructure.Accelerated user flowEnd users want to be productive just as much as the business wants them to be. Most people thrive in environments where theyare set up to succeed, and IT has a strategic role in that process. Simply put, users expect applications to be faster. No matterwhere the user is based (HQ, branch office, on the road, or by extension even consumers at home) applications are supposed tobe always on, always reliable, and faster than ever before. Empowered end users will be more productive, more capable, and willhelp bring new innovations to market faster or be better informed, more engaged customers.In the current work environment, end users are typically moving among locations frequently (in the office for part of the day, at acustomer site, and then working from home), and even switching devices frequently. They may be using a corporate-provideddesktop or laptop, then entering customer information via their personal smartphones, and finally working on a personal computerat home. The applications might be traditional enterprise applications in a corporate data center, software-as-a-service (SAAS)applications, or applications running in a hybrid cloud environment. But in all cases, they still expect high performance applicationsthat are fully accessible. Downtime is not an option; change windows are shrinking in a global world; and while IT professionalsunderstand that network latency slows applications, it is not a viable excuse to the CEO, business owner, or even the average enduser.© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 1
  3. 3. The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionFluid data centersIf you were to ask IT architects how they would design their infrastructure if they were starting with a blank slate, most would saysomething along these lines: put all the data and applications in one or two data centers, and have everyone access it from there.Why? First, it’s operationally the simplest potential solution to the challenge. Second, it reduces cost, as infrastructure can beshared across many applications or business units. Third, it reduces risk because a few locations can be secured more easily thandozens or hundreds. Finally, it allows IT to react more quickly to changes in business requirements. All the assets are in oneplace, as well as the smart people to operate them, so it’s much simpler to reorient teams toward new challenges or businesspriorities.For the past five years enterprises have been moving toward this vision: aconsolidated, virtualized infrastructure contained in fewer data centers and serves Accelerated user flowa distributed user base. The cost and risk elements alone are compelling and • Users access data and applicationsjustify the transition – but for most organizations the potential for IT to respond faster and more reliably fromfaster is even more impactful to the business. anywhere. • Businesses are more productive,Server virtualization has been a major driver of this change. Even in cases where more collaborative, and can geta business is not looking to adopt the cloud paradigm, virtualization has changed new products to market faster.the way enterprises design and resource applications in their data centers. Andfor those who haven’t changed their designs, even more challenging is the fact Fluid data centersthat the business has expected them to have done it. • Flexibility allows consolidation, and more responsiveness to changingAn extension of virtualization is the move to cloud – inclusive of private cloud, business demands.public cloud, and hybrid cloud operating models. Because of cloud, business • Business can also better leverageowners now see IT as capable of “instant-on” functionality, so IT must be now private and public clouds.positioned to quickly and easily spin up applications and storage to supportbusiness initiatives or control costs as needed. Cloud services have made itpossible to spin up a new data center within minutes. Of course the challenge isn’t just provisioning the compute or storage, it’sgetting the right applications and data running in that new data center, and directing users seamlessly to those new resources. Sowhile virtualization and cloud has made flipping the “on” switch very easy, there are still significant challenges in understandinghow bright the bulb will burn.Tied closely to the concept of being “fluid” is the ability to support geographic growth and reorganization as easily as supportingreallocation of resources within the data center. Organizations have continued to spread out to more locations in their state,country, or around the world. At the same time, organizations have been consolidating branch infrastructure so that resources aremore secure and more accessible to a global audience. Ideally, the characteristics of control and efficiency in the data center canbe logically extended to remotes offices as well.Finally, being fluid requires the ability to implement new levels of intelligent functionality that may not even exist within a standardproduct. An enterprise’s requirements or challenges might demand IT to do something very different with a product compared tohow its typically deployed, or it may simply require fine-tuning of operations to act in a more automated, intelligent manner thatbetter supports customer demands.With the convergence of trends like consolidation virtualization, and cloud, IT operations is now at the nexus of data centerchange in a world where application and infrastructure environments are as fluid as end users who flow from one location toanother.Barriers to these Enterprise GoalsDespite these continued efforts to control costs and simplify management through consolidation of infrastructure, distributedorganizations have continued to distribute IT to support those branch locations. Typically the reason has been that consolidatedinfrastructure can’t support the business requirements: either access of data was too slow or too limiting. In response, IT teamsare forced to throw more resources at the problem and take a step away from the fluid data center goal. As a result, thosebranches typically have increasing investments in servers, storage, and ever-increasing networking budgets to support theoperations that now happen across the business.© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 2
  4. 4. The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionGoing one level deeper, these limitations typically come from a few different issues:Application: In many cases the application wasn’t designed for the level of complexity or performance that is required in theproduction environment. It does not efficiently use resources, nor does it optimize its operations for user platforms (e.g. desktopvs. laptop vs. tablet.) In many cases the application and its protocols may be poorly designed for working in a distributedenvironment.Server: Frequently the server infrastructure supporting the application is not designed for a flexible, high performance, globalenvironment. The environment often cannot deal with peaks in traffic, global load balancing, or instant failover.Network: Resources for network access are typically very limited. In many cases the wide area network (WAN) has less than onepercent of the bandwidth of a local area network (LAN), yet more and more users depend on the WAN or the Internet for access toapplications and data. In addition, access over long distances often means higher latency for application access, further limitingperformance and the end user experience. This limited resource can be the bottleneck which prevents enterprises fromsuccessfully consolidating infrastructure.Storage: While applications can be sensitive to performance and network concerns, storage infrastructure is far more sensitive.Users who are doing very large (multi-gigabyte) file reads or file writes must typically be in the same location as the server. Bothusers and applications accessing storage cannot deal with disconnected operations, in the event that a network connection is lost.These same technical limitations put a ceiling on the typical end user experience. Application design, infrastructure design,network constraints, latency, all limit the user experience. If a user is accessing an application via a smartphone or tablet, todaythe experience may be further reduced.Delivering the Unified Performance PlatformRiverbed can help enterprises achieve its goals by overcoming performance limitations in enterprise infrastructure. We aim to takea unified approach to the challenge of performance, uniting distributed and diverse users with many types of applications that areconsolidated into the data center and also extended to remote locations. Leveraging technology that can overcome performancebarriers, IT can then support branch offices at the same levels of performance and efficiency, as they have come to expect fromlocal infrastructure, while providing more scalable, reliable management. Data is securely protected centrally, but users havelocal-like access to applications and data from established locations. Even on-demand locations can be readily spun up to meetnew customer requirements or business changes.Why pursue a performance platform, as opposed to having various, independent performance products? We are providing both. Our goal is to give customers the benefits of a performance platform, but to do so by strategically integrating stand-alone products. These products, in and of themselves, will deliver high performance gains and quick payback. Tied together, however, they have the potential to do even more. Our section later in this paper entitled “vision” describes how this tight integration brings even more performance to enterprise environments. In a way, our approach is analogous to theevolution of the network security industry. Before there was ever a security “industry,” there was a market for firewalls. There wasalso a market for VPNs, and a market for anti-virus. Over time, these smaller markets came together to form a more completeapproach to dealing with data threats. Customers may still buy a standalone VPN or firewall, but it’s more likely today that they arelooking at those purchases within the broader context of their security strategy and investments.© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 3
  5. 5. The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionWe believe the same transformation will take place for performance technologies. Today customers purchase a WAN optimizationcontroller, an application delivery controller or a cloud storage gateway. Separately they may also purchase a performancemonitoring system. In the future they will look at an integrated strategy to performance that will drive larger, more comprehensivedecisions on enabling better application performance across the data center, cloud, branch office, and mobile worker.In order to achieve the benefits of a performance platform, all of Riverbed’s products described below deliver a combination ofthree benefits:Analyze: enterprises need the ability to quickly understand application performance across distributed infrastructures anddistributed user bases. Just as important to understanding applications is the ability to have tools that quickly pinpoint problemswhile providing high-level views that match management needs and detailed views that are useful for engineers.Accelerate: businesses want the ability to accelerate all types of interactions with IT systems and gain new efficiencies in a timewhere cost cutting has increased in importance. This efficiency means everything from a user accessing an application, tocomplex back office operations such as data replication, system migration, consolidation, cloud transformation, and more.Control: just like acceleration, the need for control comes in many forms. IT must control data risk by enabling informationsecurity, but at the same time must ensure high levels of performance and access. They must prioritize limited resources to alignwith business requirements. Security is enhanced enterprise-wide by consolidation of all resources and extension of theseservices from the data center to the branches.Riverbeds Performance PlatformRiverbed delivers five different product lines to support these end goals. As a performance company, Riverbeds goal is to havethe most comprehensive portfolio of performance products anywhere. We work with customers to determine whether they shouldimplement one, a few, or all of these products to meet their goals. These products complement each other in different ways, butour philosophy is that any one of them can provide immediate benefit with simple deployment; more in-depth tuning can lead toeven greater benefits and cross-product capabilities.This last idea is where the platform concept comes to fruition. It’s not only that any one of these products provide performanceoptimizations for your infrastructure, but the products themselves can be integrated in ways that provide even greater benefitsacross your own organization – based on what your business needs and the unique ways you have implemented your own ITsystems. Some examples of that integration are described below. First, however, let’s discuss the products themselves. Steelhead - Steelhead is the industry leading WAN optimization solution. It allows customers to dramatically accelerate applications up to 100x and cut WAN bandwidth use by 65-95%. These benefits, combined with its virtualization capabilities, offer a dual approach to consolidating branch office infrastructure. Enabling the fluid enterprise by simplifying branch management, reducing costs, and increasing operational agility. Steelhead branch consolidation solutions provide IT with greater control over service delivery, while reducing ongoing operational costs.Tens of thousands of customers use Steelhead products in their environments today. Typically, customers report using theseproducts for a few core needs: application acceleration to branch offices and mobile workers, application consolidation andvirtualization, bandwidth optimization and savings, and data protection acceleration.Riverbed has created a number of innovations in this area such as disk-based deduplication of data, application protocolacceleration, latency sensitive-QoS, and more. The end result is a symmetric acceleration technology that gives customers thebest performance across the broadest range of applications. According to the analyst firm IDC, a survey of Steelhead customersshows a fast ROI: typically about 7 months. Granite: Riverbed® Granite™ is edge virtual server infrastructure (Edge-VSI). Granite radically reduces operational burden on IT managers while massively increasing their control over the infrastructure—all at a lower total cost of ownership. Granite is the innovation that enables an architectural disruption known as Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (Edge-VSI). Edge-VSI enables the best of all worlds: 100% consolidated data and applications that deliver LAN performance at the edge over the WAN.© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 4
  6. 6. The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionGranite delivers complete server and storage consolidation. Certain business applications still require local servers and storage tomeet the performance requirements of end users. With Granite, IT can successfully separate branch computing from data storageeliminating the need to purchase and support servers and storage traditionally hosted in branch offices for performance reasons.Users and applications in the branch experience local performance while data is consolidated securely in a central location. WithGranite, storage administrators can also extend a data center SAN to a remote location, even over a low bandwidth link. Granitedelivers business agility, enabling companies to effectively deliver global storage infrastructure anywhere it is needed. Stingray - The Stingray application delivery controller (ADC) family is used by enterprises and large- scale web organizations to improve application performance and to manage the delivery of complex, business-critical web services. Stingray provides data-center based performance optimization, server offload, application reliability, web content optimization, and application firewall capabilities. Stingray also provides robust scripting capabilities that allow enterprises to customize functionality based on their own business requirements.Thousands of customers use Stingray today, both in private cloud environments but also in public cloud environments such asAmazon, RackSpace, ACS, and more. Gartner Group has rated the technologies in the Stingray family “visionary” for theiradvanced approach to ADCs in the rapidly changing data center environment. Cascade - Cascade offers application-aware network performance management, so managers can resolve network and application performance problems before they impact the business. Users can discover, monitor and troubleshoot critical services, get accurate data for strategic IT projects, and communicate performance results clearly to the business, all while lowering IT management costs. Cascade combines flow-based and packet-based monitoring for a complete view of your environment, and integrates seamlessly with Wireshark, the most widely used open source network analysis tool.Using Cascade means an enterprise can effectively gain an end-to-end view of performance throughout their distributedinfrastructure. These views allow enterprises to find problems faster, and reduce the mean time to respond by 80% or more insome cases. Analyst research by IDC shows a payback period of about 6 months on Cascade investments. Whitewater - Whitewater gateways optimize cloud storage, secure data and provide businesses with drop-in access to public cloud storage with local-like performance requiring no changes to the existing backup infrastructure. Built on Riverbed’s industry-leading optimization, network and storage deduplication, and dual-layer encryption, Whitewater overcomes the barriers to making cloud storage an integral part of an organization’s data protection strategy.Customers report securely accelerating backup to the cloud by 20x or more, leveraging a combination of deduplication andprotocol optimization. This performance allows them to potentially eliminate tape backup while cutting the costs of data protectionby up to 50%. Whitewater also gives customers the ability to effectively offsite backup data while knowing they have theperformance levels needed to access that information when it is needed.The Unified Performance Platform VisionRiverbeds product families have proven themselves in tens of thousands of real world customer environments.Working with our customers, we have steadily built core integration that delivers more value from the platform across a distributedenvironment. For example: • Cascade Shark packet capture capabilities have been embedded in Steelhead appliances, providing on-demand branch packet analysis without the need for additional remote infrastructure. At the same time, Steelhead appliances can export advanced NetFlow information to Cascade Profiler. • Stingray ADC has integrated the Cloud Steelhead discovery agent, ensuring that users accessing applications in the cloud get the best possible combined optimization from ADCs and WAN optimizers.© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 5
  7. 7. The Riverbed Performance Platform Vision • Cascade Profiler can incorporate and map Stingray virtual IPs to the physical IPs of back-end servers, providing users a more comprehensive view of their entire application delivery path without complex data mapping or spreadsheets. • Whitewater leverages the battle-tested deduplication mechanism within Steelhead, providing significant storage savings in addition to Steelhead’s bandwidth savings.And while these integrations are useful and powerful, we believe they only scratch the surface of the powerful cross-productcapabilities that we can offer enterprises. As customers have become more familiar with these products, and as they have grownin use across the world, two seemingly disparate requests often surface:Allow enterprises to take advantage of your base functionality, but customize deployments to provide performancebenefits for unique use cases. Enterprise environments are rarely alike. While many have used some of the same applications,the use cases are often highly customized and the logic behind what should be optimized can be radically different.Make your systems easier to integrate into other management platforms. As infrastructure becomes more distributed andmore complex, it becomes more difficult to manage any one vendors products, solutions, or even platforms. Allowing customersto tie new investments into existing system orchestration tools or management tools provides high levels of operational benefit.ProgrammabilityWe believe there is a unified approach that can solve thesetwo challenges, without detracting from the generalperspective that Riverbeds products are easy to implementand provide value out of the box. That approach is to takethe products that make up our performance platform andfurther enhance them through programmability.The concept of programmability can significantly changethe way users interface with our products, and also givesthem the capability to tie together disparate functions intounique workflows to address their specific use cases.These may be referred to as long-tail use cases: they arenot the common use cases such as supporting an out-of-the-box Exchange implementation, but instead morechallenging use cases that are less common or oftenunique to a situation. We will describe two of these below.Today, Riverbed provides forms of programmability within its products. For example, Riverbed Stingray ADC has a powerfullanguage called TrafficScript that allows application developers to develop richer, more capable applications without radically re-architecting their applications. Customers use TrafficScript to provide specialized request handling, greater security andauthentication for sensitive transactions, and better protection for images and documents.Steelhead has the Riverbed Services Platform, which allows customers to put third-party virtual services in our device for morepowerful & cost effective branch operations. RSP then allows the operator to use its “TAPS” to control the flow of data betweenthe different services on a device, thereby producing a different data flow based on the needs of the office.These capabilities are powerful, provide high ROI for customers, and are available today. They are used in thousands of real-world environments already, and show a strong need for the continued development of programmability within the platform. Ourvision, however, goes further than that.Provide a single, comprehensive set of APIs to Riverbed’s performance products to access configuration and data.Create an open community to share and leverage work done around the world, inside and outside Riverbed, in creating new ideasfor utilizing a performance platform.© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 6
  8. 8. The Riverbed Performance Platform VisionHere are two examples of what programmability could achieve across the Riverbed Performance Platform: 1. A particular user commonly complains about poor performance when accessing the web-based ERP portal. So when that particular user accesses the system, trigger a packet capture in the branch office on the Steelhead appliance. Upon completion of the packet capture, transfer the data to Cascade to be analyzed and matched against other voice calls. Use behavioral analysis to determine if there is a significant difference in performance. If there is, then determine changes to the optimization profile or QOS profile and alert the administrator of the situation. Allow the admin to approve the changes, and if accepted, then implement those changes within the WAN optimization or ADC infrastructure. 2. Allow customers to inject new functionality across a distributed application infrastructure. For example, customers may wish to temporarily change all images on a website or intranet portal. Instead of recoding all of the applications, provide the ability to intercept user requests and in real-time adjust or change images to meet short-term requirements, furthermore, optimize the images based on the users viewing platform: pc, tablet, or phone.These are just two examples of how programmability may be used to solve the long tail of unique use cases or isolated requeststhat IT teams must solve for the business. And some customers may simply want to leverage these programmability concepts totie general management of these products into an existing system management interface.In all cases, Riverbed aims to achieve customers goals through a set of consistent REST-based interfaces that allows access tothe functionality and the configuration settings that users would typically go to the Web-based interface or the CLI to access.REST-based programmability would be tied to a scripting language to give users new flexibility to achieve a broad set of goals.In addition to those ideas outlined above, it would give customers a way to unify operations in hybrid cloud environments, whereapplications may be deployed in private clouds, public clouds, or even spread across the two. Riverbed and its tens of thousandsof customers would provide an instant, global community of performance oriented experts who could share scripts and showothers how to leverage the extended power of the Riverbed Performance Platform.ConclusionIn the increasingly global, increasingly complex, ever-accelerating business environments that enterprises operate in today,performance matters more than ever. Customers are looking to drive more out of their existing IT infrastructure while trying tobuild unique differentiation for business operations with their system implementation.Riverbed has a focused vision to help customers achieve this. We recognize that customers have already invested in corenetworking, core applications, and core storage. We provide a performance platform that sits on top of those components toprovide greater performance, insight to application challenges, and the mechanisms to control infrastructure and data that drivegreater productivity, reduce risk, and improve cost efficiency of IT infrastructure.With our programmable approach to performance, we can further empower our customers to address unique use cases andsimplify the management of their complex infrastructure. With Riverbed’s Performance Platform approach, there are now manynew opportunities to accelerate user flow and leverage fluid data centers to support the business goals of the enterprise.About RiverbedRiverbed delivers performance for the globally connected enterprise. With Riverbed, enterprises can successfully and intelligentlyimplement strategic initiatives such as virtualization, consolidation, cloud computing, and disaster recovery without fear ofcompromising performance. By giving enterprises the platform they need to understand, optimize and consolidate their IT,Riverbed helps enterprises to build a fast, fluid and dynamic IT architecture that aligns with the business needs of theorganization. Additional information about Riverbed (NASDAQ: RVBD) is available at www.riverbed.com. Riverbed Technology, Inc. Riverbed Technology Ltd. Riverbed Technology Pte. Ltd. Riverbed Technology K.K. 199 Fremont Street One Thames Valley 391A Orchard Road #22-06/10 Shiba-Koen Plaza Building 9F San Francisco, CA 94105 Wokingham Road, Level 2 Ngee Ann City Tower A 3-6-9, Shiba, Minato-ku Tel: (415) 247-8800 Bracknell. RG42 1NG Singapore 238873 Tokyo, Japan 105-0014 www.riverbed.com United Kingdom Tel: +65 6508-7400 Tel: +81 3 5419 1990 Tel: +44 1344 31 7100© 2012 Riverbed Technology. All rights reserved. 7