Riverbed Stringray and virtual application delivery

Web-based applications are increasingly important tools for businesses. Riverbed points out that Web pages have gotten bigger and much more complex over time. This results in slow application performance. The company believes its Stingray family can make a difference.

Riverbed Technology reached out to me to bring me up to date on its Stingray family of application delivery controllers and present a new offering. The company hopes to significantly improve Web application performance by virtualizing and optimizing the network traffic that supports these applications.

What Riverbed has to say

Riverbed Technology, the performance company, today announced enhancements to its software and virtual application delivery controller (ADC) product family, Stingray™. These enhancements allow enterprises and cloud operators to extend the benefits of the ADC with the integration of its Aptimizer web content optimization (WCO) solution. Included in the announcement are the release of Stingray Traffic Manager 9.0, the industry’s only ADC with comprehensive WCO capability, and new Stingray Aptimizer models that can be deployed with any ADC to improve performance without changes to the application server or users’ browsers. Riverbed® is redefining the role of the ADC from focusing primarily on load balancing and offload to also delivering the accelerated user experience, scalable cloud utilization, and reliability expected from web and cloud-based applications.

The Challenge of Optimizing Web Pages

Over the past 10 years, Web applications have become commonplace in the enterprise as well as mainstream for consumers through e-commerce, news, and social media integration. But over that same time, the average web page has grown over 4x to over 1MB[1] and has grown 3x in the number of objects on a single page, to 85[2]. This growth has been accompanied by an increase in the complexity of pages, resulting in a slow experience that can cause customers to disengage with an application. This complexity, combined with an explosion in the variety of browsing devices, including iPhones, Android devices and iPads, demand innovative new technologies to ensure the best possible performance for end users in the enterprise and on the Internet.

Web Content Optimization & The Application Delivery Controller

Stingray Aptimizer is a software-only WCO solution deployed only in the data center that requires no changes to the users’ browsers or the web applications. Aptimizer delivers comprehensive WCO that addresses all of the core elements of web applications, including:

  • HTML & CSS Combinations for fewer browser to server round trips
  • Image spriting to deliver multiple images at once
  • Image resampling to eliminate redundant data across image formats
  • JavaScript minification for data reduction
  • Optimize content delivery by domain sharding and rewriting content to CDNs

Riverbed now delivers comprehensive WCO on the Stingray Traffic Manager or as a standalone technology that drops-in to existing ADC environments, such as F5, Citrix, and Cisco, without changes to the application server or users browsers. With Stingray 9.0, enterprises and cloud operators can now benefit from this high performance experience, enabling them to run in any physical, virtual or cloud environment and to scale their infrastructure on-demand. In addition, end users can access web applications up to four times faster while using up to 30 percent less bandwidth.

Snapshot analysis

Web-based applications are increasingly important tools for businesses. In some cases, these applications have replaced catalogs as sales tools, brought self-service to many applicaitons in markets ranging from financial services to health care. As their importance increases, customers expect them to be fast, reliable and responsive.

At the same time, Riverbed points out, Web pages have gotten bigger and much more complex over time. This can result in slow application performance.

Customers are viewing these websites from a constellation of devices, each with different performance and display capabilities. Website developers spend a great deal of time and effort creating Web pages that can determine the display device's capabilities and restrictions and then render in a reasonable fashion. This is a very costly process.

Riverbed would pose that inserting its application delivery controller into the network would immediately improve overall performance through image optimization, network virtualization and compression and even re-write pages so they will function well on limited devices.

This tool offers the possibility of reducing costs of delivering a productive and useful website and also to improve overall performance. It is interesting technology and worth a look.