Riverbed SteelCentral WebAnalyzer Review

I was able to monitor two key applications that were hosted externally.


What is most valuable?

Riverbed's WebAnalyzer is a very specific tool. I found that deploying this to provide insight into Cloud, or SaaS applications was the only data I could provide to support complaints of network performance.

How has it helped my organization?

In deploying WebAnalyzer, I was able to monitor two key applications that were hosted externally. One was an out and out SaaS application and the other was an application migrated to a cloud deployment with a third party responsible for support and maintenance. In both cases, WebAnalyzer was the only data I could provide to answer the complaints of performance.

What needs improvement?

WebAnalyzer includes support for Ajax transactions, while this is invaluable, it becomes difficult to provide a big picture analysis of pageviews AND ajax transactions. The APDEX score is calculated on pageview response times. Some applications use Ajax extensively to imitate desktop applications. This can be confusing if you only look at Pageview times.

For how long have I used the solution?

1 year.

What was my experience with deployment of the solution?

Installation of the client browser plugin is tedious. For SaaS applications this is the only option as most vendors will not modify their source code to include the javascript telemetry.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

None. The collector was deployed on Redhat linux and data shared to a Windows server for the gui and storage.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Clients are manually installed. This makes mass deployments impossible. I was unable to determine where the Riverbed BrowerMetrix configuration was stored to allow a 'Push' through standard package management.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

Support was responsive, although I'm unsure where this product fits into a longer term deplyment for Riverbed or a company installing this.

Technical Support:

Adequate. Installation was a multi-day affair even with someone who was qualified to support the deployment.

Which solutions did we use previously?

Previously I used Dell's Foglight appliance for RUM. That is radically different approach and not applicable for applications where you cannot access the HTTPS private key. (eg most cloud, and SaaS applications). While I enjoyed the features of Foglight. For Cloud or SaaS deployments without a Private key requires client side instrumentation that BrowserMetrix and WebAnalyzer provide.

How was the initial setup?

Deployment of the internal SSL / HTTP certificates was complicated. The self-signed CA could have been used although this would generate an untrusted alert for users visiting the dashboard in Riverbed Portal. While CA is not an issue is you're ok with the alerts it can be confusing for end users.

What about the implementation team?

Vendor team provided remote support. Over the course of three days we had a continual video conference to perform the install and configuration of the

What was our ROI?

ROI was folded into Network runtime costs. Time to analysis for complaints was improved to < 24 hours based on the dashboard and ability to drill into specific users or locations.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Use of BrowserMetrix and WebAnalyzer requires someone with skill and experience in Application Performance Management to extract value from this type of deployment. Maintenance includes surveying top url's for domains that are monitored and defining bucket for the performance metrics' storage. If this is NOT done, the overall score of an application can be skewed unfairly higher.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Dell's Foglight APM EUM appliance was evaluated and determined to be unusable for SaaS applications.

What other advice do I have?

I recommend a trial, of at least two applications across 30-45 days be the minimum for determining value in this solution.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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