Riverbed upgrades operating system for video

 With organizations increasingly using live video internally for executive announcements and training, Riverbed Technology Inc. felt it had to hone the operating system for its Steelhead WAN optimization appliances to meet the need.

The San Francisco company said Monday that RiOS 7.0, to be released this month, will include optimization for native stream splitting over HTTP, including Adobe Flash over HTTP and Microsoft Silverlight.

Also called application layer multicasting, a single video stream can be split out at the edge of the network to serve viewers locally. As a result, the stress on the LAN link is reduced.

It’s one of a number of improvements the company has added to the latest RiOS release.

“This is a major upgrade for us in terms of the number of features we’ve added,” said Naveen Prabhu, the company’s senior product marketing manager.

RiOS is used by the 14 hardware and eight software versions of the Steelhead appliance.

Other new features in the operating system include

–the ability to optimize UDP (user datagram protocol) traffic, which is largely used by file and replication software. Like TCP traffic, UDP can be examined and optimized on a packet-by-packet basis. The upgrade also means that TCP and UDP traffic over IPv6 will be optimized;

–Steelhead already offers optimization for virtual desktop infrastructure solutions from Citrix, VMware and Microsoft. RiOS 7.0 adds support for ICA (independent computing architecture) over secure socket layer. Also there’s a new client-drive mapping capability which allows traffic to be optimized from a thin client or a USB drive.

–the integration with the company’s Cascade Shark packet capture and analysis tool. This capability used to be sold separately with the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP). Now customers can use data from a Steelhead appliance through the Cascade Pilot console for branch monitoring and troubleshooting, the company said;

–Steelhead optimization now includes authenticated and encrypted traffic from Lotus Notes and Microsoft applications using the Kerberos authentication standard;

–the integration of Riverbed’s Skipware satellite optimization software, which had been sold separately with RSP. Although now part of RiOS, Skipware still needs a separate licence. Customers on RiOS 6.5 who don’t want to upgrade can still buy RSP with Skipware;

Bob Laliberte, a senior analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group, said the upgrades are welcome. Adding UDP support puts Riverbed on the same footing as competitors such as Silverpeak Systems Inc., he said.

The improved video support is also necessary given its increase in the enterprise, he added.

He also noted the fact that Riverbed is integrating technologies from other products into RiOS.

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