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Re: riverbed steelhead
From: Elijah Savage <esavage () digitalrage org>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 14:21:14 -0400 (EDT)

Anyone out there have experience with Riverbed Steelhead products?
Do they improve TCP performance over WAN links? is it worth the price?


James and Eric have done outstanding contributing here. I just wanted to add a tad bit of information leaving out the 
name brands. Our environment has a large number of these deployed and we have seen business and end user acceptance. 
From a business perspective, it could be a cost deferral tool within your toolset. Meaning if you are in an 
environment, which is sensitive to MRC (monthly recurring cost), implementing this technology can help you defer this 
cost. For example, I had a remote site that was at 95% of a full ds3 in capacity 6 hours of an 8-hour business day, 
after implementing this technology I was amazed at what we found. This sites utilization was reduced to 40% capacity 
max, not to mention the reduction we observed at the datacenter headend. We were preparing to increase capacity at this 
site, that was going to require swapping the WAN device as well as an increase in the MRC for this site and ongoing 
operational expense. Introduction of WAN optimization was significantly lower in these categories versus the upgrades.

On the end user side due to the physical location/latency of this site a few applications was prone to suffer, the 
developers agreed to fix this would possibly require rewriting of the apps. Nothing more than the introduction of this 
technology was done and the support calls into the support center went from 100's per month to zero for a few of these 

One thing that was important to me WAS MAPI encryption and the fact it was reversed engineered. Meaning if Microsoft at 
some point changed the way MAPI worked in a patch or upgrade you would end up with broken MAPI support and possibly a 
long runway to fixing it. The other company from my understanding (do not quote me on this YET) is collaborating and 
possibly working with Microsoft to license such support.

I don't think you could go wrong with either brand/company but understanding your environments traffic patterns and its 
application usage would go a long way in guiding you towards the product for your environment.

Good luck

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