Riverbed: Cascade and Steelhead integration boosts app visibility

Riverbed integrates Cascade performance management with Steelhead WAN optimization line for increased visibility from any point on the network.

Riverbed Technology has integrated its Cascade performance management software into its Steelhead WAN optimization product line to combine deep application visibility and network control from anywhere on the network.  

The integration of Riverbed Cascade and Steelhead gives network administrators the ability to centrally manage applications across private WAN links and public Internet connections from any point on the WAN.

"It's becoming more important to give customers both application visibility and control anywhere along the network, and then be able to target how [IT] can apply and prioritize acceleration -- not just WAN optimization," said Dimitri Vlachos, vice president of marketing for the Riverbed Cascade business unit. "These are the types of decisions we are hearing an overwhelming amount of [network administrators] ask for."

Riverbed Cascade 10.5: Deeper visibility, increased management at all points on the network

With the Riverbed Cascade 10.5 integration, network administrators will have increased visibility and control into application performance directly through their Steelhead WAN optimization appliances. The integration will enhance their ability to accelerate the delivery of applications and quickly resolve performance problems, the San Francisco-based vendor said.

The integration of both Cascade Profiler and Shark with Steelhead gives Steelhead customers increased visibility and control without needing additional hardware or probes.

"No matter what device [an enterprise] has deployed from Riverbed -- whether it's a Steelhead or a virtual appliance in the cloud, all those tools can now send deep application intelligence to our Cascade tool, so [IT] can now see and have that control wherever there may be an issue," Vlachos said.

The Layer 7 visibility provided by Cascade integration will enable Steelhead customers to get better visibility and control into application flows between branches or between mobile users, said Bob Laliberte, senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) Inc. "Out of the box, over 1,000 common applications can be identified with [Cascade 10.5]," he said.

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"Not all applications are sending data back to one central area anymore where it can be measured and monitored," Riverbed's Vlachos said. "The ability to have any device on the network collecting data is critical in adapting to more of the peer-to-peer type of applications being deployed today, especially for voice over IP and collaboration apps."

Bedroc, a Franklin, Tenn.-based systems integrator that resells and implements Riverbed products, has a large base of healthcare customers who want visibility into their Tier 1 -- or critical healthcare applications -- from the data center all the way to the end user -- typically a doctor or nurse, said Chase Wilkinson, president and CEO of Bedroc.

"Customers are really asking for this visibility," he said. "They need to see what is actually causing the problem with the application -- is it the server, network, or even something else along the way" 

Instead of seeing only port numbers on where an issue is coming from, Cascade 10.5 will be able to show network administrators which application is causing the problem. "Customers want to see what apps are taking up all the bandwidth or creating a problem, so [Cascade 10.5's] increased visibility capabilities will grant customers a better view into their networks without needing to dig deep," Wilkinson said.  

Dynamic application reprioritization on the fly

With the Riverbed Cascade integration, Steelhead appliances can now make better decisions with Path Selection technology. Steelhead can use Cascade to identify mission-critical application performance issues and make path selection decisions. Adjusting policies and changing traffic paths on the fly wasn't nearly as easy for IT as it is with the latest version of Cascade, Bedroc's Wilkinson said.

The increased application visibility offered by the Cascade/Steelhead integration can help IT determine how many resources should be allocated to each application, and change the priority of each application as needed, ESG's Laliberte said.  

"For situations like high-priority apps only using half of the bandwidth IT has set aside for it, that capacity can be moved [to] another application that might be struggling and could use more," he said. "With that extended visibility across the whole network, IT will be able to quickly realize those needs and reprioritize their resources on the fly."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter. 

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