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July 20, 2009

Riverbed delivers LAN experience to mobile workers

Virtual edition increases reach of mobile solution

By CBR Staff Writer

Riverbed Technology Inc, the applications traffic management appliance supplier, has improved the way its brings a LAN-like access experience to mobile and remote workers who need to hook into corporate files and applications.

The company said today that it would be introducing Mobile Controller Virtual Edition, a new software option that runs on its Steelhead appliance and supports remote access of up to 100 concurrent remote users. It said it would also be offering increased capacity for its Steelhead Mobile Controller, and offer additional application-level latency optimisation for certain types of Steelhead Mobile user.

Mark Lewis of Riverbed explained, “Effectively, we have a software version of our appliance that sits on a laptop and will vastly improve access performance for people working over a 3G card, from a hotel room or across an extranet.” 

There is no need for any extra WAN optimisation hardware to be deployed with the virtual edition, and the lower cost virtual platform makes it easier to bring Steelhead Mobile to SMBs or smaller strategic mobile deployments, he suggested.

Riverbed is best known for appliances that are usually deployed in the data centre or on the network where they are used to optimise access to any WAN resource. Lewis said a second leg to the company’s portfolio was its approach to mobile and remote working. 

“We have seen performance improvements of five and up to fifty times, dependent on the application being access remotely,” he said, explaining that at least one Steelhead Mobile Controller appliance is required to manage the mobile option, with one Steelhead Mobile licence being needed for each one concurrent user.

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The company said today that the reach of the required Mobile Controller, which is normally deployed in a data centre, has also been improved so that it could be used to support 4,000 licences from a current maximum level of 2,000.

The company maintains that no changes are required to applications or the normal processes that workers are used to. Equally, IT managers do not need to make any changes to routers, VPN infrastructure, SSL/HTTPS servers, or any of the other key technology in their enterprise.

Riverbed has however introduced some application-specific modules for its mobile solution, to enhance the user experience for some popular office applications.

It has already introduced a application-specific module for the Microsoft Exchange MAPI, and has followed that today with the announcement that it is adding support for application layer Lotus Notes acceleration for mobile users. 

Lewis explained the addition has in some cases led to bandwidth reductions of 90%, and through TCP optimisation helps improve the overall speed at which mobile employees can access large email attachments or manage their calendaring features. 

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