What is our primary use case?
Riverbed has a few modular solutions. Some are independent but they are all part of a whole and they function as one solution. You can implement a few of these modules depending on what the customer is interested in. For example, APM and NPM, and sometimes both combined. This gives you a deeper and more complex picture than some competitors' solutions.
What is most valuable?
I have found the AppResponse, which is a packet capture solution, very good. It gives you the ability to drill down back in time. You've got all the packets there. You can troubleshoot it later, not immediately. It's very interesting.
It also has the modules to troubleshoot web applications, database transactions, and unified communications, all in one. It is something between an NPM and an APM.
What needs improvement?
There is always room for improvement. I would say improving the user interface is the most important. Also, faster support for some new security features and support for the secure key exchange.
There have been a lot of changes in the last few years with the names in Riverbed. SteelCentral used to be called Cascade. Every two years they change the name of the products. Somebody who is new, or even not so new, needs time to remember the names. This is not something crucial to do and when something is good and working well, why should they just rename it?
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been working with Riverbed SteelCentral AppResponse for five years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is very good.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
How are customer service and technical support?
I have been in touch with support a few times, but not for anything crucial. It was for questions about how to find something, or getting the user interface to show in an appropriate way. No problems with features or anything like that.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup is straightforward but you have to know a little about the product. It's not for everybody to just plug and play. If you know how the solution is implemented then it is straightforward.
It's very fast from our side. It usually takes some time from the customer side because they need to define it on a block of switches on a virtual infrastructure. If it is prepared properly from all sides it should be done and all set up in one working day.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The licenses are costly and are done per module. So, if you need the database or a transaction analysis, you have to pay for that module. You pay once per module and you have it forever. The same for the web transaction analysis and unified communication. You pay for the module once and that's it. But the cost depends on implementation because there are different platforms. Is it a retro-platform or it is hardware?
It is an expensive solution, it's not for everybody. It is not for small customers, but more for medium and large ones.
What other advice do I have?
We require a staff of a small team to maintain the solution. They can quickly find and troubleshoot problems in the database, transactions, unified communication, etc. It's a very good tool. It is very fast and very informative. It gives you an overview where the problem is on the backend server or on the network side. Then you can focus more deeply on that.
On a scale of one to ten I would give it an eight.