RiOS 5 included new transparency modes to allow WAN monitoring tools and firewalls to examine the traffic passing through them. The new Full Transparency with Reset in RiOS 6 corrects an issue some stateful packet inspection firewalls had with the Full Transparency mode in RiOS 5. Previously, some stateful firewalls would interpret Riverbed's connection setup sequences as an attack and drop the connection. Now, an RST (reset connection flag) packet is sent before the connection setup to clear the state on the firewall and enable the connection to proceed. While not guaranteed to work with all stateful firewalls, this should go a long way to smoothing any existing issues.
Other improvements to RiOS 6 include support for SNMP v3 and XML SOAP via a new API. The logging service is improved with more detail captured in each log entry, better filtering options, and support for NetFlow v9 and Cascade v9.
Each time I get my hands on a new Steelhead appliance, I come away impressed by how Riverbed can still find ways to improve it. The new features in RiOS 6 add even more capacity, flexibility, and scalability to an already superb product, and the new chassis fits in well with midsize office needs, yet doesn't scrimp on any particular feature. All in all, Riverbed continues to define what a WAN optimization and acceleration appliance should be. No IT shop evaluating a WAN acceleration and optimization solution should pass up a chance to put a Steelhead appliance through its paces.
The network traffic summary report, one of the many reports in RiOS 6, shows the types of traffic that have been optimized and their percentage of the overall traffic mix.
This story, "InfoWorld review: Riverbed Steelhead rules the WAN," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in networking, storage, and mobility at InfoWorld.com.
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