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Riverbed SD-WAN upgrade means tighter integration for SteelConnect

The Riverbed SD-WAN refresh means companies can swap out existing routers; UNH opens a testing lab for 25 GbE; and Gartner warns NAC policies need tightening.

Riverbed Technology beefed up SteelConnect -- its recently introduced software-defined WAN, or SD-WAN, offering -- integrating the platform more tightly with its existing WAN optimization, network visibility and application performance tools, and allowing companies to swap out their existing routers in favor of using Riverbed's gateway devices. It also upgraded its SteelCentral application performance tool to monitor end-user devices and said a software-as-a-service version of SteelCentral would be made available in December.

SteelConnect 2.0, available later this fall, will now mesh with both SteelCentral and SteelHead, Riverbed's visibility and WAN optimization products. That will allow IT managers to not just monitor application performance across hybrid WANs, remote LANs or cloud networks, but also rely on application acceleration technologies to enhance how data travels through their WANs.

Riverbed SD-WAN enhancements also included the announcement of two new SteelConnect routers that can be used in place of legacy edge and data center devices. The Gateway 1030 delivers up to 1 Gbps of throughput at edge locations, while the 5030 is engineered with 10 Gbps of throughput and geared to data centers.

Industry analysts are anticipating major growth in the SD-WAN market over the next few years, with Gartner projecting 30% of enterprises will begin using the technology by 2019 -- up from only 1% today.

Riverbed is using technology it acquired from Aternity, which it purchased earlier this year, to power SteelCentral's end-user device monitoring functionality. SteelCentral Aternity gathers data from a wide range of sources -- from app servers and browsers to mobile phones and tablets -- to determine application performance and to alert customers of potential problems.

UNH launches 25 GbE testing initiative

The University of New Hampshire InterOperability Laboratory said it is now offering 25 Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) testing services in anticipation of the standard's formal ratification later this year.

The school is making the testing available to members of the 40 and 100 Gigabit Ethernet Consortium in an effort to help suppliers market the new specification.

"As campus, data center and cloud deployments begin to accelerate the adoption of 25 GbE technology, it's critical to have an effective, vendor-agnostic means of testing interoperability and compliance against applicable 25 and 50 GbE specifications," said Brad Booth, chair of the 25G/50G Ethernet Consortium, in a statement.

Ethernet technology is changing from 10 Gbps to 25 Gbps per lane to take advantage of current silicon and system design. But the increased speeds leveraging this infrastructure must be validated and tested to ensure continued market acceptance of Ethernet for data networking.

In addition to interoperability and electrical validation of systems and modules, the services will confirm autonegotiation to ensure connected devices choose common transmission parameters. As new and higher Ethernet transmission speeds enter the market, autonegotiation becomes more critical.

Gartner: Upgrade network access policies to guard against IoT attacks

With the number of internet-connected things slated to outnumber laptops, tablets and smartphones by 2020, network administrators need to take a fresh look at their network access policies, an IT industry research firm warned.

Gartner said the problem is particularly acute with industrial internet of things (IoT) devices, which are expected to total about 1.2 billion within the next four years. All told, Gartner is projecting 21 billion IoT devices will be connected to enterprise networks by 2020. IT organizations face challenges identifying these devices and having them part of current network access policies, said Tim Zimmerman, a research vice president at the firm.

"Having embraced a bring-your-own-device strategy, organizations must now get employee devices on the enterprise network and start addressing the 21 billion IoT devices that we project will want access to the enterprise network," he said in a statement. "Whether a video surveillance camera for a parking lot, a motion detector in a conference room or the HVAC for the entire building, the ability to identify, secure and isolate all IoT devices -- and, in particular, 'headless' devices -- is more difficult to manage and secure."

Once devices are identified, network policies must be created to determine how the things should be connected and what role they will be assigned to govern their access, Gartner said.

To that end, Gartner suggested IT organizations consider policies that include defining how devices may connect to a network, or use tools like packet sniffers to identify gadgets that may do harm to the network. Virtual segments -- for example, separating LED lights from other network traffic -- may also be beneficial.

Next Steps

Understanding network access control

What does 25 GbE mean to the data center?

Making sense of hybrid, SD-WAN

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