Riverbed removes steel from WAN juicing Steelhead
Fake appliance goes anywhere
Riverbed has released a version of its Steelhead WAN optimization appliance that isn't an appliance. You might say it's a Steelhead without the steel.
Yes, it's a Virtual Steelhead, and the company tells us it's meant for offices that just don't have room for a (real) appliance, data centers that have already virtualized everything else, and military outfits that wanna put WAN optimization on hardware that can be dropped out of the back of an airplane. "With the Virtual, you can put it on whatever hardware you like," says Riverbed's Nik Rouda, director of marketing for Steelhead WAN Optimization.
The Virtual Steelhead will be available later this quarter.
Riverbed optimizes wide area networks by de-duping network traffic, working to quash the inefficiencies of underlying network protocols, and reducing network round trips at the application layer. Rouda says that simply by de-duping traffic, its technology can reduce bandwidth utilization by 60 to 95 per cent.
In addition to offering a (real) Steelhead appliance for optimizing WAN performance from a central location, the company offers a mobile version does much the same for individual laptops and desktops.
The unreal Steelhead appliance runs on VMware's ESX and ESXi version 4 hypervisors. But the company plans to support other hypervisors in future. ®
A stretch perhaps but...
...the Steelhead was replaced at least once by these contractors to specifically attempt to solve this issue. There were other visits to address the Steelhead caching problems that I was not privy to, owing to my being only a lowly CAD operator not capable of understanding the relevance of IT problems to his work.
Obvious Paris angle
So having removed the steel, Riverbed are now offering head?
Barbed Versus Barbless
Used a Steelhead once in an AutoCAD application. Corporate IT, diligent but some 3500 miles away on the other side of North America, were constantly scratching their heads and tweaking it to work for intolerably slow DWG saves.
Turns out it couldn't dedup DWG saves because AutoCAD "uses a type of error-checking that causes nearly every byte of the file to be changed during a full-save, even if the data itself was barely changed" as Autodesk puts it. Since a typical AutoCAD install is setup to do frequent saves for obvious reasons that provided an entertaining year of agonizingly slow server access while we were all in the dark. Eventually AutoDesk provided an explanation and a fix.
A Virtual Steelhead wouldn't have solved that problem but it may have saved the cost of hiring local IT contractors to visit the office multiple times to attempt to solve a problem that wasn't the Steelhead's in the first place.