Riverbed Steelhead Mobile 3 Debuts

Riverbed Technology has announced Steelhead Mobile 3.0, an update to its network optimization product aimed at mobile users of enterprise networks. The new version is intended to more closely work with the recently-released RIOS 6.0 to increase network user productivity while on the road, working from home or connecting wirelessly in the office.

November 3, 2009

3 Min Read
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Riverbed Technology has announced Steelhead Mobile 3.0, an update to its network optimization product aimed at mobile users of enterprise networks. The new version is intended to more closely work with the recently-released RIOS 6.0 to increase network user productivity while on the road, working from home or connecting wirelessly in the office. Steelhead Mobile 3.0 introduces new optimization of Windows and other Microsoft applications, such as SharePoint, Office, Server and CRM. With the new release, Riverbed provides acceleration benefits to Windows 7 and 64-bit systems. Steelhead Mobile 3.0 will be generally available on December 2, 2009. Pricing was not available as of press time.

With Mobile 3.0, as with the Steelhead appliances, WAN acceleration extends further than in previous versions into the application layer for HTTP and HTTPS users, making Web applications even faster. The common architecture of the Steelhead appliance and Steelhead Mobile gives organizations a single solution for optimizing performance of Web-based applications.

Among the technologies employed by Mobile 3.0 are URL learning, page parsing, embedded object pre-fetching and metadata acceleration modes. In addition, the new release features Branch Warming, which allows mobile and branch office users to share optimized data and experience greater overall acceleration. By sharing the data references between the data stores of the Steelhead Mobile client and the branch office Steelhead appliance, mobile workers not only take advantage of all of the optimization benefits of the Steelhead appliance but are also able to contribute data references from their data store to help improve performance for the entire branch office, enabling "warm" performance regardless of location.

Michael Vassallo is senior network administrator for Dancker Sellew & Douglas, a furniture resource and asset management company with headquarters in Somerville, NJ. He says that his firm has been using Steelhead Mobile since "1-point-something" and jumped at the chance to get into the Mobile 3 alpha and beta programs. He says, "I had moved to a 64-bit workstation, so I was without a client until they introduced the alpha. [The new version] also has a lot of features that coexist with RIOS 6, including things like the branch warming and location awareness."

Vassallo is impressed that Mobile 3 works in tight integration with the Steelhead appliance and manages the licenses based on client performance over a WAN link, rather than simple use of the mobile WAN. "We have people in the Syracuse office; they have a Steelhead [appliance], and it looks at the data they've looked at on their mobile client, with information on the data requested passed back and forth so it doesn't have to be refreshed again and again."A key advantage to the entire Steelhead implementation, according to Vassallo, is a reduction in what he calls "WAN sprawl." He says, "Within the first year of having [the Riverbed deployment] we were able to get rid of five or six T1s. The VoIP talks between switches in the branch offices, and now we can go over a single pipe instead of needing lots of additional bandwidth."

By expanding the WAN optimization to mobile users, Vassallo says that the IT department has increased the level of user satisfaction with applications. "The users are definitely happier having Mobile 3 in use. They don't necessarily notice it all the time when it's working, but when it's not working they definitely notice it. If, for example, the laptop comes up wrong and it's not optimizing, they certainly notice the drop in performance," he says.

WAN optimization is increasingly important as companies look to push more individuals out into working on customer sites and away from central offices. Network performance plays a key role in essential worker productivity and is strongly coupled, as Vassallo indicated, in employee satisfaction, as well. Products such as Mobile 3.0, that expand the notion of WAN optimization beyond cabled backbone networks to wireless final-step links, will be increasingly important as mobile workers and mobile platforms each proliferate.

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