In a sign of increased integration of the product with the rest of Riverbed's product line, Cascade Version 8.4, released today, adds the ability to pro-actively monitor the end-user experience, not just the overal network performance.
According to Yoav Eilat, Riverbed Director of Product Marketing, overall network performance may be abstracted from from what users actually do, so Cascade 8.4 measures network throughput, application throughput, and connnection throughput for aggregated groups of users. That way, IT can measure how fast users can actually do business. It can concentrate only on those points where users were active, and then use "behavioral analytics" to drill down to see who was affected by peformance issues and what caused them.
In addition, Eilat said, Cascade 8.4 can now measure performance in WAN-optimized environments, which is kind of a big deal since Riverbed's main business is optimizing WAN environments.
Version 8.4 is a free upgrade for the "several hundred" Cascade installations in place, more than half of which are in smaller companies. Cascade installations start at about $20,000 to $30,000, but Eilat said these services -- including the new capabilities in Cascade 8.4 -- may also be available to SMBs on a pay per service basis via managed services providers.
Finally, in addition to the upgrade, Riverbed also announced Cascade Sensor-VE, a $495 per site product designed to measure performance at individual branch offices (just as Cascade measures performance at the data center). Sensor-VE requires the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP).