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Three UK companies adopt Steelhead appliance to help simplify IT management and speed up performance over wide area networks


Reading, Berks — November 18, 2004— US firm Riverbed Technology today unveiled its successful Steelhead technology in the UK, designed to make core applications running across wide area networks (WANs) perform up to 100 times faster.

Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances enable organisations with offices in multiple locations to consolidate resources and lower costs without limiting performance for remote office users. Jarrold Publishing, Npower Renewables and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust are among the UK firms, which have signed up so far. Riverbed’s global clients include Merrill Lynch, architects Gensler, and Text100. The company has over 40 paying customers on six continents, and over 70 additional companies are piloting the Steelhead appliance.

“The trial from Riverbed has been completely successful and we have already seen dramatic improvements in the performance of our systems,” said Neil Street, IT systems manager for Jarrold Publishing. “From a business perspective, the Riverbed solution will free up manpower and lower costs for our branches because employees can access data more quickly, save time and improve collaboration. For our IT staff, the appliance requires less than 15 minutes to deploy, needs little ongoing support, and delivers a safer and easier way to manage our IT infrastructure. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Steelhead, which is also self-tuning and virtually maintenance free, minimises the impact of limited bandwidth and high latency, both causes of slow application performance over the WAN. Until now, solutions to this issue have focused solely on bandwidth or offered narrow, application-specific approaches and even with ample bandwidth many companies are surprised to find that applications are still slow. The hidden culprits of this performance are “chatty” application protocols used over high latency WAN links. When users do simple tasks like opening a file on a centralised Microsoft Windows server, the application generates thousands of client-server interactions. This “protocol chattiness,” is usually transparent to users on a local area network (LAN), but causes serious delays on most WANs, where each interaction can take hundreds of times longer due to distance.

Steelhead sits transparently on the LAN between the firewall and the servers. As files and other traffic pass through it, Steelhead automatically analyses them. Riverbed’s Scalable Data Referencing then breaks the data into indexed chunks and stores it in a local disk cache. When the same or similar traffic is passed back through appliances over WAN, Steelhead recognises the pattern, finds matches in the data store and sends a reference pointer for each chunk of data to the other side, which is used to rebuild traffic so the Transmission Control Protocol stream arrives intact. By sending a small pointer and not the whole file, the appliance greatly increases perceived performance over the link and dramatically reduces the time spent waiting for the data.

Riverbed’s head of EMEA, Rob Mustarde, said market opportunities for Steelhead appliances are strong and demand has already exceeded expectation: “Instead of settling for the status quo by continuing to invest in additional servers, storage, bandwidth and support for each remote site companies are implementing Steelhead appliances to support their distributed operations more simply and effectively,” he said. “The overwhelming response from our beta customers suggests that this type of solution will inspire businesses of all sizes to rethink the way they approach distributed computing.”

Steelhead appliances enable customers to:
· Consolidate IT Infrastructure: Steelhead appliances enable IT managers to consolidate mail servers, file servers, remote office backup systems, islands of storage systems and other infrastructure from remote offices to centralised data centres, without giving up the performance of localised servers. Site consolidation leads to simpler management, a streamlined IT staff and lower costs.

· Improve Application Performance: Companies operating distributed networks can deploy Steelhead appliances to speed up file sharing, email, data transfer, Web and other collaborative applications. For industries like architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing and software development that rely on real-time collaboration with large amounts of data, Steelhead reduces the time needed to share information.

· Improve Security and Compliance: IT administrators who consolidate IT infrastructure with Steelhead gain better control of the systems that support their users. Centralised infrastructure can be managed, patched, and backed up more reliably and cheaply, ensuring compliance with regulations like SEC 17-a4 and the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

· Reduce Bandwidth Consumption: By removing all redundancy from WAN TCP traffic, Steelhead appliances cut the consumption of bandwidth and enable more data to be sent on existing pipes. This can help defer or avoid WAN bandwidth upgrades.


ABOUT RIVERBED TECHNOLOGY
Riverbed Technology develops solutions to enable enterprises to simplify and consolidate their IT infrastructure without compromising local application performance. Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances make the most commonly used distributed systems running across the wide area network (WAN) perform up to 100 times faster. Riverbed was founded in 2002 by CEO Jerry M. Kennelly and chief technology officer Dr. Steve McCanne, a visionary recently identified by M.I.T.’s Technology Review as one of the top 100 young innovators in the world. Riverbed has received funding from Accel Partners, Lightspeed Venture Partners and UV Partners, and has an engineering team that includes veterans from Microsoft, Inktomi, and Network Appliance. For more information, visit www.riverbed.com.

ABOUT JARROLD PUBLISHING
Jarrold Publishing is based in the heart of Norwich. Situated by the River Wensum in a Grade I listed mill (described by Pevsner as ‘the noblest of all English Industrial Revolution mills’), it is part of the Jarrold Group of companies and is nationally renowned as publishers of high quality calendars, diaries, stationery and guidebooks, as well as the market-leading Pathfinder walking guides. Jarrold Publishing is a supplier to numerous sectors; from wholesalers to small independents and from the High Street multiples to tourist attractions
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For More Information Contact:
James Hughes/Alison King
Mulberry PR
T: 0207 928 7676
E: jhughes@mulberrymc.com / aking@mulberrymc.com


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