Akamai and Riverbed jointly develop innovative SaaS acceleration solution
Date: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 19:54 Source: Riverbed Technology press department
Carolyn Crandall, Vice President, Marketing, Riverbed Technology
Image credited to Riverbed Technology
Akamai® Technologies, Inc. and Riverbed Technology introduced the Steelhead® Cloud Accelerator, a jointly developed solution that combines Akamai’s innovative Internet optimization technology and market-leading Riverbed® wide area network (WAN) optimization technology to deliver end-to-end optimization for software-as-a-service(SaaS) applications. By combining the capabilities of the Akamai Intelligent Platform™ with the award-winning Riverbed WAN optimization technology, the companies will provide the industry’s first solution to overcome the performance issues introduced by hybrid cloud networks, especially for organizations that need to reduce traffic on backhaul links, and obviate the need for bandwidth upgrades.
The Steelhead Cloud Accelerator is a subscription-based add-on to existing Steelhead appliance deployments and does not require any changes in the way the appliances are deployed nor any changes to the SaaS provider’s infrastructure, regardless of where the application or end users are located, across any combination of physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. Enterprises need only to deploy a single instance of the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator for each SaaS application to take advantage of the optimization from the jointly developed solution from Akamai and Riverbed. Steelhead Cloud Accelerator will provide optimizations for SaaS applications Google Apps, Salesforce.com® and Microsoft® Office 365.
Akamai and Riverbed offerings are already used separately today by more than 17,000 organizations, including many Fortune 500 businesses worldwide. Riverbed WAN optimization solutions are used by globally-connected enterprises to speed data transfers and accelerate the performance for the broadest range of applications businesses care about most. Akamai’s globally-distributed network of more than 100,000 servers deployed in the cloud provides route, protocol and application layer optimizations for the Internet, and serves anywhere from 15-30 percent of all Web traffic at a given time.
The popularity of cloud-based services is growing within organizations of all sizes. According to Forrester Research, the SaaS market itself is expected to be more than $100 billion by 2017. “While attractive in many ways, the cloud introduces challenges around performance,” said Eric Wolford, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Products at Riverbed. “To overcome application performance bottlenecks encountered in unpredictable cloud environments, the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator gives organizations global SaaS performance that feels local.”
“Seadrill, a leading offshore deep water drilling company, wanted to take advantage of the economics, ease of management, accessibility and storing space offered by cloud technology and decided to centralize their enterprise applications using cloud computing. However, when employees logged into Office 365 in the morning, it could take as long as two hours before their mailboxes were fully synchronized and led to bandwidth constraints for other types of traffic due to saturated satellite links, often leaving users frustrated,” said Pål Gøran Johansen, Network Engineer, Harris Caprock Communication, a global provider of fully managed communications for remote and harsh environments. “Having reliable and consistent access to Office 365 was mission critical for communication and collaboration between its oil rigs, offices and headquarters. After testing the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator, response times with Office 365 dramatically improved and freed bandwidth for other traffic. The results showed that Seadrill employees would see significant benefit, as employees would be more productive and collaborative across its 45 oil rigs in EMEA, South America and North America, as well as its offices across the world.”
“In order to unlock the cost savings promised by cloud services, organizations are seeking ways to make IT infrastructure more elastic by using multiple, geographically dispersed cloud deployments,” said Melanie Posey, Research VP at IDC. “Bandwidth constraints and network latency impact IT infrastructure performance regardless of location -- private data centers or public cloud data centers. The Steelhead Cloud Accelerator solution offers organizations using hybrid cloud networks the same level of accelerated application performance previously possible only in the public Internet with Akamai or in private cloud environments with Riverbed.”
“As a global specialist in energy management with operations in more than 100 countries, we have more than 16,000 users that access Salesforce.com, including those employees that process orders and handle customer service. Backhaul Internet connections that route users across the private WAN before accessing the public Internet introduces additional distance, latency and consumes additional bandwidth, making accessing Salesforce.com problematic,” said Lionel Marie, Lead Architect for Global WAN Acceleration at Schneider Electric. “Overcoming the performance challenges was critical for us to effectively process customer orders and provide excellent customer service. We deployed Steelhead Cloud Accelerator to evaluate the solution from Paris and backhauled to the Salesforce.com data center in the US and achieved 80 percent data reduction while utilizing 6x less bandwidth. The test results are really encouraging and demonstrate that the joint solution from Akamai and Riverbed can avoid a costly bandwidth upgrade and address the performance challenges we are encountering."
The Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS®) software that powers Steelhead products is activated on the Akamai Intelligent Platform when a customer subscribes to the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator solution. A version of RiOS enhanced to connect with the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator solution is also installed on the customer’s Steelhead solution within their own network. After both instances of RiOS connect, customers can benefit from dramatic performance improvements for a variety of SaaS applications.
“Leveraging existing Riverbed WAN optimization deployments in corporate networks and the globally distributed Akamai Intelligent Platform for Internet optimization, organizations can realize immediate value without having to deploy any new hardware," explained Willie Tejada, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Cloud at Akamai. "With our jointly developed solution Riverbed and Akamai are ensuring the best user experience for any application, any user, located anywhere, essentially bringing the cloud closer to the end user.”
The three SaaS applications initially supported by Steelhead Cloud Accelerator include:
Google Apps brings simple, powerful communication and collaboration tools to organizations of any size so that users can stay connected and work together with ease – all hosted by Google to streamline setup, minimize maintenance, and reduce IT costs.
Salesforce.com, the enterprise cloud computing company, provides a trusted cloud platform and SaaS applications including its flagship CRM solution, which helps more than 100,000 organizations collaborate easily and connect with customers.
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft delivers the power of cloud productivity by bringing together online versions of its most trusted communication and collaboration products – business-class e-mail, Web conferencing, instant messaging, document collaboration and workflow all designed to work together seamlessly – with the security, reliability, and control organizations of all sizes require, helping to save time, money and free up valued resources.
Availability: Steelhead Cloud Accelerator is expected to be generally available in Q1 2012.
1] The use of third party marks does not imply any endorsement, affiliation or approval by such third parties.
 Sizing The Cloud, Forrester Research, April 21, 2011