Riverbed Technology has introduced its Central Management Console (CMC) v5.0. The Riverbed CMC simplifies the process of deploying, configuring and managing Steelhead appliances, while providing visibility into the underlying performance of applications running across the WAN.

The enhancements to the CMC provide network administrators with hierarchical structuring of Steelhead appliances, new policy-based configuration, role-based administration and centralised security management.
"In today’s distributed enterprise, networks play a vital role in delivering business-critical applications and services to end-users regardless of their location. Consequently, IT managers are under increased pressure to deliver these applications at the highest service level possible," says Tracy Corbo, senior analyst: Network and Service Management at IDC.
"Application acceleration is only part of the story; in order for companies to realise the full benefits from their WAN application delivery they need enhanced monitoring and visibility into network traffic from a single management console."
The CMC allows configuration, updating and monitoring of Steelhead appliances through a Web-based interface. With the enhancements to CMC 5.0, network administrators are better able to define reports that meet management requirements; obtain visibility into performance by port, application, appliance, or group; simplify configuration by defining groups of similar appliances; modify policies with ease; and permit users to have read only or read-write access to certain operations or certain appliances.
Customers can take advantage of the following enhancements with CMC 5.0:
* Role-based administration – The new role-based administration package for Steelhead appliances and the CMC allows tasks and operational functions to be granularly assigned to different roles. Role-based administration can also be linked to groups of Steelhead appliances so organisations can permit users to have read only or read-write access to certain operations or certain appliances.
* Policy-based configuration management – Configuration of Steelheads in CMC 5.0 is now based on discrete policies that can be assigned among Steelhead appliance groups and imported from existing Steelhead appliances. Policies can be defined separately for optimisation, networking, security, and system configuration elements.
* Hierarchical structuring – To simplify the management of large Steelhead deployments, CMC 5.0 enables network managers to categorise and centrally manage Steelhead appliances. By grouping Steelhead appliances and creating a hierarchical structure, customers with hundreds of Steelhead appliances can manage process changes, such as policy configurations, with the same ease as customers that have two Steelhead appliances.
* Centralised security management – By enabling CMC delivery of the passphrase used to unlock remote encrypted key vaults on Steelhead appliances, Riverbed simplifies administration of the Steelhead appliance without compromising the security of a key vault’s contents. Key vaults on Steelhead appliances maintain private keys for various cryptographic features including SSL acceleration, IPSEC, and disk encryption. Enabling CMC management of Steelhead appliance key vaults helps deliver enterprise management capabilities through an easy-to-use console.
"Visibility into network traffic, the ability to monitor application response time as well as monitoring the performance of WAN application optimisation devices will help customers derive the full benefits from their WAN application delivery deployments," adds Corbo.
"We recommend to all of our customers deploying 10 or more Steelhead appliances that they would benefit from using the CMC," says Christo Briedenhann, country manager: South Africa at Riverbed. "To better manage the Steelhead appliances and gain access to the performance of applications over the WAN, customers are always providing suggestions for enhanced monitoring capabilities. We continue to keep our product enhancements focused on customer demands.
"In addition to the additional CMC features, we are also providing our customers with a comprehensive visibility strategy through our RTA partnerships to provide the tools they need to analyse, manage and optimise their critical WAN infrastructure and ensure the best possible performance for all applications and all users, regardless of location."