The WAN optimization vendor says the latest version also includes HTTP and HTTPS acceleration and support for 64-bit applications.According to Riverbed product marketing manager Joe Ghory, the twin trends of consolidation and virtualization often mean that mobile workers are actually farther away from the data center than they used to be, making WAN optimization more important if they want to maintain performance of their applications. Steelhead Mobile puts that WAN acceleration capability on users laptops.
Ghory explained that Branch Warming is the concept of "warming" a branch office's WAN optimization by synching up the data references created by remote users when they were away from the office. This enables much faster peformance than "cold" usage where everything is pulled from the main office for the first time.
Ghory estimated that in some Sharepoint applications, for example, branch warming could lead to 60 times performance boost with a 98% bandwidth reduction (compared to un-optimized performance) as the Steelhead appliance is able to learn URLs, parse and pre-fetch data and applications, and create a metadata cache. Of course, the benefit comes in only when the mobile users have been accessing data and applications that haven't been accessed when in the branch office.
The latest version of Steelhead Mobile enhances Branch Warming with better auto detection when mobile users return to the office, automatically passing data from the mobile installation to the branch appliance. That way, more requests get the pre-warming benefit -- there's a greater likelihood that what the user is requesting has arleady been pulled into the Steelhead branch appliance and doesn't have to retrieved from the central data center.
As for Windows 7 support, Steelhead Mobile 3.0 will have Microsoft- signed filter drivers for 64-bit Windows 7, speeding peformance on CAD, database management, and other high-performance technical and scientific applications.
Pricing for Steelhead Mobile doesn't change, Ghory said, remaining at $5995 for 10 licences in the Steelhead Mobile Controller Virtual Edition and $12,999 for 30 licenses with the Steelhead Mobile Controller appliance. The software is the same either way, Ghory noted, and additional licenses cost the same in both the Virtual and appliance editions. General availability of Steelhead Mobile 3.0 is scheduled for December 2.