Riverbed accelerates secure traffic

By Kevin Komiega

—The wide area data services (WDS) market continues to buzz as a number of vendors are rolling out new or enhanced versions of their wide area files services (WAFS) and WAN optimization products. The latest vendor to upgrade its product line is Riverbed Technology with this month's release of the company's latest version of the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS).

With RiOS version 4.0, Riverbed is extending its WAN optimization technology to accommodate secure SSL traffic as well as enhancing its TCP optimizations with a new feature called MX-TCP.

According to Alan Saldich, vice president of product marketing at Riverbed, enterprises have historically been forced to trade security for performance because SSL-encrypted traffic normally defeats application acceleration techniques. He says Riverbed can now accelerate SSL across the WAN without compromising the security trust model and can eliminate distributed key management problems.

Riverbed also added enhancements for Web-based applications. Most SSL traffic on the network is HTTPS. RiOS 4.0 can now accelerate HTTPS, the underlying protocols that support Web-based applications such as SAP, Siebel, PeopleSoft, IBM WebSphere, and MS SharePoint, among others.

RiOS 4.0 also improves Riverbed's existing high-speed TCP optimization with MX-TCP, or Max-Speed TCP. MX-TCP uses the quality of service (QoS) enforcement capabilities of RiOS 4.0 to alter and control the sending rate of traffic to ensure 100% utilization of the allowable bandwidth dedicated by an administrator.

MX-TCP can optimize any site-to-site transfer or replication. It is designed to work over high-bandwidth, high-latency connections, or over any connection that might experience heavy packet loss such as a satellite connection.

"With MX-TCP, we're making WAN-based backup, replication, and even transfers faster, letting companies take full advantage of the bandwidth they already have," Saldich says.

Additional RiOS 4.0 features include enhanced auto discovery to improve performance and simplify deployments for large environments. The software's auto-discovery feature automatically finds and optimizes WAN traffic between Riverbed's Steelhead WDS appliances, eliminating the need for manual peering in multi-hop environments.

Also, active-active sync enhancements let customers create hot-fail-over environments. With this feature, two Steelhead appliances constantly synchronize data and simultaneously optimize connections.

RiOS 4.0 will be generally available this month as a free upgrade for current Riverbed licensees who have a maintenance and support contract. Riverbed is also announcing a software license upgrade on its 1U 520 and 1020 models. The new software license key will enable customers to increase the number of optimized TCP connections in use from 300 to 1,000 for additional bandwidth or throughput on the same device.

This article was originally published on March 08, 2007