Today, Riverbed was recognized again as one of the top 20 best places to work by Glassdoor.com. As a recognition that comes directly from reviews by Riverbed employees worldwide, this is a great honor for the company. While Riverbed’s employees and partners are in great cities and countries around the globe, the Glassdoor award is also a great honor to San Francisco, the headquarters of Riverbed. With its mix of culture, capitalism, innovation, and sustainability, San Francisco provides a great environment for people and companies.
People with passion and curiosity thrive in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, and thrive at companies like Riverbed Technology. As I reflect on Riverbed’s great qualities, many commonalities with San Francisco itself come to mind:
While you may be embracing the cloud, moving mission-critical applications to the cloud may be a sticking point. In a recent survey looking into top concerns for deploying apps on IaaS clouds, reliability ranked highest with 90% of respondents rating it somewhat or extremely important. Moving to the cloud means that you rely on the cloud providers’ underlying services. Are those underlying services, such as application delivery controllers, ready for prime time?
Most public clouds provide usage-based pricing and associated cost savings, but provisioning, scalability, availability, reliability, security, and disaster recovery issues create potential obstacles to adoption, especially for the “bet your business” applications customers would like to run in the cloud.
Despite technological advances enabling infrastructure centralization and data center transformation, many companies still have too much technology housed at branch offices. According to Forrester Research, a majority of organizations report that half of corporate data is still managed at the branch level—a practice that creates many issues, including incomplete and error-prone backups. A fragmented process for backups is usually the result of rapid growth. Companies start adding branches to capitalize on business opportunities, but may not properly plan for supporting users in those locations. Soon dozens of offices are performing their own backups on different schedules, perhaps with different methods and technologies.
While the bulk of online holiday shopping may be behind us, there are several weeks to go before last-minute shoppers put their credit cards down and reach for the eggnog. Make sure your e-commerce site continues to delight with our grab ‘n’ go performance guide.
This season, millions of consumers flocked online to find deals. Black Friday broke online sales records with a notable jump in mobile traffic and sales. According to data from IBM, smartphones drove about 25% of all online traffic on Black Friday whereas tablets drove 14% of all online sales (compared to half that for smartphones). This means users are warming up to the idea of transacting on ever-smaller form factors.
But not everyone reveled in the revenue. For some, losses occured due to lack of contingency planning for skyrocketing traffic. For instance, Motorola issued an apology after unexpected demand for its Moto X smartphone crashed the device maker's website.
The promised land of modern IT is to be able to respond to any service request and to morph continuously to support desired business outcomes, even as they change day to day. While some organizations are still grappling with the basics, such as squeezing out more utilization from servers, many are moving toward that goal with greater automation and policy-based computing.
As virtualization becomes more prevalent we're seeing data center budgets shift from hardware to software. That software includes tools and solutions to visualize and control cloud-ready corporate networks. Put another way, IT organizations are raising the pillars of software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined data center (SDDC).
Over the last few years, BYOD and the consumerization of IT have created empowered users who drive new levels of innovation and productivity. This new era has also resulted in a troubling unpredictability for IT departments. Power has shifted into the hands of IT users who bring their own devices to work and use the apps and services that they want, sometimes without the knowledge of IT.
At the same time, applications are now significantly more complex, with components distributed across multiple data centers and cloud services. What was once a nice, clean application stack of three distinct tiers (presentation layer, application server/middleware, and database) is now a rather messy mash-up of dynamically changing hardware and software configurations. And these are all connected and delivered via dozens of distinct networks (including mobile) at any given moment.
Riverbed Technology commissioned a survey at the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas from November 11-14, which asked 122 respondents about how their companies engage with Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). What I learned from the survey results is that cloud computing has matured to become a critical part of IT’s responsibilities. And that brings a whole host of collaboration, skills, and technology needs.
Since this survey was at AWS re:Invent, I think it’s fair to say that the audience is more cloud-friendly and cloud-experienced than the mainstream. In fact, 80% reported having deployed their first app to an IaaS cloud more than a year ago. But that only means that their experiences are an indication of things to come. Here are some of the key survey findings illustrating the maturity of IaaS cloud usage:
At the turkey or vegan-friendly table for Thanksgiving, we like choices—some like creamed onions and kale salad, others like stuffing in the turkey, others outside the turkey, some with cranberry jelly, others with cranberry chutney. There's flexibility and every family is different.
Just like Thanksgiving, modern IT staff have a bounty of choices to tailor our environments—a one-size-fits-all strategy typically does not work.
So some companies have open environments, others—like many financials—have tighter, regulatory requirements to restrict/limit access to things like FaceBook, YouTube, and Dropbox. Give thanks that we can do more now.
As an example, many remote and branch office firewalls typically allow access to popular social media sites like YouTube and Facebook for all employees. Some of the staff for marketing and product management initiatives use these sites for corporate promotions and view them as critical to their success. Others might be using them indiscriminately during business critical hours. However, end-user experience might not be as critical for these apps as for others.
The sooner you can figure out the cause of an application issue—that is, if it's the network, infrastructure or the app itself—the more value you can add to the business bottom line right away.
You need to know that your apps are ready to go when you are.
Oddly—as your apps are running—silence is an awesome monitoring tool. That means your apps and networks are in good shape. But how does the silence occur? You must have the tools in place to fix an issue before it becomes a problem.
“Converged infrastructure for your branch offices won’t be completely the same as converged infrastructure for your data center,” wrote Raj Mallempati in his recent Network World article, “What to look for in converged infrastructure for branch offices.”
Why would it? Your data center is full of machines with a few people and your branch office is full of people, ideally with as few machines as possible. This basic distinction has important consequences on the technology required in branch offices. Why? As Raj explained: “You can’t modernize your branch office without taking user performance experience into account.”
It’s tempting to just buy the same converged infrastructure units for your branches as you’re using in the data center. But in his article, Raj provides several capabilities that are critical for branch offices with smaller IT footprints and little to no IT personnel:
Riverbed. WAN optimization for your network: Application acceleration, WAN bandwidth optimization, and IT consolidation. Riverbed is the IT performance company. WAN optimization solutions from Riverbed liberate businesses from common IT constraints by increasing application performance, enabling consolidation, and providing enterprise-wide network and application visibility – all while eliminating the need to increase bandwidth, storage or servers. Thousands of companies trust Riverbed to deliver greater productivity and cost savings by making their IT infrastructure faster, less expensive and more responsive. Riverbed solutions are also available as managed services through select providers.