New RiOS 4.0 Accelerates SSL, Streamlines Critical Web-based Business Applications, and Simplifies WDS Deployment

Riverbed Technology, Inc., a performance leader in wide-area data services (WDS), has announced the fourth generation of its Riverbed Optimisation System (RiOS).  Based on data and broad experience from more than 1,600 customers, RiOS 4.0 enhancements address customers real-world business challenges.  With RiOS 4.0, enterprises can now apply Riverbeds industry-leading optimisations to SSL traffic for end-to-end secure traffic acceleration, effectively accelerate critical Web-based business applications, and simplify the deployment and management of Riverbeds Steelhead appliances in large, complex and mission-critical environments. 

Our new Branch Office Optimisation report surveyed more than 600 IT professionals and confirmed that remote office security continues to be a top priority for enterprises, and they are rapidly adopting SSL to protect corporate data in an increasingly distributed global business climate, said Jon Oltsik, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group.  SSL application deployment in organisations has increased by 50 to 55 percent, and SSL represents anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of enterprise traffic.  Until now, SSL security and WAN performance were constantly in conflict.  RiOS 4.0 is the first solution to rectify that problem for distributed enterprises."

RiOS 4.0 Accelerates SSL While Maintaining the Preferred Trust Model

Until now, enterprises were forced to trade security for performance because SSL-encrypted traffic normally defeats application acceleration techniques.  Current approaches require enterprises either to turn off SSL to achieve acceleration, or destroy the trust model by requiring SSL certificates and private keys to be copied and moved outside of the data center onto remote servers, a process commonly referred to as certificate faking or certificate spoofing.  Alternatives such as SSL offload accelerate traffic moving over the Internet by offloading CPU cycles from a web server so that it can handle more requests but have minimal impact on TCP, data, or application optimisations.

Riverbed can now accelerate SSL across the WAN without compromising the security trust model, and eliminates distributed key management problems. Riverbed adds SSL acceleration to its existing support for site-to-site VPNs and its site-to-site IPSEC option, offering an advanced, comprehensive set of secure application acceleration capabilities.

Riverbed continues to raise the bar and extend its technology leadership in the WDS market by understanding customers key pain points, said Zeus Kerravala, vice president, Yankee Group.  Enterprises increasingly rely on web-based applications as an integral part of their core business operations.  Now that Riverbed has delivered SSL and HTTPS traffic acceleration with its 4.0 release, companies can satisfy their security requirements without having to sacrifice performance. 

Learning Mechanism Enhances Mission-Critical Web-Based Applications

Riverbed has also added enhancements for Web-based business applications that are now a critical component of day-to-day business operations for its global customer base. Most SSL traffic on the network is HTTPS.  RiOS 4.0 further accelerates HTTP and now can accelerate HTTPS, the underlying protocols that support web-based business applications such as SAP, Siebel, Peoplesoft, IBM Websphere and MS Sharepoint, among others. 

RiOS 4.0 also contains enhancements to its intelligent learning mechanism that discovers and tracks objects on Web pages, such as images, scripts and cascading style sheets.  Once the server-side Steelhead appliance has knowledge of the objects on a page, it can streamline page requests by transferring all the objects in parallel, confining chattiness to the LAN and optimising the WAN data transfer.  The Steelhead appliance on the client side then reconstructs that page and delivers it to the client.   Even with ongoing, dynamic web changes, Steelhead appliances continue to learn and store objects over time and have the tools and mechanisms in place to accelerate them.

Maximum Speed TCP, Simplified Deployments, and High Availability

RiOS 4.0 also improves Riverbeds existing high-speed TCP Optimisations with MX-TCP or Max-Speed TCP.  TCP is a good neighbour protocol that ramps up or backs down transmissions depending on congestion or packet loss in the network.  This congestion-control property of TCP prevents full utilisation of available WAN bandwidth, even on very large WAN connections. 

MX-TCP uses the Quality of Service (QoS) enforcement capabilities of RiOS 4.0 to alter and control the sending rate of traffic to ensure 100 percent utilisation of the allowable bandwidth dedicated by an administrator.  MX-TCP can optimise any site-to-site transfer or replication.  It is designed to work over high bandwidth, high latency connections (also known as long fat networks), or over any connection that might experience heavy packet loss such as a satellite connection.

We do most of our QoS configuration in our Cisco routers, separating out VoIP from data for example, said Ray Sirois, IT manager at Wright Pierce. However, within the data sector, we are finding that we can configure more granularity in our QoS much more easily using the QoS features of our RiOS 4.0 Steelhead appliances. Our users notice the difference. Riverbed makes QoS live up to its namesake:  truly better quality of service.

Additional RiOS 4.0 features include enhanced auto discovery to improve performance and simplify deployments for large, complex environments.  Enhanced auto discovery automatically finds and optimises WAN traffic between the most distant Steelhead pair endpoints, eliminating the need for manual peering in multi-hop environments and requiring no additional configuration. 

Active-active sync enhancements allow customers that cannot afford to lose optimisation performance to create high-availability, hot-failover environments that assure consistent performance at all times.  With this feature, two Steelhead appliances constantly synchronise data and simultaneously optimise connections to guarantee performance for business-critical applications, even in the unlikely event of a Steelhead failure. 


RiOS 4.0 will be generally available in March 2007 at no additional cost to licensees with a current maintenance and support contract, subject to US export controls.  Riverbed is also announcing a software license upgrade on its 1U 520 and 1020 models.  Using a software license key, customers can grow from 300 to 1,000 optimised TCP connections for additional bandwidth or throughput on the same device without forklift upgrades. 


About Riverbeds Steelhead Appliances

Riverbeds WDS solutions enable organisations with more than one office to overcome a host of severe problems, including poor application performance and insufficient bandwidth at remote sites. By speeding the performance of applications between distributed sites by five to 50 times and in some cases up to 100 times between enterprise datacenters and remote offices, Riverbeds award-winning Steelhead WDS appliances enable companies to consolidate IT, improve backup and replication processes to ensure data integrity, and improve staff productivity and collaboration. Steelhead appliances have been deployed in organisations ranging from the worlds largest corporations with offices around the globe to small companies with a couple of sites that are just miles apart.

About Riverbed

Riverbed Technology is the performance leader in wide-area data services (WDS) solutions for companies worldwide. By enabling application performance over the wide area network (WAN) that is orders of magnitude faster than what users experience today, Riverbed is changing the way people work, and enabling a distributed workforce that can collaborate as if they were local.


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