Improved integration of components highlights new Riverbed SteelCentral release

The improvements strengthen SteelCentral’s digital experience management capabilities, improved its Dev/Ops performance management, and enhance network performance management in Big Data environments.

Today, at their Riverbed Disrupt event in New York City, Riverbed is announcing the latest release of their Riverbed SteelCentral platform for application management and network management.

“This announcement essentially has three components,” said Erik Hille, product marketing director at Riverbed. “First, we are extending SteelCentral’s digital experience management [DEM] capabilities. Secondly, we are deepening it around Dev/Ops performance management, particularly around container monitoring. Third, we are introducing new capabilities for network performance management in Big Data environments.”

Hille said that while companies are using digital transformation today, they still aren’t managing it very effectively.

“48 per cent of companies are now using digital transformation to create new revenue streams,” he said.  “That drives increased performance expectations – and 34 per cent of companies don’t know how well things are working from either an employee or customer perspective. This is where DEM comes in. This is what SteelCentral’s vision is centred around.”

DEM is all about understanding performance of all types of end-user devices, apps, networks and infrastructure. Riverbed conducts it through end user and app monitoring, and network and infrastructure monitoring.

“We have the most complete, modular and integrated DEM in the industry,” Hille said. “We began this journey beginning last spring, with the new capabilities around end user monitoring that came from our acquisition and integration of Aternity. We would still have the strategy without it, but with it, it makes much more sense, when you look at the end user experience monitoring that it brings, and no one else does. It’s a view of performance right from the end user’s device – so you can validate the extent of the problem at a much more granular level.”

The spring release of SteelCentral enhances DEM to enable drilling down into the back end.

“Now, we are advancing DEM from the end user’s perspective,” Hille said. “We now analyze not just the underlying apps but the network as well, creating a single workflow to manage both end user experience and network performance management. A new integration between Aternity and NetProfiler goes beyond drilling into the application code and shows the network side, so you can see things like packet congestion that might be impacting performance.”

Riverbed is also announcing an integration between Aternity and ServiceNow designed to significantly improve first call resolution.

“This integration between Aternity and ServiceNow will speed up MTTR [Mean Time To Repair] by drilling down to the end user’s device and automatically generating the incident report for the service desk,” Hille said.

The release is also geared toward enhancing he Dev/Ops application lifecycle with improved container monitoring and enriched application performance troubleshooting.

“We have improved Dev/Ops performance management by improving APM monitoring for containerized environments,” Hille said. “Everyone now manages containers by writing in pieces of code, so the monitoring spools off with the container. We can now observe the container without modifying the image.”

A related enhancement, container aware application-mapping, lets customers more quickly identify problems with the container layer or micro services logic.

“Container-aware application mapping improves the visualization for the customer, and thus completes the overall picture,” Hille said.

Dev/Ops performance management has also been improved by integrating Log Analysis with APM integration.

“We’ve extended instrumentation capabilities to integrate things like trace and log data to simplify troubleshooting,” Hille said. “It saves hours of trying to correlate log messages to code and APM data. This is the first time this has been done.”

A further series of enhancements are geared at better managing network performance in large scale, Big Data environments by improving the ability to capture network information and improving the resiliency of the process.

“Digital transformation initiatives create large amount of data,” Hille said.  “We have introduced new SteelCentral Portal central management for AppResponse, which lets you centrally manage and set up configurations from a single location. We also added a 40 gig NIC card to capture and store information  at a much higher pace. Finally, we doubled the flow capacity for SteelCentral NetProfiler to 20 million deduplicated or 200 million raw flows per minute. That provides a much richer networking environment for high volumes.”

Hille said a couple elements of this announcement should be of particular interest to Riverbed partners and make SteelCentral more attractive as an offering.

“These improvements around Big Data now enable partners to go into much bigger environments,” he indicated. “The improved integration between NPM and APM will help NPM-focused partners make a bridge to the APM side.”