Webinar Analysis: 3 Ways to Speed Office 365 Adoption


Microsoft Office 365 adoption is soaring, and everyone knows why. It's simply better business, and now four out of five Fortune 500 companies are using it. But Software as a Service (SaaS) can also mean less visibility and control over performance, not to mention the challenges of migrating to it. That's where Riverbed comes in — including exciting new features from the Riverbed SteelConnect™ SD-WAN solution.

As revealed in the recent webinar "3 Ways to Speed Office 365 Adoption," Riverbed can assist in the migration to Office 365 and keeping it running as smoothly as possible to provide the best possible experience for end users. These can be organized into three major solutions:

  • Planning and readiness
  • Monitoring and improving the end-user experience
  • Ongoing performance optimization

Riverbed Connections spoke with Mark Woods, senior solutions marketing manager at Riverbed, to learn more about what Riverbed can bring to the table.

“We predict that, through 2019, more than half of all global-scale deployments of Microsoft Office 365 will experience network-related performance problems.”
- "Network Design Best Practices for Office 365,” Gartner. August 2016

Planning and readiness

SaaS-based applications like Office 365 have very different network and infrastructure requirements than do apps running on-premises, so many enterprises will need to plan ahead and make certain changes to ensure a successful transition.

"There are a couple of dimensions to planning and readiness," says Woods. "One is planning for the actual migration process, which will help you avoid a number of pitfalls. Then once you’ve got users on board with Office 365, you need to make sure that they’re going to enjoy good performance. If you don't, the users will be unhappy and less productive."

SaaS migrations are a Riverbed Professional Services (RPS) specialty. They'll identify network-related risks and constraints that can cause performance issues, unplanned costs, and schedule delays. RPS will also show how to deliver the best performance and lowest TCO across hybrid networks.

Monitoring and improving the end-user experience

After completing migration to the cloud-based applications, it's important to ensure continued user satisfaction. The key is to monitor performance and availability from the end-user perspective — something that is lacking in many monitoring solutions.

Riverbed SteelCentral™ Aternity closes this gap with true end-user monitoring in real time, letting IT teams identify performance problems faster and attain the service levels demanded by the business.

As Woods explains, SteelCentral Aternity has the ability to show whether a performance issue is associated with the server (cloud), network, or end-user device. Once you know where the problem lies, you can drill down with Aternity or other SteelCentral tools to pinpoint and remedy the cause, often before end users even notice there's a problem.

"You can also use SteelCentral Aternity to set service levels," says Woods. "Just tell Aternity what an acceptable threshold is, and it will tell you what percentage of the time application performance is within that threshold. It does this on a per-user basis, and you can aggregate that up and see how you're doing across a larger group, the whole organization, or just one site."

Ongoing performance optimization

Riverbed wrote the book on WAN acceleration, and its industry-standard SteelHead™ technology still rules the roost in these days of hybrid cloud infrastructures and SaaS applications. As seen in Figure 1, SteelHead SaaS can reduce data transfers by 97% and accelerate the speed of Office 365 traffic by up to 33 times, leaving end users feeling like they're using local applications after all.

Businesses will realize still greater gains by adopting software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology, such as Riverbed SteelConnect. SD-WAN offers easily configured, software-defined networking, making it a simple matter to provision branch sites and set up cloud-based applications like Office 365. Then the performance benefits begin.

"SteelConnect SD-WAN has a lot of capabilities, but what applies most directly to Office 365 is the ability to separate application traffic and send it down different paths," says Woods. "For example, you might assign latency-critical Skype traffic to the fastest pipes, while sending routine SharePoint file downloads through more standard channels. By optimizing the allocation of your infrastructure, every user can have the best possible experience."

Watch the on-demand webinar for more

For more on how Riverbed can turbocharge Office 365 deployments, watch the webinar "3 Ways to Speed Office 365 Adoption," in which Microsoft and Riverbed experts go into greater depth on the Microsoft FastTrack program, end-user experience monitoring, and how to deliver optimal Office 365 performance.

Further reading