Some Notes from an AEC IT Leaders Roundtable Meeting

I recently attended the national Architecture, Engineering and Construction / Information Technology (AEC/IT) Leaders Roundtable meeting in beautiful Huntington Beach, CA. The Roundtable is an excellent place for IT Leaders within AEC firms to hear what others are doing, vet new technologies and share best practices.  Typically, vendors are not allowed during the entire meeting, but I was grandfathered in because of my involvement with the group from my previous job.

The meeting started with folks describing current IT projects and many were the same across companies. Some of the more popular were:

  • Testing out virtual desktops
  • Implementing Microsoft Lync
  • WAN replacement
  • Changing out storage infrastructure
  • Documenting systems
  • SharePoint adoption / enhancements
  • Dealing with more oversees work
  • Moving to the cloud (typically that meant going to Microsofts Office 365)
  • BYOD (Bring your own device)

There was also a lot of discussion on virtual desktops (VDI) with the general consensus being that although the management part of VDI seems to be there, the virtual machine could not handle the graphical requirements of the CAD-based software running on it. So, close but not quite there yet. In fact, of all the companies saying they are testing out VDI, none can confirm running VDI in the production environment.

Regarding BYOD, it is certainly an intriguing notion Having employees simply buy and bring in whatever systems they want then running company-owned applications on those devices via VDI. But, two concerns surfaced; first (As stated above) high-performance / graphically intense VDI is not quite there yet and, second, most are worried about having to support an ever-changing landscape of devices.

So, where does Riverbed fit in with all this? Glad you asked!

  • When it comes to VDI, Citrix Virtual desktop (ICA) traffic can be optimized with the Riverbed Steelheads; in fact we have seen traffic reductions up to 80% !
  • BYOD implies more mobility - As many more devices out there are mobile to start with. The Riverbed mobile product can bring the same optimization seen in Steelheads right to the laptops Mac or PC!
  • The new Steelhead Cloud Accelerator A partnership between Riverbed and Akamai Can dramatically optimize traffic to and from many cloud-based offerings, including Office 365.
  • The Riverbed Steelheads have been optimizing Microsoft SharePoint traffic for a while, but add to that the Riverbed Stingray Aptimizer This software actually reduces the page load time and WAN traffic by optimizing the SharePoint web page itself based on the device and browser you are using. Imagine a one megabyte SharePoint page being reduced to 200K Faster to get there and faster to load on the browser equals a happy, more productive employee!
  • Of course many people know the benefits of the Riverbed Steelheads optimizing WAN traffic. Now imagine that Steelhead also acting as a SAN Even when the actual SAN is at the corporate data center! With Riverbed Granite, you can now extend storage to a branch office while safely keeping it at the datacenterVery cool.


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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 27,000+ customers include 97% of the Fortune 100 and 98% of the Forbes Global 100.

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