Troubleshooting Branch Issues with NEW SteelCentral NetShark Virtual for SteelFusion Edge

As organizations get more distributed and the IT environment increasingly hybridized, it’s more important than ever to have visibility into the branch and other remote sites. Today, many site-to-site applications like VoIP or SaaS applications completely bypass traditional centralized monitoring in the data center and that means IT is essentially blind when problems happen. In the past, they’ve typically had to install smaller versions of dedicated monitoring appliances in the branch to get the visibility they need—an expensive and time-consuming proposition—or just go without.

There is a superior and cost-effective solution to this problem. Use SteelHead or SteelFusion together with SteelCentral performance management.

Every SteelHead can send a special SteelHead-aware version of NetFlow called SteelFlow to the SteelCentral NetProfiler performance management solution for enhanced visibility and reporting into what is occurring on the optimized WAN and in the branch. Sending SteelFlow to NetProfiler provides so much rich information—information that you simply cannot get from using any other performance management solution with your SteelHeads. With NetProfiler you get:

  • Enhanced SteelHead WAN optimization analysis and reporting
  • Real-time intelligence and visibility into more than 1300 business and recreational applications
  • Centralized reporting and monitoring of SteelHead QoS classes and sites
  • Accurate response time analysis of optimized applications
  • The ability to understand and monitor path selection

Three guidelines to follow when evaluating legacy apps for the cloud

It probably comes as no surprise that 81% of businesses are using or are planning to use the cloud for mission-critical apps within the next two years.

But while cloud has hit the mainstream, remember this: not every application will be suitable for it.

In particular, legacy or in-house developed applications are often not viable candidates for the cloud. These apps are typically more complex than an organization’s non-legacy counterparts. They may also have critical local dependencies and rely on legacy protocols or operating systems that are not even available or supported by cloud providers.

Even if it is technically possible to migrate a legacy app, without understanding the ramifications on performance, end-user experience, and costs to the business, such a move could be disastrous.

Of course, this doesn’t mean all is lost if you are considering moving a legacy application to the cloud. To minimize the risks and ensure migration success, follow the three guidelines outlined in this post (and be sure to download our free white paper for a more in-depth look at this topic).  

Make Your Troubleshooting Routine Work for You

Or the Value of Troubleshooting Routines

If you’re like most people, you have a morning routine so you can get out the door by a specific time and beat the traffic. You take a quick shower, brush your teeth, then grab underwear and socks from the dresser and pants and a shirt from the closet, then eat in the car (bad, but you know we all do it). Whatever your routine, you have one and you probably don’t vary it much because it works for you.

Believe it or not, the same thing is true for network operations managers. They also rely on routines to identify and diagnose common performance issues. 

Before designing this version of SteelCentral NetProfiler, Riverbed observed about two dozen customers while troubleshooting everyday performance problems. 95% of them took the exact same steps and looked at the exact same metrics to determine if a user’s complaint of application slowness was caused by an obvious network issue or not. The biggest issue they typically face is the number of places that they have to look in order to review these metrics. The multi-step data gathering approach takes longer and is more prone to error.

This new version of SteelCentral™ NetProfiler, version 10.8.5 (don’t let the number fool you—it’s much cooler and more important than a dot release), is designed to help network operations managers solve everyday problems faster and more easily. With NetProfiler 10.8.5 you get:

  • Answers to basic questions more quickly in a single view with new operations-centric dashboards 
  • Context – like business hour reporting and time comparisons – to help understand trends and make decision-making easier
  • Faster management of related dashboard widgets by editing widget criteria in one place and applying it to all other related widgets automatically

Become Alexander the Great of Your Application Performance World

Recently, IDC produced a white paper titled Conquering Next-Generation Application Performance, which takes a close look at the performance of next generation application workloads as it applies to a businesses’ success.

Combine the reliance that businesses are placing on mobile and data mobility with rapidly rising cloud technology, the virtualization of everything, and the sheer unprecedented mass of data that is being generated on a scale that has never been seen before—and you get application performance turning out to be more important today than in the entire history of IT.

With this in mind, IDC’s white paper poses the obvious question: How are organizations meeting the challenge?

SteelCentral AppInternals 10: The best just got a whole lot better

I’m excited to announce our revolutionary new version of SteelCentral AppInternals, which is a radical re-imagining of our Application Performance Management solution.

As an APM subject matter expert for Riverbed for the past 12 years, I’ve helped hundreds of customers around the world solve mission-critical application performance issues with AppInternals. I’ve watched it steadily evolve from a fledgling version 2.6 to the powerhouse that was version 9, but version 10 is a quantum leap forward.

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Four trends to watch in the hybrid IT world

This is an era where connectedness of a global workforce is cliché, where the remote employee is expected to use Hybrid+computingonline collaborative platforms to make once-unimaginable processes run like clockwork, and where data is more important than a “gut-feeling.” Unfortunately, this revolution has brought technical complexities with it. Enterprises that continue to deliver performance in the face of these complexities will enable their workforce for increased productivity, and eventually, improved bottom-line performance. Here is the skinny on some of the critical technological trends in the industry and our two cents on surviving them. 

XaaS: XaaS isn’t just hip – it gives agility and simplicity along with an efficient “pay-as-you-go” pricing model. Based on a research by Forrester[1], 63% of large, global companies with annual revenues of over $1B consider adopting SaaS as an important initiative. Of the research respondents, 69% realize that the ability to detect, alert on and potentially self-heal issues is an important hurdle to cross. They have good reason. With critical applications running off the cloud, network and application managers are answerable when sales teams cannot access customer information on, or when employees across the organization cannot collaborate due to performance issues with SharePoint. Since data flows over the public Internet to the cloud, it is hard to pinpoint the source of performance issues…unless probes can be installed near the end user and at the cloud to get this information. This is unique End-user Experience (EuE) visibility via Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) that Riverbed can provide in addition to its industry-leading optimization and control functions. SteelHead improves SaaS application performance by up to 33x. This is full visibility, control and optimization for SaaS. It doesn’t get sassier than that!

Riverbed successfully completes ONUG’s first testing program in SD-WAN

Last week, Riverbed met all the industry-defined standards for delivering a SD-WAN to its 24,000 customers by completing the Open Networking User Group (ONUG)’s first testing program to validate market solutions against key IT requirements. Riverbed SteelHead, our leading application optimization solution, was put to the test for SD-WAN capabilities and performed superbly.Riverbed+ONUG+Testing

The ONUG use case validation testing is a landmark event in the networking industry, signaling the first time commercial solutions are being tested against requirements outlined by the ONUG Working Groups. This extensive three-month testing process was conducted by Ixia in conjunction with ONUG. The ONUG tests aim to provide proof of concepts, feature validation, and demonstrations to ensure that the networking solutions in the network overlays, SD-WAN, and network services virtualization areas deliver on the top ten requirements developed by the ONUG Working Groups. SteelHead delivered on all ten ONUG requirements.

SteelCentral encouraging collaboration across IT silos

If there is one theme in IT infrastructure that I see occurring over and over again in today’s industry, it is cross-domain management.EMA logo

We are all familiar with the network operations center (NOC), home to the network-centric view of infrastructure monitoring. Enterprise IT organizations have multiple technology domains that are managed by specialized administrative teams with siloed management tools. The NOC is just one such example. However, these silos are a problem. Culturally they discourage collaboration during troubleshooting events, and technically they lead to management tools that lack end-to-end views into business-centric objectives like service quality and end-user experience.

Things are changing, and the days of the independent NOC are coming to an end. In our most recent network management megatrends research, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that 40% of enterprises have integrated network operations monitoring into a converged, cross-domain operations center.   These operations centers are environments where network engineers, systems administrators, storage systems managers, virtualization specialists, and application managers work together to monitor services and manage events. These cross-domain teams can help enterprises eliminate the operational silos that impede their ability to focus on business objectives like service quality. But these teams need integrated tools to succeed. EMA research has found, for example, that 39% of enterprises require their network management tools to be integrated with application performance management (APM) tools.

Establishing an end-to-end, service-centric view of IT operations is really about understanding and modeling relationships—relationships that exist both within technology domains and between them. For instance, an APM tool needs to understand how web servers, application servers, and database servers interact to deliver a service. Network performance management (NPM) tools need to understand how each node on a network combines to provide a network path for those applications to traverse.

For a few years now, Riverbed’s SteelCentral family of products has offered many of the basic APM and NPM tools that can serve as the basic building blocks of a cross-domain operations toolset. NetSensor monitors the health and performance of network components. NetProfiler measures overall network performance through packet and flow analysis. AppResponse provides network-based application performance management. And AppInternals provides code-level application performance and end-user experience monitoring. Each of these tools on their own can provide good insight to the network management team or the application team, but together they can provide unified visibility into service quality.

With SteelCentral Portal, Riverbed has addressed the requirement of unified visibility. Portal is a front-end integration of the four SteelCentral tools. Combining Riverbed’s AppMapper, an application discovery and dependency mapping (ADDM) tool, with live monitoring and performance data from all of the SteelCentral tools, Portal gives infrastructure operations an integrated view of user experience, application performance, system performance, and network performance in one interface. Administrators can quickly zero in on service quality events in the traditional ADDM interface and then drill into APM and NPM views that get to the root of the problem. Such a tool should help IT operations maintain an end-to-end service quality view of the data center, and it should encourage collaboration across IT silos.

This is a guest blog post by Shamus McGillicuddy, Senior Analyst, Network Mangagment, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).


A new era for on-demand video and live streaming! Viocorp joins the Riverbed-Ready Technology Alliance Program

Riverbed welcomes Viocorp to the Riverbed-Ready Technology Alliance Program for a collaboration that brings you a Streaming+video+optimization+bigger and better online video experience, optimized for large-scale viewing! How is the new collaboration between Riverbed and Viocorp’s technologies providing a seamless experience for our customers? Well, it all comes down to the joint solution’s ability to address the technical challenges currently being experienced when using online video effectively for large-scale viewing.

Through this new alliance, the companies will enable large-scale, live and on-demand video on enterprise networks leveraging Viocorp’s Viostream and Riverbed SteelHead, the industry’s #1 optimization solution for accelerated delivery of all applications across the hybrid enterprise. Greg Miner, CEO, Viocorp, had this to say about the integrated technologies: “This alliance marks a new era of on-demand video and live streaming by optimizing the transmission of video over the WAN, reducing the impact of consumption on the network, and delivering a higher return on existing IT infrastructure.”

Azure networking features WAN optimization at Ignite

As companies are migrating to the Cloud, application performance needs to be seamlessly maintained.  At Microsoft Ignite this week, the Azure Networking team has done a great job walking attendees through all the new cloud features released this week; the power of these enhancements; the breadth of solutions within Azure, ExpressRoute, as well as advanced connectivity with a deep focus on the needs of enterprise customers.

Riverbed+at+IgniteAs part of their sessions, they have consistently been highlighting the key ecosystem components - ADCs, WAN optimization, and Security Appliances.  Riverbed is proud to be the featured WAN optimization partner.

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Riverbed, at more than $1 billion in annual revenue, is the leader in application performance infrastructure, delivering the most complete platform for the hybrid enterprise to ensure applications perform as expected, data is always available when needed, and performance issues can be proactively detected and resolved before impacting business performance. Riverbed enables hybrid enterprises to transform application performance into a competitive advantage by maximizing employee productivity and leveraging IT to create new forms of operational agility. Riverbed’s 26,000+ customers include 97% of the Fortune 100 and 98% of the Forbes Global 100.

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