By Kevin Komiega
—After fine-tuning its WAN acceleration hardware appliances, Riverbed Technology has announced a round of software upgrades to its Central Management Console (CMC), as well as a new initiative to integrate its products with popular network and performance management tools.
Riverbed has expanded its technology alliances with partners AlterPoint, Compuware, Mazu Networks, NetDialog, NetScout, OPNET, OpsWare, and SolarWinds to give customers compatibility-tested solutions for a comprehensive view of WAN infrastructures.
Specifically, Riverbed is partnering with the aforementioned network management vendors to address pre-deployment application performance simulation and planning, post-deployment application monitoring and visibility, performance troubleshooting, policy and device configuration management, and service provider-oriented service level agreement (SLA) reporting.
"It's becoming more important that we integrate [our Steelhead appliances] into the world of network management and application performance management," says Alan Saldich, vice president of marketing and alliances at Riverbed. "Customers are telling us that they need to manage our Steelhead products just like they do routers and switches."
Saldich admits that Riverbed's current management products fall short when it comes to reporting more than basic information. That is why the company is working with network management vendors to integrate its proprietary tools with management platforms already in use in customer environments.
"We provide fairly detailed box-level information. Reporting is not our main thing: It's acceleration. Customers want more detail and more global information about their WAN infrastructures," says Saldich.
Riverbed is also going beyond integrating with network management frameworks to beef up its own homegrown management tools in a new version of the CMC. The upgrades found in version 5.0 of CMC include improvements to the software's on-the-fly reporting capabilities, with more-detailed performance information, centralized policy management, and role-based administration at a more granular level than found in previous versions of the product.
The CMC allows configuration, updating, and monitoring of Steelhead appliances through a Web-based interface. The enhancements to the CMC provide network administrators with hierarchical structuring of Steelhead appliances, new policy-based configuration, role-based administration, and centralized security management.
The new role-based administration package for Steelhead appliances and the CMC allows tasks and operational functions to be granularly assigned to different roles. Role-based administration can also be linked to groups of Steelhead appliances so organizations can permit users to have read-only or read/write access to certain operations or appliances.
Configuration of Steelhead appliances in CMC 5.0 is now based on policies that can be assigned among appliance groups and imported from existing Steelhead appliances. Policies can be defined separately for optimization, networking, security, and system configuration elements.
To simplify the management of large deployments, CMC 5.0 enables network managers to categorize and centrally manage Steelhead appliances.
With version 5.0, users can also enable delivery of a pass phrase used to unlock remote encrypted key vaults on Steelhead appliances. Key vaults maintain private keys for SSL acceleration, IPsec, and disk encryption.