Web Performance Optimization Solutions Shift Into High Gear

New Analyst Note from Michael Cucchi via TRAC Research

“In my first four months here at TRAC Research I’ve had some really terrific conversations with end-users, service providers, and solution vendors in the Web Performance arena. While we are just kicking off our efforts on formal research publications in the space for this year, I wanted to summarize some of the key trends we’re seeing and how they will impact the market in 2013 and beyond…..”

Riverbed Acquires OPNET

Here’s TRAC Research’s take on the OPNET Acquisition, Michael Cucchi was co-author of the report.

Riverbed Acquires OPNET; Meets a World of New Opportunities and Challenges in the APM Market

On October 29, 2012 Riverbed announced that it will acquire OPNET Technologies for more than $900 million. The acquisition represents Riverbed’s entrance into the application performance management (APM) market that is fast-growing and rapidly changing, but also consists of many different submarkets with unique dynamics and buying requirements.
This report examines the background of the acquisition and the impact on the market, other APM vendors and alignment with key market trends.

Steelhead Cloud Accelerator Performance Results

I promised to return with some results on our new Akamai/Riverbed partnered SaaS acceleration solution, the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator.First, let’s examine the challenges that SaaS applications add to end-user performance and productivity.  Unlike origin-based applications, a branch user attaching to a SaaS application has unique challenges.  In 80% of the use cases globally, that branch office user is forced to traverse the private WAN back to a HQ or “hub” where Internet access is concentrated.  This “back haul” of user traffic is impacted by all the WAN challenges that Riverbed solutions exist to solve including latency, lack of capacity, congestion and application inefficiencies.  Riverbed’s technology works at the IP and TCP layers, provides huge data reduction using data de-duplication, and solves the chatty and inefficient layer 7 application protocols using protocol prediction and optimizations.However, as the target for the user traffic migrates over the public Internet, there’s now an extremely unpredictable, inefficient, and uncontrolled mesh of networks for this critical business application traffic to cross. Even in the 20% of cases where the branch office connects directly to the Internet, SaaS providers have a finite set of data centers and unable to provide nearby facilities to most end-users. Furthermore, ISP link capacity is still limited, and migrating end-users to SaaS only compounds these limited connections causing congestion, collisions, and ultimately significant degradation of any application leveraging the link.  The diagram below illustrates this public network challenge.  When we connected to our Office 365 instance in Chicago, traffic was routed to Texas and Chicago.  This inefficient route, the result of BGP shortcomings, resulted in significant latency (85+ milliseconds) and double-digit packet loss.  When Akamai enables SureRoute, the traffic takes a direct path, reducing latency to 25 milliseconds and packet loss to 0.

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In our testing and beta experiences, we observed an average of 60x performance impact for the back-hauled end user moving from an origin-based web application to one served from a SaaS provider in the public cloud.  This is the result of the strained WAN links, congested private network, distance and latency to cross the private WAN, and the compounded performance impacts found on the public Internet.

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The combined Akamai-Riverbed solution allows Akamai’s globally distributed intelligent platform to dynamically spin up Riverbed end-points just outside of SaaS provider data centers.  This enables Riverbed optimizations to continue from inside the enterprise out across the Internet, to the front door of the SaaS provider.  In addition, Riverbed optimized traffic benefits further from Akamai Internet optimizations – the combination of the two working together is impressive.  Below are the initial internal testing results.  At the time, we could only hope to replicate this type of performance in the production world.Riverbed Blog Post Image 3.png
The great news is, out in the real world, we’re seeing anywhere from 7x (600%) performance increases all the way up to 209x (20,000%+) increases. Yes, a 38 minute transfer un-optimized completed in just under 13 seconds optimized!Riverbed Blog Post Image 4.png

Results vary based on the network environments and the traffic type, but the more challenged the link and larger the file being transferred, the higher the performance results.  On average, we’re experiencing a mind-blowing 20x+ increase in performance across the board. If you’re leveraging Office 365, Salesforce.com, or Google Apps for business, give us a call and see what this technology alliance can do for productivity in YOUR enterprise.

Join me tomorrow March 7th to hear more about the solution, I’m presenting a webinar with Joe Ghory of Riverbed at 1:30EST! Register here: http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=403776&s=1&k=3F2A1CF54EB05BE554020B48F37769E4&partnerref=akamai3

The Next Consolidation Cycle: Software as a Service

The Next Consolidation Cycle: Software as a Service:

You know, I love times like this.  It’s one of those rare times….When I’m finally right about something.

Trust me, my wife will insist that I’m right about things very rarely.   At Akamai I concentrate on extending the Enterprise infrastructure out onto the Internet and into the public cloud. It’s from this perspective that I clearly see the strong catalyst for Enterprise IT change –and what convinces me I’m right about what I believe is the next consolidation cycle in the space.

Being right about something means being able to dive into the details, but also being able to “bounce out” and validate the details from a broad vantage point.  When I bounce back and look at the technology market today I see some significant and clear trends.  I see a real and present collision between consumer and enterprise IT functionality and productivity.  And it’s in the software as a service space.  It’s here that innovative delivery technologies combined with present day functionality (like social, mobile, video, etc) are manifesting instantly and crossing the enterprise boarders quicker then anyone imagined it could happen.  These are the bright spots of technology.  Those spots where you know you’ve hit a ground shift of real change. Something that’s going to build to the new way of doing business.  So, it’s clear to me, in 2012 SaaS is that ground shift.  With no notice….. “Cloud” went from a marketing term to a specific something enterprises spend 10% today and 25% tomorrow on investing in to deliver productivity to end-users.  The CLOUD IS FULL OF SAAS.  Look at any analyst report…. The major spend, quoted by some as over 90% of the actual revenue spend in “the cloud”, is SaaS spend.


It’s easy to consume.  The HR director can buy it.  The research assistant can buy it.  The entire enterprise can buy it.  Or just your most advanced, highest end users can buy it.  It’s consumable.  It’s abstracted.  It’s easy to adopt. Any device can access it.  You don’t need to buy any hardware, train anyone, build anything, secure anything….. It’s just instant on-demand application consumption. You give a credit card over the phone and minutes later your users are accessing the app and being productive.  Amazing right?

Sure is.  But, so was “consolidate all your servers to a centralized datacenter with no impacts” 10 years ago.  And IT teams globally are still shaken and hungover from that decade long bender.

We’re smarter than that now.

So…. Age old problem: A technology catalyst (SaaS) that provides real financial and functional benefits, but at the cost of the user being disconnected from content (now that disconnection involves the public Internet as well).  This of course results in the enterprise losing control of data, performance, and delivery, and somehow it all sense?

Well… for once, we’ve learned from our mistakes.

Forget that SaaS involves the Internet (thousands of competing networks somehow working together daily).  For get it involves private networks…. Webs of complex hub and spoke networks closely guarded and cordoned off from the public Internet.  Forget it involves moving the heart of the business, the most business critical applications we’ve spent decades scaling and securing, out across this brave new and wild world…..

Because the leaders in technology…. Finally saw this one coming.

Less than a year ago now Akamai and Riverbed realized we had common customer issues.  Common application trends and methods  that involved hybrid public and private networks.  Two companies grown to solve unique problems on different sides of the IT World.  And a market that forces our unique problems into one.   Today we announced the Steelhead Cloud Accelerator.  Riverbed Wan Acceleration, extended into and across private networks now integrated and benefiting from Akamai Internet Acceleration and global distribution.   It’s a win win…. And I challenge anyone to tell me why it’s not the coolest innovation for Cloud Computing in 2012!

I’ll be back in a few days to discuss the performance results we’re observing when you combine the world’s leading private cloud optimization technology with the world’s leading public cloud and Internet optimization platform.  Till then, track #fastSaaS on twitter and toss out some comments and questions!

Web Attacks on Retailers Intensify

USA TODAY: Cyber Attacks on Company Websites Intensify

It will be much harder this year for companies to deflect the rising onslaught of cyberattacks orchestrated to knock them off the Internet.

Hundreds of times each day, attackers use a technique called distributed denial of service, or DDoS, that involves coordinating home PCs to flood targeted websites with nuisance requests — to the point where no one else can access the site.