Riverbed, Juniper Square Off

The rivals companies update their WAN optimization controllers.

Rivals Riverbed Technology and Juniper Networks are offering dueling software upgrades to their competing WAN optimization controllers.

While Juniper Networks in its WXOS 5.5 release focused primarily on security enhancements, Riverbed in its RIOS (Riverbed Optimization System) Version 4.1 release targeted boosting the performance of large-scale data transfers. Both upgrades were announced Oct. 22.

Junipers WXOS 5.5 release for its WX and WXC appliances adds the ability to accelerate Secure Socket Layer encrypted applications across the WAN. The new AppFlow (Application Flow Acceleration) for SSL feature can speed encrypted application performance by as much as 25 times over the WAN while keeping that application traffic secure, said Tim Richards, senior product manager for Junipers WX and WXC product line, in Sunnyvale, Calif.

"We populate the data center appliance with SSL private keys for the applications you want to accelerate. The requirement to change anything at the branch [office] end is zero, but you still maintain security. The data center appliance sends encrypted session keys to the branch device. We listen in on session creation and can look inside the SSL encrypted payload, optimize it and send to other end, then decrypt it, so you only need to add relevant keys," he said.

That capability is critical for Juniper, said Forrester Research analyst Rob Whiteley. "Certain industries such as the financial [services] industry, insurance [and] pharmaceuticals wont touch this [WAN optimization technology] unless they support SSL," he said.

Juniper also added acceleration for Windows 2007 server-based Server Message Block-signed traffic. Small and midsized business signing, created to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks, requires proxy servers at branch offices or needs IT to disable signatures to get the benefits of WAN optimization.

With new support in AppFlow to preserve the SMB signing posture across the WAN, customers can accelerate that traffic while maintaining existing security policies and without having to implement proxy servers at the branch or change client configurations. The new release also adds optimizations specific to Microsofts Vista operating system.


Click here to read more about Junipers update to its WXC line.

Meanwhile, Riverbed, of San Francisco, focused on accelerating large data transfers used for disaster recovery in RIOS 4.1 and in a new Steelhead appliance.

The RIOS release leverages its behavioral traffic recognition capability to identify large-scale file transfers "in-flight" and shift into a higher gear to get a four-fold acceleration improvement," said Harold Byun, senior product marketing manager for Riverbed.

For SAN-to-SAN replication across the WAN, RIOS 4.1 can determine which file transfers are backup jobs and more efficiently read and write data from the data story as well as apply optimization algorithms during the transfer to improve throughput.

"Our secret sauce is that we lay data down on disk better and apply algorithms in most the optimal fashion," he said.


To read more about how Riverbed speeds SSL-encrypted traffic across WANs, click here.

Riverbed also added the new Steelhead model 6120, designed for data-center-to-data center transfers, which doubles the capacity of the largest existing Steelhead appliance with 7 terabytes of disk space and data store of more than 3 terabytes.

Riverbed also added an optimization module for Oracle 11i and Oracle e-business applications.

The new Juniper WXOS version 5.5 is due in November. The new Riverbed RIOS 4.1 release is available now, and the Steelhead model 6120 is due Nov. 15 and is priced at $119,995.


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