Storage Soup

Apr 8 2008   9:25AM GMT

Riverbed, Silver Peak offered third-party AutoCAD testing

Beth Pariseau Beth Pariseau Profile: Beth Pariseau

Wading into bickering between vendors is always fun. My most recent go-round with this has been the AutoCAD compatibility debate between Silver Peak and Riverbed. It began with the difficulties Riverbed users were seeing with optimizing AutoCAD 2007 and 2008 files, and progressed into a weeklong followup process culminating in a conference call between me, Riverbed VP of marketing Alan Saldich, Riverbed chief scientist Mark Day, Silver Peak director of product marketing Jeff Aaron, and Silver Peak CTO David Hughes, which led to this story

Don’t think this drama’s over yet, either. While on that rather unusual conference call they seemed to reach a consensus that further testing is necessary on both products, neither company has stopped sending little hints my way since that the other guy’s full of it. Meanwhile, another contact I spoke with for the followup story wrote me late last week to suggest they’re both perhaps piling it higher and deeper.

“After reading the back and forth between Silver Peak and Riverbed, and finding neither firms’ claims especially credible, we’ve put forth a public offer to test in a controlled environment,” wrote James Wedding, an Autodesk consultant who blogs at Civil3D.com. “Shockingly, neither company has responded or replied. We have visitors logged from both firms, so they are reading, but no takers. Color me shocked that neither firm wants independent testing on this problem that will continue for a minimum of another year as Autodesk decides to make a change to accommodate the WAN accelerator market.” The Taneja Group has also offered to carry out testing, also with no discernable response from the vendors.

We’re ready when you are, guys.

7  Comments on this Post

 
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  • Beth Pariseau
    20 bucks says Riverbed does not want play! Any takers? I am forwarding this to Expand Networks see www.expand.com Andy Mapp Sencilo Solutions www.sencilo.com
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  • Beth Pariseau
    No sane company can respond to the civil3d challenge. It is well known and accepted that de-dupe systems require to see some common patterns to work well. Some products work better than others. However, the civil3d guy can produce random data, and no one can raise to that challenge. Any company that participates in that challenge has only one to go: fail! And no, I do not work for any wan optimization vendor. Just an industry observer.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    you're probably right, draft_ceo, but then i'd argue they shouldn't have suggested it.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    Look here for an answer from Autodesk: http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/04/Autodesk-promises-remedy-for-file-transfer-woes_1.html (but you probably already knew that...
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  • Beth Pariseau
    While draft_ceo is on the money in some regards, we were willing to let the parties spell out the rules and data prior to the testing, as long as they both played along. Since neither one even sniffed at the opportunity, I can only assume neither wants to actually back up their marketing and PR campaigns in the current state of the dwg file format. I wish I could say I was surprised.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    James, Riverbed stock is down to $11 from $50 in 6 months. I bet they have other pressing issues to work on before they can invest resources in trying to win over a small dwg community. This de-dupe thingy is not magic, and is quite difficult to get it right for all datasets. So, I would give the vendors some time to go look at the issue and address it. And honestly, they cannot keep track of how other file formats are changing everywhere. That can be quite a draining effort...especially when the stock is down 80%.
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  • Beth Pariseau
    AutoCAD 2007, WDS and Deduplication - What is the truth? As written about here http://blocksandfiles.com/article/5013 Riverbed recently completed a set of tests of AutoCAD 2007 and AutoCAD 2004 with four vendors' WDS appliances: Riverbed, Cisco WAAS, Silver Peak and Blue Coat. The purpose of the tests was to confirm Riverbed's claims that all WDS vendors are affected similarly by the new .dwg file format which scrambles bytes on a complete save, even if no changes are made to a file, and that WDS products are not able to deduplicate the scrambled information within the files. Two vendors, Cisco and Silver Peak, have made a variety of claims in press releases, interviews, analyst briefings, blog postings and email campaigns to the contrary such as: - "Our customers are not affected by this" - "This is a Riverbed-specific problem" - "Riverbed is "application-centric" and we are "data-centric" and therefore our appliances are not affected" The data shows otherwise. The tests were done twice for all four vendors across 64 different combinations of test variables: - software version (AutoCAD 2004 and 2007) - bandwidth (1 Mbps and 10 Mbps) - ISP setting* (0 and 50) in AutoCAD - types of changes to the file ("major" and "minor")** The tests confirmed that while all vendors could deduplicate AutoCAD 2004, none of the vendors tested could effectively deduplicate AutoCAD 2007 files - in fact two of the vendors sent more data when the file was saved than in the base case. While none of the vendors could reduce the amount of data sent with AutoCAD 2007, they could reduce the time to save files in the new format across the WAN by varying amounts, though not as much as with AutoCAD 2004. The results were validated by Taneja Group, a leading storage analysis firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. According to Arun Taneja, principal and founder of the firm: "Taneja Group conferred with Riverbed and validated their test methodology. Riverbed has been to the point and transparently forthcoming about these issues to help their customers understand the impact. Clearly, complex file format and application behavior issues present in AutoCAD 2007 impact all vendors in the same way - when test conditions are equal, there simply is no magic pill that makes any one vendor's de-dupe or compression work better with this file format. Moreover, since Riverbed has a broad array of tools to apply to the issue, including mature protocol optimization as well as de-duplication, Riverbed actually performed better under more conditions than the WDS competition, even while AutoCAD's 2007 file format thwarted all approaches to de-duplication. Without a doubt, this issue emphasizes the complexity of storage in the new enterprise, and goes to show that even application vendors must now understand the big picture, including how and where data is accessed and stored in customer enterprises." For complete test results and details of the environment, methodology, please contact Riverbed. * ISP is "incremental save percentage" or ISAVEPERCENT, a setting in AutoCAD that governs when the application does a complete save. Setting ISP to 0 forces a complete save (and therefore scrambles all the bytes in AutoCAD 2007) even if no changes are made to the file. ** a minor change was defined as simply adding text to a file and saving; a major change involved adding a new layout to a drawing and saving it.
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