In conversation with Enterprise IT, Mena Migally, Regional Vice President, Middle East, Turkey and Africa at Riverbed tell us about the company’s presence in the Middle East region, perspectives on application penetration and how organizations are ensuring high performance of applications
Please tell us more about your presence in ME and UAE
Riverbed entered the Middle East market in 2008 with the establishment of an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As Regional Vice President for the META, I am supported by a regional leadership team that comprises Moueen Zahreddine, Regional Sales Director for Saudi Arabia; Ramzi Bsaibes, Regional Sales Director for Gulf; and Ghassan Abou Rjeily, Regional Channel Sales Manager, META.
From our regional hubs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, we manage an extensive network of expertly enabled, focused channel partners who serve enterprise and public sector customers across the Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) region.
How large is your customer base in the region, can you share few customer implementations?
Globally, Riverbed serves 95% of Fortune 100, and 77% of Forbes Global 500 and this prestigious customer base is mirrored in the Middle East where we engage with the largest public and private sector organisations across key industry verticals including Governments, Banking and Finance, Oil and Gas, Retail, conglomerates and more.
Examples of our regional customer implementations are:
Shelf Drilling: With 30 offshore rigs across eight countries and 12 onshore locations, Dubai-based Shelf Drilling partnered with Riverbed to improve application performance in remote locations, optimize and accelerate apps in low bandwidth environments, and support virtualization initiatives. The organisation was the first company to adopt our SaaS acceleration solution in the Middle East, achieving a more than 50% compression rate on 1.2 terabytes of email data.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST): One of Saudi Arabia’s premier research universities, KAUST collaborated with Riverbed on a transformation project aimed at enhancing its ability to deliver cutting-edge digital services to faculty, researchers, and students within the Kingdom and beyond. Our Alluvio Network Performance Management solution gives KAUST comprehensive visibility across its entire network, enabling rapid troubleshooting for better network performance and visibility while significantly reducing IT complexity and management overheads.
What is the state of the market in the region with regards to Cloud and hybrid environments?
Through the pandemic, as organisations found themselves under immense pressure to adapt IT models to support rapid and dramatic changes to workforce and customer engagement dynamics, a clear solution emerged. Cloud computing, which had already gained significant momentum in the years leading up to 2020, suddenly presented the most rapid, and often most cost-effective means by which organisations could maintain business continuity. This Cloud momentum has continued through 2022.
New work paradigms have however raised new challenges as most IT teams today are tasked with managing a mix of traditional on-premises infrastructure with private Cloud and public Cloud, where performance is not always under IT’s direct control. Meanwhile, Cloud-native applications that are modular, ephemeral, transient, and serverless co-mingle with applications that are self-hosted, managed, or delivered as-a-service. Effectively managing this hybrid infrastructure and application architecture requires unique skill sets and expertise.
Which of your product category is finding more uptake – Accelerator or the Observability tools?
At Riverbed, we draw from a rich history and over 20-year market leadership in application performance optimisation. Today, owing to unprecedented levels of complexity, performance can be impacted by a myriad of factors – the applications themselves, the network, Cloud providers, or end-user devices. It is the combination of acceleration and observability that enables organisations to overcome these challenges.
That said, over the last three consecutive quarters, Riverbed has enjoyed over 30% year on year growth in our visibility and observability solutions which has prompted us to double down on R&D and establish our dedicated unified observability portfolio – Alluvio.
How is the uptake of mobile apps in the region?
Mobile engagements are absolutely essential to businesses. Recent 451 Research, commissioned by AppsFlyer, shows that 84% of UAE businesses say that mobile apps are now a ‘must’ to stay relevant to their customers and consequently, more than nine out of ten (91%) of UAE organisations now offer their customers mobile apps.
Given that Cloud adoption has become complex with advanced technologies such as serverless, containers and microservices architecture, how do you ensure observability?
Alluvio by Riverbed is a different, unique, and superior approach to observability. Our unified observability portfolio unifies data, insights, and actions across all domains and environments, enabling IT to cut through massive complexity and data noise to provide seamless digital experiences that drive enterprise performance for both the employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX).
Traditional monitoring do not work with ephemeral assets, how do you monitor serverless and container-based applications?
We leverage real user monitoring, synthetic monitoring and OpenTelemetry to deliver comprehensive monitoring and observability for transactions running on modern Cloud and application infrastructure, including Docker, Kubernetes, Pivotal, Red Hat OpenShift, OpenStack, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure. With its big data scale and clustered deployment architecture, Alluvio Aternity APM is able to track each individual transaction flow across all application and microservices tiers, whereas other solutions only produce aggregate maps based on patchy data. Our solution also tracks infrastructure utilization and other KPIs at second-by-second intervals (as opposed to 1-5 minute intervals) to definitively pinpoint issues with container or virtualization resources.
Does observability help detect intrusion? If so, can you cite cases/deployments where it has helped identify breaches?
Leveraging our network visibility and observability solutions, which capture and store full-fidelity flow and packet data, security practitioners are able to detect and investigate security threats. We support incident response by providing full historical details about the scope of an attack to assist with remediation and containment efforts. We also support cyber threat hunting, by examining traffic and detecting irregularities that could represent a threat, such as unexpected spikes in traffic or new hosts or services. We also support threat intelligence, which alerts on known indicators of compromise (e.g., malware, viruses, spyware) so teams can investigate and respond before the threat does real harm.
Our solutions track each individual transaction flow across all application and microservices tiers, whereas other solutions only produce aggregate maps based on patchy data. Our solution also tracks infrastructure utilization and other KPIs at second-by-second intervals (as opposed to 1-5 minute intervals) to definitively pinpoint issues with container or virtualization resources.
What is the product roadmap of Riverbed? What are you planning to bring to the market next?
We are set to begin the beta for a SaaS-based Alluvio unified observability solution during this quarter, with the aim of announcing general availability later this year. We presently have several customers, including some Fortune 500 companies, trialling this solution. Their feedback has highlighted that our approach to unified observability helps eliminate data silos and alert fatigue; improve decision-making; apply expert knowledge broadly and continuously to improve digital service quality, all with a simple user interface.
Final observations about the opportunity in the ME and UAE market.
The same challenges that promote the need for observability, and which contribute to it becoming a US$19billion market are faced by businesses in the UAE and broader Middle East market as well. We therefore see tremendous potential for the uptake of observability solutions by organisations across all industry sectors in the region.