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
Crossing the video stream
Live and on-demand streaming video is another traffic type that gets an optimization makeover in RiOS 7. Typically, when remote users view streaming video from a central server, there are as many video streams as there are users. If there are 200 users in 10 branch offices, all viewing the monthly sales Webinar, then there are 200 distinct traffic flows from the data center to users.
RiOS 7 comes with HTTP video stream splitting for Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight video. From our example, if there are 200 users spread across 10 offices, instead of 200 connections between users and the central server, there are only 10 between the remote offices and data center. Each branch office Steelhead splits the stream at the local network and opens only one connection to the data center. Better yet, stream splitting is handled dynamically, on the fly -- no configuration necessary.
I tested this new feature using Microsoft Expression Web 4 encoder to create a live video stream from a USB webcam. I accessed the video stream from various clients and monitored WAN usage using Riverbed's built-in reporting tools. As each additional client connected to the live feed, the WAN usage was unchanged, regardless of how many users were online. RiOS 7 allowed a single video stream over the WAN and successfully split it at the branch to all of my users.
On-demand video also gets a boost through the ability to "pre-populate" branch office Steelheads with video content. Previously, only CIFS files and HTTP objects took part in "pre-population." RiOS 7 adds static video content to the mix, further reducing overall bandwidth usage.
Riverbed's video stream splitting technology is a great boon to enterprises that do a lot of video broadcasts. Here we see a reduction in video traffic over the WAN as additional users come online.