Riverbed Technology unleashed a volley of new product announcements at this week's VMworld, including integration of its Stingray Traffic Manager with VMware's vFabric Application Director.
The integration combines Riverbed's software and virtual application delivery controller (ADC) with vFabric Application Director to help enterprises create application blueprints that can be used to quickly provision and scale multitier applications in a hybrid cloud environment. The Stingray Traffic Manager ADC adds an additional layer to help enterprises deploy these applications in a scalable manner so that performance requirements are met, says Venugopal Pai, VP of global alliances for the company.
Riverbed's Layer 7 software ADC can be deployed in private, public and hybrid clouds. It features scripting and APIs so that it can be managed as an application and provisioned like a service. Pai says this makes it better suited than a hardware load balancer to accelerate multitier applications in a virtual or cloud environment.
The first set of blueprints available through this integration has been developed in collaboration with Zend to support the Magento eCommerce store on a clustered, high-availability Zend server. Additional blueprints for popular enterprise applications are forthcoming, according to Pai, who adds, "This capability simplifies the deployment of applications in a virtual data center or a cloud-based architecture."
Stingray is targeted at improving application performance in the data center through a completely software-based ADC. It can sit on top of any platform, says Pai, and multiple ADCs can be spawned as more applications are deployed to maintain performance. "The virtualized environment can now be automatically flexible to the needs of the application, as opposed to being dependent of the pipes and the peaks of the network," he says.
Tracy Corbo, principal research analyst at Enterprise Management Associates' network management practice, called Riverbed's Stingray ADC is a critical part of making cloud architectures work, whether they're private, public or hybrid. "You have to figure out a way to get applications accelerated in cloud environments so you get the level of performance you're looking for," she says. "If it doesn't perform as well as it does on the LAN, users won't be happy."
Just as important are the blueprints, she adds, which means application deployments that have been optimized are repeatable. "You don't have to re-create everything every time a new application comes along."
Riverbed also announced other product updates and showcases meant to enhance its partnership with VMware:
• It extended its Cascade network management appliance product line support for VXLAN so it can be used in software-defined networks. Pai says this will allow for better monitoring and troubleshooting of issues on the WAN, LAN, software-defined network or cloud.
• It announced that it will continue to integrate its Steelhead Cloud Edition with vCloud Director to help organizations more easily deploy, configure and manage WAN optimization-as-a-service for virtual data centers.
• It also showcased its Granite Edge Virtual Server Infrastructure (Edge-VSI) in concert with VMware View at VMworld. Edge-VSI connects the company's Granite appliance to View servers to quickly make copies of virtual desktops to the appliance. By continuously synchronizing them, an organization's IT department can consolidate branch servers, virtual desktops, applications and end user data to the data center. At the same time, it can still deliver services to users at the edge as if they were local, thereby addressing performance and latency issues that stifle VDI deployments.
Jim Frey, a research director at Enterprise Management Associates, says Riverbed has transitioned well into virtualized environments by adapting its product offerings. "Stingray is an excellent example," he says, adding it was the first viable, pure software option for an ADC.
"Riverbed, as well as the whole category of performance optimization, monitoring and management vendors, are cognizant of this shift to virtualized infrastructures," says Frey. "They're all making adaptations to their product lines to accommodate this shift."
These vendors have tied their fortunes to VMware to a large degree, he says, but many have announced intentions to extend their product capabilities to non-VMware virtualized environments. "Some of them are further along than others down that path."