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Our Tests Prove It: SaaS Accelerator Provides Dramatic Performance Boosts

Enterprise SaaS offerings like Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce are increasingly vital to modern business. According to a recent trends report, three-quarters of companies will move 80% of their apps to SaaS by 2020. But the SaaS landscape isn’t necessarily rosy: A survey from ESG found that 73% of respondents reported poor SaaS performance on a monthly basis — and 90% say that poor SaaS performance hurts their business.

The new Riverbed SaaS Accelerator is here to solve these problems. SaaS Accelerator facilitates fast, agile, secure delivery of SaaS applications to any user, anywhere, ensuring even the most far-flung and mobile employees stay productive and business continues apace. And that’s not just marketing fluff: In Riverbed’s testing, SaaS Accelerator was shown to improve performance by factors of eight or more. We’ll learn more details about those tests and their results in a moment, but to help you better understand how we tested, let’s take a brief look at how SaaS Accelerator works.

Improve productivity with SaaS
For more on how SaaS can affect workplace efficiency, check out the joint IDC-Riverbed webinar, “Key Considerations for Boosting Workforce Productivity in the Age of SaaS.” We discuss SaaS adoption, IT challenges, and how to elevate user experience to boost the productivity of today’s SaaS-dependent workforce.
Register to View On-Demand HERE

SaaS, untangled

SaaS applications are seductive because they allow IT to relinquish to the SaaS provider much of the hassle involved in rolling out and managing software. But in an enterprise SaaS rollout, you might have dozens or hundreds of users connecting to a SaaS app simultaneously — and many of those connections traverse networks you can’t manage or control. Moreover, enterprise networking practices add another layer of complexity: Many organizations backhaul all network traffic through a central data center where the corporate security stack lives. In a global company, that can result in unpredictable performance that gives rise to frustrating delays.

As illustrated in Figure 1, SaaS Accelerator is a fully managed cloud-based service that cuts through these knots to provide superior performance to your SaaS applications. Once your users have deployed either a SteelHead appliance at their branch or SteelHead Mobile on their device, SaaS Accelerator connects them with the SaaS applications they need. Riverbed’s one-of-a-kind technology and partnerships with major SaaS vendors ensure a seamless user experience regardless of location.

Figure 1. SaaS Accelerator is a key part of a SaaS solution

Putting SaaS Accelerator through its paces

To provide a real-world environment to test SaaS Accelerator, Riverbed created a simulated global corporate network. Our imaginary company was based in the United States, so that’s the location of the Azure instance where we connected to Office 365. But our company’s “employees” were all over the world, from France to South Africa to Australia to South Korea. The tests were performed at scale, with thousands of simultaneous connections, and we experimented with both a hub-and-spoke network topography, where traffic was backhauled through a U.S. data center, and a network where clients had direct Internet access via a high-speed connection.

We used Riverbed Aternity to baseline the performance of Office 365 before deploying SaaS Accelerator. This too mimics a real-world scenario: Aternity is a valuable tool for assessing how your end users experience their interaction with cloud-based apps.

After we deployed SaaS Accelerator, we saw dramatically improved results. We measured download speeds that a user in France would see when fetching a file from a SharePoint drive. With network traffic backhauled through the data center, small files downloaded eight times as quickly, as shown in Figure 2.

Figures 2. SaaS Accelerator produces dramatic download improvements

In a network where clients had direct high-speed internet connections, there was even more improvement in accessing large files — they downloaded 10 times as fast with SaaS Accelerator in place. Note that downloads weren’t just faster; download speed was also more consistent, which can really ease user frustration. We saw similar improvements across the entire geography of our simulated company: Clients based in the U.S., where the data center and our Azure instance were located, benefitted from SaaS Accelerator just as much as those in other countries. And performance gains weren’t limited to Office 365; SaaS Accelerator gave Salesforce and Box a similar boost as well.

If you want to learn more about our simulated company and the tests we ran, check out the SaaS Accelerator Demonstration:

You can also download the SaaS Accelerator Data Sheet, Solution Brief and Partner Playbook from Partner Center.

And, don’t miss the October Rivercast session “Digital Networking | Wake Up Your Customer’s SteelHead available to watch on-demand now!