This course about the Riverbed Steelhead appliance has given me some very interesting details of the design of the Steelhead appliance and the capabilities. The speed improvements on network traffic, either due to initial compression, or later when it detects patterns it has sent out earlier or because it optimises protocols like CIFS, NFS or HTTP(S), their are very impressive. As they say, it makes your data on the servers on the data-center feel like it is sitting under your desk. Plus the integration in your network makes it close to zero-administration, all you need to start is two Steelhead appliances, two ethernet cables, two IP addresses and their default gateways and it's up and running. Talk to me if you want a demo :-)
What happened the rest of this week? The USA got a new president, I met up with David Thiel for dinner on Sunday, I met up with Anton Holleman for dinner on Wednesday and Saturday, I met a lot of collaegues at the San Francisco Riverbed offices, I walked in San Francisco through Chinatown, the Financial District, to the Tram museum, around the piers at the east coast because I couldn't walk over the Bay Bridge (Whoever decided to make a bridge without a pedestrian lane?).
Television is here euhm... less than interesting. Except for PBS there aren't much channels I did recognize or would recommend. Discovery Channel has "in-taxi" gameshows, there are seventy channels with people competing for something and then giving or getting feedback on how they were doing and half of the TV series are an insult to my brains. The presenters of the Weather channel seem to be the most enthousiastic ones in their profession. At least in Australia there is 40% of the channels worth watching, it's about 2.5% here. Not to mention the quality of the surfaces with the "same" colour on NTSC... (enough for now, it just makes me open the window and shout "I am sick of this and want everybody to know")
The best pub I've been in was Eddie Rickerbacker's on 133 2nd street. It has old motorbikes hanging on the ceilings, miniature trains in the vitrines and a miniature railroad around the wall. And a fat cat walking around... A very nice place to be.
So what is left for the rest of the week? Tomorrow I will go to Sunnyvale, first with the BART train service and then with the CalTrain service (Yes, I love trains!). Over the week I will have my share of cases at the Riverbed TAC in Sunnyvale.
In the next two weeks I will be on training for my new job at Riverbed in San Francisco and Sunnyvale. It will be two courses, Steelhead Appliance Deployment and Management and Steelhead Mobile Client Installation and Configuration.
A Steelhead Appliance is a device in your network, one centrally at your servers and one or more remotely on the user LANs, which provides WAN optimisation, WAN acceleration and Wide Area File Services. Or in plain English: It makes the data over your networks be transferred faster.
The best comparison for it is your webbrowser: When you initially a page with images, it will download them all from the webserver and store them in a local cache. If the next page you go to refers to these images, it will just use them from the cache instead of downloading them again. That is Wide Area File Services.
The next one, WAN optimisation, is the HTTP protocol. The old version setup a new TCP session for every HTTP request, the new version can continue on an earlier used TCP session.
And the last one, WAN acceleration, is compression of the static HTML pages by the webserver: Compressed data is often smaller, so it will be there faster.
The Steelhead appliances don't only work on the HTTP protocol, but also (including but not limited to) with CIFS (Windows File Sharing), MAPI (Exchange server), NFS. And for protocols it doesn't know about, it will still do compression.
That is the hardware version, which works on your WAN/LAN infrastructure. There is also the version called Steelhead Mobile for on notebooks computers, it will give you, at home over a VPN for example, the same performance boost as you have on your LAN at work.
Like I said, the first week is training, the next week is for getting my troubleshooting experience. From what I've read up so far it is pretty technical stuff I will get trained with, so it can't be all bad :-)
If you are in San Francisco between 2 November and 9 November or in Sunnyvale between 9 November and 14 November and want to meet up, drop me an email!