Rusted Equipment

Riverbed and Rusted Code

Rusted EquipmentMy Maytag washing machine is on the fritz — again. Nearly twenty years after buying the old guy (or is it a gal?), the time’s come for an upgrade. With its motors, hoses, pumps, and more, my washing machine has plenty of parts to break, and many are no longer even available from Maytag.  I suppose I can’t complain.  Twenty years from any appliance is remarkable these days and lot better than some industry software, it would seem.

Case in point is Riverbed’s recent announcement of the end of availability and support of its Virtual Steelhead appliances.  The Virtual Steelhead was introduced just three years ago, after Silver Peak introduced its VX-1000, VX-2000, VX-3000 and VX-5000.  Despite acknowledging the superior agility and lower costs of virtual platforms, Riverbed’s Virtual Steelhead could only scale to just 45 Mbps of optimized capacity and 6,000 simultaneous connections.  Even Silver Peak’s smallest virtual appliances scale to more 8,000 connections.  With users creating 30 or 40 connections per client, it’s easy to see why connection counts are so critical.

Forced migration is the same strategy Riverbed has always used with its hardware appliances. Riverbed customers can end up with appliances that ostensibly meet their needs, but have some limitations (often connection count) that they quickly exceed, forcing customers to migrate to the next appliance, minimizing their return on investment (ROI).  And nor has anything changed with Riverbed’s successor to the Virtual Steelhead, the VCX. It is still limited to 6,000 simultaneous connections, forcing customer to upgrade in a year or less when they exceed the connection counts of their VCX.

Yet there’s no reason for IT to be satisfied with such limited investment protection in their data acceleration solutions. It’s not like code rusts or there are parts to break. Simultaneous connection counts are nothing new and optimization solutions should have more than enough for their environment. Silver Peak’s virtual solutions scale to 1 Gbps of optimized throughput and 256,000 simultaneous connections.

Although our virtual appliances preceded the Virtual Steelhead, they continue to be as relevant today as they were when introduced. In fact, the same core code base introduced three years ago powers all of Silver Peak’s appliances today.

IT pros shouldn’t expect to have to replace their software investment on a vendor’s whim and certainly not within three years; even a washing machine does better than that.

Image credit: Andrea (flickr) – CC-BY-SA