Riverbed Technology recently announced the upcoming release of its new Steelhead Mobile product, a software client version of its wide area data services technology. The product aims to provide LAN-like application performance for remote and wirelessly connected workers and is currently in beta testing. However, Riverbed is not alone in offering client WAN optimization software.
Riverbed Technology has announced the release of its Steelhead Mobile product.
Most vendors in the optimization/acceleration space have either already launched a client offering or are planning to. Some companies have gained the capability through acquisition, such as Packeteer (the Mobiliti client via Tacit), Citrix (the Jibe client via Orbital), and Blue Coat (adding optimization/acceleration to the Permeo SSL VPN client), while Juniper is taking a similar route to Riverbed and developing the capability in-house. One exception is Cisco, which chooses to take a different view, or at least to articulate that the market is not quite ready for such client software.
Within the majority of organizations, IT departments are becoming more accountable for application performance. They are feeling the pressure when applications do not live up to expectations, with estimates from as low as 20% of applications actually meeting their reliability targets. This is clearly seen with centralization and the use of VoIP, which place increasing focus on remote access to applications, where performance and reliability over the WAN can be a major issue.
Consolidation strategies become much more feasible when the barrier of poorly executed remote services is removed. The argument for server centralization becomes persuasive when the performance of applications over a WAN can be guaranteed, enabling easier management, auditing capability and disaster recovery, along with better security, compliance and lower infrastructure costs. The reduction in application response times makes the remote workforce more productive, and can provide a welcome boost to usability for enterprise applications by increasing the number of employees using the software. Poor performance is a major cause of disenchantment with computer systems, which leads many to stop using them despite investment in training.
Application performance at the edge of the network is now critical to the success of most companies, providing the basis for improved productivity and better usability. The IT department must, firstly, deploy the means to measure application performance, and secondly, implement tactical and strategic mechanisms to improve application performance for remote users.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)