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Riverbed SteelCentral Helps The Pennington School Maximize Cloud-Based Learning

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Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ:RVBD) , the leader in application performance infrastructure, today announced that The Pennington School is using Riverbed(R) SteelCentralTM NetExpress to support its technology-rich educational environment. This environment has a mix of owned applications and cloud-based services – in short, a hybrid IT environment, which poses challenges for gaining visibility into application and network performance across IT topologies and vendors. SteelCentral NetExpress, an all-in-one appliance for network performance management, combines packet capture and flow data collection with analytics, dependency mapping, and reporting so the school’s IT team can identify, troubleshoot, and resolve performance problems across applications, networks, and infrastructure before they have any impact upon students. This is critical for a school that uses technology to advance how students learn.

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Founded in 1838, The Pennington School is an independent, coeducational school serving 485 students, including 120 boarding students, half of whom are international. All students and faculty members have iPads, for reading textbooks, taking notes, homework, communicating with teachers and classmates, research, and extra-curricular activities such as working on the school yearbook and communicating with friends and family back home. This puts a huge responsibility on the school’s IT department, led by Director of Technology Kenneth Coakley, to keep the network running flawlessly.

Hybrid IT Delivers Rich Learning Environment and Performance Challenges

Pennington’s IT environment includes owned applications such as Microsoft Office and Blackbaud school administration software and cloud-based services such as the Schoology learning management system and Google Apps for Education. Students and faculty depend on cloud-based Google Apps for Education (Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs, etc.) for basic computing tasks and the Schoology learning management system to create, share and manage academic content. The various departments use a variety of subject-specific cloud apps, such as Subtext from Renaissance Learning, which the English department uses to facilitate discussions about books. Classrooms are affected if the network is down, so Coakley and his team started looking into ways to get better visibility into network performance.

“We knew we needed to get a tool in-house to help us keep the network healthy and efficient,” said Coakley. “We started looking for a solution to help us better monitor our network and be proactive. With Riverbed SteelCentral NetExpress, we have a solution that allows us to isolate, track down and pinpoint where we need to focus. With Riverbed, we can take a scalpel vs. a sledge hammer approach to troubleshooting network performance issues and resolving issues in minutes that previously required hours and sometimes days.”

Having the SteelCentral appliance also helps eliminate the “blame the network first” mentality. “When somebody reports a problem, we can track back and get a better feel for where things are failing,” added Coakley. “Now, troubleshooting takes much less time, and IT can finally be proactive. For example, at one point a few students were bypassing the firewall to play a game and causing the network to slow down. With SteelCentral NetExpress, it took us 15 minutes to see this was happening and put a stop to it.” Coakley estimates that without SteelCentral NetExpress, it would have taken hours, possibly days to ascertain the activity. Coakley continued, “Without Riverbed, that could have taken a lot of scrambling to identify what was causing the network slow down, and how we could stop it. This way we got to it before it was even a problem.”

Riverbed SteelCentral and the Riverbed Application Performance PlatformTM

The Riverbed SteelCentral product family is a performance management and control suite that combines user experience, application, and network performance management to provide the visibility needed to diagnose and cure issues before end users notice a problem, call the help desk, or jump to another web site out of frustration. Riverbed SteelCentral is part of the Riverbed Application Performance PlatformTM, a complete platform that gives CIOs the visibility to deliver, control, and optimize all IT resources across the hybrid enterprise.

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About Riverbed

Riverbed, at more than $1 billion in annual revenue, is the leader in Application Performance Infrastructure, delivering the most complete platform for the hybrid enterprise to ensure applications perform as expected, data is always available when needed, and performance issues can be proactively detected and resolved before impacting business performance. Riverbed enables hybrid enterprises to transform application performance into a competitive advantage by maximizing employee productivity and leveraging IT to create new forms of operational agility. Riverbed’s 25,000+ customers include 97% of both the Fortune 100 and the Forbes Global 100. Learn more at

Riverbed and any Riverbed product or service name or logo used herein are trademarks of Riverbed Technology, Inc. All other trademarks used herein belong to their respective owners.

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