Dormain Drewitz

On the ground at European SharePoint Conference 2013: What Riverbed does for SharePoint

Today was day 1 of the 2013 European SharePoint Conference, a gathering of SharePoint experts, developers, and administrators from across Europe and beyond. As can be the case at events like this, I spoke with a LOT of people who asked: What can Riverbed do for SharePoint? I thought I would summarize the answer in this post.

But first, a little fun with history that may or may not have anything to do with SharePoint ;)

526440_10151316309768842_1597085064_n I arrived in beautiful Copenhagen over the weekend to help adjust to the nine-hour time difference from San Francisco, as well as take in some of the local sights, since this is my first visit to the Nordic region. My favorite site was the Christiansborg Palace specifically, the ruins on display underneath the current palace that tell a nearly millennium-long history of the site, from Bishop Absalons founding of the city to the current Third Christiansborg palace. One thing I learned was that the earlier site was home to the medieval-style Copenhagen Castle, which was torn down in 1731 to make way for a new absolutist-style (first) Christiansborg Palace. Basically, the old castle wasnt cutting it and from the comments written by various ambassadors from around Europe at the time, it was a pretty sorry sight and an embarrassment to the monarchy of the day. Expectations were different in the eighteenth century. Keep in mind that this was shortly after Louis XIV had built the palace at Versaille, and around the same time of the building of the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, so monarchs all around Europe were upgrading their fortress-like medieval castles into more opulent and symbolically powerful structures. Building the palace in Copenhagen was about convincing the outside world that Denmark was a force to be reckoned by was sending ambassadors home with the right impression.

Lesson learned: first impressions matter.

Why performance matters for SharePoint

Quite simply, performance matters for user adoption and productivity. Just like those ambassadors turning their noses up at the old Copenhagen Castle, users (whether internal or external) are not going to like using a slow, painful SharePoint site.

I managed to escape from the booth and make it to Christian Buckleys session on The Four Facets of SharePoint Productivity (his slides will be available here soon). In addition to great guidelines for taxonomy, workflows, and social features, Buckley (as always) provides a great business-level context for enhancing SharePoint productivity: its the key to ROI on an investment in SharePoint.

Whether youve invested or are about to invest in a SharePoint deployment, if users arent using the platform (or you dont have a plan for ensuring users will use it), then youre not going to get a return on that investment. Check out my post on SharePoint productivity and ROI.

Riverbed and SharePoint performance

There are a number of bottlenecks that exist along any applications delivery foodchain:

1. The network: If you have users connecting to SharePoint over a WAN, they are dealing with some amount of latency and a finite amount of bandwidth (which must be shared with numerous other applications). This is where our Steelhead WAN optimization comes into play. While reducing bandwidth consumption by 65-95% on average, Steelhead appliances can accelerate document upload and downloads by about 25-30x on average. Check out a 90-day trial of a Virtual Steelhead appliance.

2. The servers: If you need your SharePoint farm to scale to serve more users, you need to drive more server throughput. The beauty of the Riverbed Stingray Traffic Manager is that it is natively a BCV3YfECEAI0JQZ.jpg-largesoftware load-balancer that can put more control back into the hands of application administration and development teams. Check out the free developer edition.

 3. The page content: Broadly speaking, SharePoint pages have gotten heavier with content (images, stylesheets, javascript, etc.), which slows performance with more roundtrips between the web server and the browser, and with more data that must be pushed out to the client browser. Riverbed Stingray Aptimizer software can accelerate page load times for remote end users up to 4x by combining stylesheets, spriting and compressing images, and other optimizations. Download the Site Analyzer tool to see if your SharePoint site would benefit from web content optimization.

If youre at the conference, stop by the booth to learn more or see a demo of Stingray Aptimizer. You can also follow me at @DormainDrewitz for live updates.

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Riverbed delivers the most complete platform for Location-Independent Computing, turning location and distance into a competitive advantage. The Riverbed Application Performance Platform™ allows IT to have the flexibility to host applications and data in the most optimal locations while ensuring applications perform as expected, data is always available when needed, and performance issues are detected and fixed before end users notice. At more than $1 billion in annual revenue, Riverbed has 25,000+ customers, including 97% of both the Fortune 100 and the Forbes Global 100.

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