Review: Riverbed closes the WAN gap
Riverbed Steelhead with RiOS 7 takes a huge bite out of UDP, video, and VDI traffic over the WAN, adding to its excellent TCP and file access optimizations
Steelhead vs. WAN latency
This is the fifth time I've had the opportunity to review the Riverbed WAN optimization solution, and for the fifth time, it did not disappoint. There are a number of other vendors with good all-around solutions, but few come close to what Riverbed offers.
My test bed consisted of a pair of Steelhead 2050 1U appliances running RiOS 7.0.1, my Shunra Storm WAN simulation tool, and a handful of Windows 7 clients. I added a couple of new tests -- live streaming video and remote desktop traffic -- aimed specifically at new features in the RiOS 7 release. I used Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 to create my live video streams and Login VSI by Login Consultants to automate the VDI tests.
In addition to the new tests, I dipped back into my old toolkit to make sure Riverbed didn't slip up on its long-standing optimization services for CIFS and FTP file transfers. For the CIFS tests, I copied a single large ISO file, then a large number of small files from data center to branch office client to see how well RiOS 7 handled the chattiness of Microsoft's file access protocol. I used the same ISO for my FTP tests. As in the past, I ran all of these tests against three simulated WAN links: a "short" 128Kbps link with 40ms RTT (roundtrip time), a "long" T1 with 500ms RTT and 10^6 packet loss, and a T3 with 100ms RTT.
In all cases, RiOS 7 performed better or on a par with previous releases, with Riverbed's Scalable Data Referencing engine proving once again to efficiently cache data segments as they pass through the appliance regardless of link speed and latency. You can view my RiOS 6 and RiOS 7 test results for the simulated T1 link in the table below.
|No optimization||RiOS 6 (1st pass)||RiOS 6 (2nd pass)||RiOS 7 (1st pass)||RiOS 7 (2nd pass)|
|CIFS -- Many small files||4:08:03||0:31:27||0:23:47||0:19:38||00:18:50|
|CIFS -- One large file||2:54:16||0:52:36||0:01:31||0:10:25||0:01:48|
|MAPI||0:02:22||0:00:16||0:00:12||not tested||not tested|
|Note: The tests included CIFS with many small files (1,004 files but only 10.4MB in total size); CIFS with one large file (a 155MB ISO image); Excel four-step (an open-copy-save as-open process); a MAPI test that saves a 700KB attachment from Exchange to the local drive; and a passive FTP test using the same 155MB ISO file as the single-file CIFS test. All tests were executed using Macro Scheduler for consistency and timing.|