We mainly use Exinda for traffic management, to make sure that our customers' traffic is prioritized.
Some of our customers don't want certain traffic to go through the network, so we can block or limit it.
We mainly use Exinda for traffic management, to make sure that our customers' traffic is prioritized.
Some of our customers don't want certain traffic to go through the network, so we can block or limit it.
We have voice applications that need to be prioritized. The voice would be terrible without Exinda.
We can analyze the performance of the different applications. It's used as a troubleshooting tool. It makes it easier for us to improve the efficiency of our troubleshooting process. It allows us to see what's going on.
The most valuable feature is the ability to create policies where we can tailor them to the customer. It enables us to prioritize apps and users for bandwidth.
Exinda allows us to see what's happening with our network and apps. We can actually monitor stuff in real-time.
Exinda has not allowed us to also maintain app performance without buying more bandwidth because we generally allocate a certain amount of bandwidth to our customers. Our bandwidth depends on how many customers we have.
In terms of improvement, one thing that has always frustrated me about it is that when you look at real-time monitoring, you can only filter it by IP address. You can't filter it by anything else. It would be good if we could filter by VLAN.
I have been using Exinda for around five years at my current company but I have around 10 years of overall experience with it.
The stability is okay. The model that we have is not the best in the range. Sometimes we do have issues related to performance. I think it has to do more with the model rather than the product.
They have different models in the range that we could upgrade to.
Quite a lot of people at my company use Exinda for monitoring and to add in policies for customers.
It's currently being used in three locations.
I haven't used support since GFI bought the company but some people I work with have said that the GFI technical support is really terrible.
It's a product we use all the time. I would think we've seen return from it.
The price is okay. Although, our license for Exinda has low bandwidth. I don't know what the price has to be for more bandwidth.
I don't think there are additional costs to the standard licensing. I think you just buy your bandwidth license every year. It's fairly simple.
I'm familiar with Blue Coat and Silver Peak.
One of the concerns that we've had with Exinda is the fact that ever since GFI took over Exinda, they haven't really put in much time into actually developing the product. That would be a concern going forward.
I would rate Exinda a six out of ten. The product's okay, we have concerns about GFI where they're not developing the product and the technical support isn't very good.
We are a small team. As much as we can automate, that is what we need to do. Between the Exinda appliance and our firewall, we put policies into place. If they need to be adjusted later on, that is great.
With Exinda, I log into it at least once a day, though I'm not on it all day long. We have reports automated to show usage. So, we can adjust that. We look at overall bandwidth, what's actually coming through, and how much of that is actually being prioritized.
The solution allows us to focus on application performance, rather than just “throttling” traffic and bandwidth. When I do this, I'll put an app out there just to peek here and there. For example, there is an application that our football team uses called "Huddle", which they use for scouting. They will also post their practices there. So, this is an essential tool that they use. When it's performing, it is all streaming video. and I keep watch over it.
For athletics' streaming video, we do have a custom app that we put in there to monitor performance. It is cool that you can actually put a custom app in there. It's not just all the predefined stuff; you can create your own applications and monitor them. I don't do a whole lot of that, but I do it a little bit of it.
Exinda has enabled us to gain control over our network traffic. I don't know how I would control it otherwise. You can do some basic stuff, e.g., at the firewall level or switch level, where you can do quality of service. However, that doesn't touch on the granularity that you get with an optimizer, like Exinda, which allows you to go in there and and look at ranges of IP addresses. In my network, I have certain ranges for certain machines, e.g., classrooms fall in this range, my faculty and staff might fall on another range, and then students fall into another range. You can identify based on location essentially, then pull those computers out and give them priority. So, I know that during the day my classrooms will take priority. So, I'll just pull out that entire network range and bump it up a bit. That is something that we use it for a lot.
I use Exinda's dashboard to see what’s happening on our network. It allows us to look at our top applications, like the most prioritized and used applications, and look at what they are doing. For example, our current top applications are:
It really gives us an idea of what students are actually using. We can trend applications, and say, "This is what they're using today."
It used to be where everybody was downloading MP3s and movie files, now not so much. We only allocate a certain amount of bandwidth for that now, because torrenting invites a lot of sketchy stuff, like malware, which you do not want on your network. Aside from that, we are not allowing torrenting to take priority. If you don't want something there, you can even go ahead and drop the traffic as well. Though, I don't like using it so much like a firewall, then dropping the traffic.
We look at traffic patterns or how much it's being utilized during the day. You can definitely see in the morning that traffic is at an all time low. I have maybe 150 MB coming across my network, because early morning is just classroom activity. You're really only using the network for what is needed. If we don't have all the entertainment stuff and it was just simply work-related and academic-related, then we wouldn't really need that much bandwidth at all. However, as the day goes on, it'll get up between 500 to 800 MB. So, it'll get pretty high.
We can also kind of look at our utilization during the day. I've used it before to make a decision on when is the best time to reboot network equipment, e.g., when are the fewest number of users going to be on the network. You get kind of creative with how you can use it, because now you're looking at utilization to start planning and your work maintenance.
It has the ability to prioritize, providing an automatic optimization. I can put it in a hierarchy and know that certain devices will be prioritized over others. It is able to identify the traffic. It can pick out whether if its a Zoom meeting (or something like that), then it's able to put that somewhere in the hierarchy based on the traffic type.
Exinda allows us to see what is happening with our network and apps. I use it for that somewhat. For example, if someone calls in, and say, "Hey, I'm having a problem with this. It's not performing very well." We can identify where the traffic is going and what kind of a policy it is falling into, which has been really helpful. It has enabled us to put directed and auto-pilot management mechanisms in place, based on best practices. Unless we have to touch it, it is set and forget for us.
Having the daily report able to look at and reference is a good feature. I know in the past that has given us some use cases. For example, we have so much traffic coming through that you can see the breakdown all day, e.g., how much is actually being used by academic applications. This sort of gives justification to what you are doing when you see a whole bunch of entertainment type stuff coming through. People might say, "Hey, I was in class today and performance was not as good as it should be." I will be like, "Well, let's look at what's happening." Then, you look and the majority of the network has been taken over by PlayStation and Xbox. If I put in another policy, then it should take care of performance issue.
It's an invaluable tool. You need to have some kind of insight into what your users are doing on the network. If we had unlimited bandwidth to let people do whatever they wanted to, that would be great. However, the reality of it is, you don't have that and you need to prioritize.
You can allocate either a certain amount of bandwidth or just allocate a priority. I can take away bandwidth from rogue applications, if I'm like, "Hey, that's not really necessary that they have all this bandwidth for some crazy application out there where you have one or two users." I can go ahead and give that a lower priority and lower amount of bandwidth, decreasing the cap. That way, the applications that I want to take precedence can take the bandwidth that they need.
I do like is the recommendations on the dashboard when you log in, where it tells you, "This application is approaching the top 10 for the first time in seven days," or whatever. Then, it's like, "Let's see if I need a policy for that." For example:
It's kind of cool that you can see that.
Creating the custom application is a bit awkward. I kind of have to guess my way through it sometimes.
A lot of working with this solution is really intuitive. I have picked it up mostly on my own. I'm sure that there are some things that maybe I hadn't thought of or really hadn't considered, and I think it would be good just to promote some day courses. I don't really see a whole lot that comes out for Exinda as far as training or informational sessions through our normal resellers. It would be cool to know more about the solution by utilizing educational resources or even have Exinda promoted a bit better.
We have been using it for six to eight years. We have been through two iterations of the Exinda appliance, because we upgraded it at one point and just kept it up. The last major upgrade was four or five years ago.
It is pretty stable. Every now and then, you have to go in and restart services because the dashboards won't just churn data, but it's still prioritizing and working in the background. I can see it working. That's the only thing that I've really had to go in there and do.
Normally, I have a mission when I go into it, as it is a lot just to open it up and look at a bunch of random stuff, like an internal IP, etc. I can check, and say, "Okay, let's see what so-and-so is doing because they said that whatever they're using, website or whatever, is not working. Or, they can't get to it." So, I'll make sure that the traffic is even making it this far to the edge of the network. Then, I'll look at, "Well, what kind of performance is it actually getting? What's the transfer rate? What is the outside IP address that it's trying to go to?" If I see that it's trying to go somewhere, but it can't, then from there, I'm like, "Well, let's check the firewall to see if I got some kind of a rule in there that might be stopping it."
It gives you kind of a roadmap to do that. If there is some sort of low performance, then I'll go in, and say, "What kind of a rule do I have? Do I need a better rule? Do I need to set something in there?" If someone is saying that they can't watch a Facebook video or get to Instagram, then do I have a policy in there for it?
It scales out with what you have. I haven't really had any reason to scale it up. We're not really seeing huge jumps to where we would have to accommodate so much extra bandwidth. Our appliance right now would go and accommodate up to three gigs, so it's got plenty of room for growth. Therefore, I don't foresee any major leaps and bounds in network utilization. It stays pretty consistent and there is plenty of room for growth. With all that we're throwing at it right now, we have not seen any major jumps with all the streaming usage, conference software, etc. It seems to be handling that pretty well.
We're not at peak capacity on how much traffic it can handle. We have a lot of room for growth on our level of clients. So, I think it is pretty scalable. It gives you a pretty good range.
I talked to them before about the issue of data not being available. They talked me through going in and just restarting the services, because every now and then, it does it. They were really good about that. Aside from that, I have talked to them before about building a policy for an application. However, I haven't had to contact support for anything major. They were pretty responsive. Overall, they answered my questions. It was a positive experience.
We were using an old Packeteer PacketShaper way back in the day. Exinda approached optimization a bit differently. We were able to prioritize the stuff that we needed on campus. I can remember back when downloads were pretty heavy. This was before streaming really took off. People were downloading and torrenting movies. So, we used it to squash all that to optimize and prioritize our traffic for classroom use. On a college campus, you're pretty much an ISP because you have residents that live there.
There is a fine balance between things that people need and things that they want. Obviously, if we let them, students would be on Xbox all day long and that would take over the network. Then, at night, once classes are over, we use some time-based rules. However, we do keep some rules up there above everything, like our classroom podiums, which we know need to be optimized pretty much around the clock.
When we had PacketShaper, we had a couple of T1 lines at the time. It did some pretty cool things. Our network admin was able to shape the traffic for certain times of the day by cutting out a lot of the downloads. At a certain times, the traffic would just open up. Then, at the end of the day, it was like, "Wow, everybody is just taking over the network after hours." Nowadays, you can't even do that.
Where we used to have just the standard daytime workload of classes, we have now a Fall semester, a Winter term, a Spring semester, a May term, a June term, and experiential term with classes that go all day long and running around the clock. Since COVID-19 hit, you have traffic coming over from the dorms, which now includes some classroom/classwork activity, where most of it was traditionally just entertainment. Now all of a sudden, since classrooms are just kind of all over the place, you have some classes that are online only and some that are in person with some of them being a hybrid of the two. With students taking classes from their dorm room, there has been an emphasis from our administration on making sure that students are able to get to what they need.
It used to be that if a switch or something failed over in a dorm, if we could get to it and have it up within the day, then we were good. Now, it's like a catastrophe because it's just like a class being down. If we have someone over in a dorm who is unable to stream their class over Microsoft Teams, Zoom, etc., then that is seen as major and important. Looking at the application performance as a whole across campus, it's like the classroom could technically be anywhere now. You have to make sure that those applications are going to work regardless of where they're coming from.
Compared to some of the stuff that I've used a decade ago, the Exinda solution is night and day. It gives you more from a cost perspective. I've priced out some other solutions, and Exinda was a bit more reasonable priced than a lot of the competition in my opinion.
This solution was already in place when I took it. There was already a lot there.
Its updates are really straightforward and managing it is also really straightforward and simple. I have really no complaints there. The only thing that you really have to do is rack it, connect it, and do the setup. Outside of that, there is creating the policies, which is really straightforward.
If I have a new appliance, I can unboxed it and set it up. then be up and running in a day. It is pretty straightforward. As you go, you watch the traffic and build policies around what you see.
Virtually no staff is required for day-to-day maintenance. Now and then, I'll look in there, and I'll say, "Oh, yeah. Well, there's an update." So, I plan now around after hours to install updates because I will need to reboot the thing. Aside from that, there's not really a whole lot of maintenance on the appliance itself. It's more just watching the policies, e.g., you can watch a real-time monitor.
It has been awhile since we have had an upgrade in bandwidth. We find that the solution basically keeps everything in check. Two years ago, we decided that we were spending a lot of money on cable. We went out there and polled the students whether they watch TV or not. By looking at Exinda, I could see that I had several terabytes worth of Netflix coming across the network. I could see that they were already subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, and YouTube TV. I'm like, "Wow. They're already using all these services anyway." So, we made the decision to go ahead and turn off cable TV. Because when they say they're watching TV, they're subscribing to their services and using the bandwidth anyway. We were able to get some savings there by disconnecting traditional cable service and focusing our efforts more on just delivering content digitally and Internet-based. Because of that kind of visibility, it gave us real insight into what students were doing in their dorm rooms.
If I don't have to keep on upping my bandwidth every single year as applications become more media intense, then in the long run, we see savings. I've talked to some other more well-endowed schools who are able to throw all kinds of bandwidth at it. They have a crazy amount. While we do have to be a bit more intentional about what we're doing, I can say, confidently, based on the traffic that we don't need any more bandwidth right now. Compression rates are getting better too. As far as budget planning, we're in a great place. We don't have to even consider increasing our bandwidth. As a result of this, it does save you money over time. You're making informed decisions; it's not guessing.
IT spends a lot of money on technology, but it's across the business. If you don't have it, you're not competitive. Your returns are a lot of soft returns, because you're able to provide a necessary service, and because of that, your people are happier. You're spending less than you would have because you're managing the problem, not just throwing money at it.
I know that there is a savings. I know what it cost to subscribe to another several gig of bandwidth. When you're paying that monthly fee of $6,000 to $8,000, depending on who you go with a month for a gig of data, it can get expensive.
The pricing and licensing are pretty fair and really competitive. There are other SD-WAN solutions that are pretty costly because they build in a service where they'll manage it for you, which is really great. I don't know if Exinda has that option as well. However, we are a small shop and cost-conscious. For things like this, we are accustomed to self-managing and this solution suits us just fine. For a tool that gives you, like the graphs and reporting, it has a fair price point.
While I have looked at some other solutions, Exinda has been pretty on point for what you get and what it costs.
What it does is an essential thing. I rely on it to be automated. We use it for everything. It has definitely met our needs and helped us control traffic flow. We get a great picture of what's going on across network applications. It has allowed us to keep tabs on network performance.
I would definitely size your appliance with a little room to grow. You don't know where you're going to be, e.g., you could have an explosion in technology a year from now.
When you manage your traffic, then you can do a whole lot more with a whole lot less. It's just like anything, if you manage it well, then it will work well. That's the big takeaway.
We get a good picture of what people are using and our technologies right now, which is really important. It is very interesting just to watch and see the types of applications and devices that the younger generations are using. When you have a better idea of what their needs are and their needs are met, it's a better overall experience for them.
I would rate this solution as a 10 out of 10.
We use Exinda to control the bandwidth to different constituents on campus.
We are better able to control what individuals and different people on campus are doing. We can prioritize certain things to students, certain things to faculty, and certain things to staff, by application. Similarly, we can slow down and give less of a priority to things that aren't important to certain groups. For example, staff doesn't need to be able to watch Netflix in high-definition while they're working, but students might, because the college is their home. The ability to do that was the reason that we put it in.
We use the solution's dashboard to see what's happening in our network. We look at it every day, but we don't monitor it consistently unless we think there's an issue. But it does play a role in our ability to make decisions related to what we see. One of the great things for us is that the solution works, and it works whether you're looking at it or not. For us, the fact that it keeps going and does everything that we need it to do, while we only check on it once a day, is great.
Particularly with COVID, we were concerned about what the bandwidth use was going to be like and whether we were going to be able to handle the change and what it would mean to have people working remotely. And when we came back to classes in the fall, we were concerned about whether were we going to be able to have the bandwidth if people here on campus were going to be holding a class that needed to have a virtual component. We used the Exinda to watch that and monitor it, and ultimately show that we were fine. We changed some of the priorities in the Exinda on traffic for certain things, like Zoom, and it made the difference for us.
The most valuable feature is the ability to manage the traffic at the application layer. It makes things a lot easier. We're not digging for port numbers and IP addresses and different services. We're able to say, "We need to make sure that Zoom is a priority for faculty." It makes us far more responsive in our ability to do things and speed up the process. We're a very small shop, so having something that's straightforward and easy to use is a big help.
The fact that we are more responsive is a big thing for us because, with the packet shaping solution we used to have, it took a lot of work to do anything. This is far more straightforward and easy to do.
It gives you the visibility into the things that you're doing, and you get suggestions as well. That's helpful. Every time there's a shift in what the population is doing, the Exinda recommends, "Hey, we're seeing a lot of Dropbox traffic. You don't have a rule for that. You should probably think about doing that." I also use it to watch the traffic on the internet. We have a few options for doing that, but one of the easiest is through the Exinda dashboard and the real-time monitoring.
One of the nice things that Exinda has enabled us to do is to set up the monitoring of certain things. We can monitor the response to our webpage. We can also monitor our different systems—some are cloud-based, some are here—and create service levels for monitoring so that we ensure that critical systems are up, running, and responding appropriately.
Everybody is moving everything to the cloud. When they wanted to move our website from on-prem to the cloud, in the initial testing people were saying, "Well, it's a little slower," and I said, "Well, of course it's slower, because when you're on campus, you're not leaving to go to the internet to get to the webpage." I was actually able to show metrics of why that was and how. We still monitor that. It didn't ultimately change anybody's mind, but at least we were able to say, "You can't have the same level of service from the cloud that you get on-prem."
The updating of applications that the system knows about could be a little quicker. For example, Zoom had been out for a while, but it took a while for it to show up as an application that Exinda could natively handle. We had to write some things in order to handle Zoom, initially.
I have been using Exinda for almost five years.
We haven't had any problems.
We've had a couple of issues that were really not impacting the network at all, but they impacted the way we used the device. We got a replacement and it was fine. Recently, we upgraded our internet pipes and didn't even give another thought to looking for a different solution. We just upgraded to new devices.
We had to change hardware because we changed our bandwidth, but I'm not sure that scalability is something I would think of when I think of the Exinda product, because you have to change it.
We have two 1-Gb internet pipes that we aggregate and then send through the Exinda. We normally service just over 3,000 people on campus, so we're pretty small. Right now, we are well below that with COVID. And normally, we see our traffic pretty close to utilized, but we're not even utilizing half our bandwidth at this point due to COVID.
GFI's technical support for this solution could be better. It's hard to find information about Exinda, directly. It seems like it's not a priority for them.
We used to use traditional packet shapers, and when we decided to replace that approach, we went with this solution which, rather than packet shaping, does more application shaping.
The initial setup was pretty straightforward. We worked on it for about a day.
It was implemented by the vendor that sold it to us, Annese; they have since been acquired by ConvergeOne. Our experience with the vendor was good. They gathered the information on what we were taking out and what was important to us. That implementation plan came through the statement of work through the vendor.
I'm the only person responsible for the administration of Exinda in our organization.
We have seen ROI with Exinda in that it is better than what we were using and it is certainly easier to manage. It impacts my time much less than the old solution and it gives me the visibility that I need into certain things. In terms of time saved, while this area is not a big part of my job, I'm the only one who does it. With Exinda I probably spend half the time that I would have on the old solution if I need to implement a rule change.
The pricing is on par with the other solutions.
We did some shopping around and we liked how Exinda handled things at the application layer, rather than packet-shaping.
We looked at a newer version of what we were already using at that time. We wound up going through the reseller and talking with them about solutions. They recommended this and that's where we wound up.
Go through the training. The training time that I spent at Exinda was well worth it. I got a lot of insight from that.
Exinda also allows you to focus on application performance rather than just throttling traffic and bandwidth, although that's not something that we do. There are a lot of things that we could do with the stuff that we have, but we just don't have the shop to be able to monitor a lot of the things too closely. If we have a problem, we can go and look at stuff. We have things set up so that we can monitor some of these applications and some of the SLAs that we've set up. For example, we can watch the response time for the student information system, particularly, to make sure that it's always available to faculty and students.
As a company dealing in satellite technology, we use it for small to big satellite links, and for some remote islands in the South Pacific. The environments that it's deployed in range from corporate offices, to those remote islands, to vessels. It includes cruise boats and shipping containers, and extends to people in Papua New Guinea working in the mud.
We're an ISP. We use it more on the troubleshooting side. We'll have an Exinda per satellite service, and it allows us to see that portion of the link.
It's very much a hybrid. Most of it is in the hub: one big one in the hub location, and then a lot of remote ones.
The best benefit for us is on the troubleshooting side. You can stick it between you and another point of traffic. You can packet-capture some of that traffic and you can also see the traffic flow between the two devices. You can actually see what's going on and, as a result, we get involved less in arguments with customers. That makes customers happier. There is less arguing with customers regarding free ports and how the data is used, when you can actually produce a report for the customer. It has helped to reduce troubleshooting time a lot.
Also, when there is a satellite with a high latency, it helps to overcome some of that high latency.
Exinda has also enabled us to gain control over our network traffic, because some of our modems are not really that great at shaping. So if you stick the shaper in front of them, it's a little bit more gentle in dropping packets.
In addition, it has allowed us to maintain app performance without buying more bandwidth. For example, you can shape down traffic, like Windows updates. They will still work, even being fed in a trickle. You can prioritize all the work-related applications and therefore you can get more use out of your bandwidth, or you can customize it per customer.
It also enables us to repurpose bandwidth being consumed by rogue applications. While that doesn't save us any money, it makes us more competitive in the marketplace. A customer can either buy 50 Mb with us or 50 Mb with somebody else, but they'll get a 70 Mb feel with us because we can shape it a little bit better. It makes it less laggy.
The most valuable features are the
The first of those is a shaper and not a policer. What I mean by that is it will shape the traffic better than, for example, a Cisco, because it's more gentle on the shaping side of things. Suppose you were selling a 20-meg link. Because you can shape to the Nth degree of traffic, the 20-meg link feels like about a 30 to 40-meg link.
We also use the Exinda dashboard to see what's happening in our network. Most of the time we would provide that type of information to the customer, so they can see for themselves what's going on. But on our end, it helps us to see if a spate of traffic is going in one direction, or if a whole bunch of weird packets are in there during Windows updates. A great example is that last Friday there were a whole bunch of Google phone updates. We could see that people were upgrading firmware on a remote island. The customer was saying they had bad bandwidth. We could tell them, "Hey, it's just Google updates. You can disable it, but that may cause other issues."
There might be room for improvement in the speed and throughput of some of their devices. They're getting a bit slow on some of the bigger devices. It would be helpful if there were some sort of an ISP model.
Also, while I don't think it would be possible for them to do, it would be better if they had the Citrix support and the visualization to visualize your network.
Besides that, it fits its purpose as a shaper and accelerator. Some people would say things like, "Add a firewall to it," but I disagree. I think a firewall's a firewall, and Exinda's a shaper and accelerator.
I have been using Exinda for somewhere in the vicinity of five to six years.
The stability was terrible in version 7.0 but it's been good since version 7.2. There haven't been any recent issues.
My only complaint about the scalability would be that once you get over about 500 or 600 Mb, it does start to not be as compliant. We haven't spoken to them about it because I don't think they have pushed the envelope as far as we have. I don't think they would understand that part of it. It does what it needs to do. We are trying to make it do a little bit more.
We have plans to increase usage in the future. There has been a bit of a downturn with things like cruise boats, due to COVID, but once that picks back up again we should be fine and installing a lot more of them.
Our experience with their tech support started off well. Then, a couple of their employees went wayward, but they got them back and that made things a bit easier. But I cannot really complain about the technical support. You log a case and it does get sorted out.
Of late, it's been okay. It's been pretty good. We don't really use them that much now. With the number of people that we have and how long we have had Exinda for, we may have surpassed what they have been doing.
They have some issues at the moment with delivery and picking stuff up. They have outsourced a lot of that, which makes it a bit difficult, especially when you try to explain that the billing address is an Island and they keep asking for a street name. When there is no street, that does not compute in their system. You literally just send it to the island with a person's name because there are 55 people on the Island and they all know each other. There is no PO box. So that outsourcing has made things a little bit more difficult, but it's not the end of the world. It's still better than a lot of other vendors' technical support.
It was quite nice when Exinda had support in Australia. My complaint now is the time zones in which they support people and during which the accounts people work. I'm not saying they are not responsive, but it was much easier when we could actually pick up the phone and call somebody in Australia. It seems like AUS-PAC has been left to get support from Europe, as well as from an accounts perspective. Therefore, we don't get anyone to actually speak to live so we can say, "We'd like to buy these five things."
There's also nothing much in the way of pre-sales anymore. Previously, we had an account manager and a pre-sales person in here. We could actually ask the pre-sales person a question and he would go back and say, "Let me run this up. I'll let you know tomorrow." Tomorrow would come and he would say, "No," or he would say, "Yes." At the moment, there's none of that at all. We have to provide our own pre-sales for the product.
And sometimes getting a quote back from Europe takes time. If I was to send something in on a Monday, there's no one there on my Monday. I will have to wait a whole 24 hours before I get a response. For us, that may mean a deal will disappear. And if we ask if they have any stock in inventory in Australia, an answer can sometimes take 48 hours to arrive.
We had Riverbed, XipLink, and UniGateway. Before Exinda, we were playing with all of them at the same time. We still use a little bit of XipLink.
We decided to switch because we did a comparison. We ran six solutions side-by-side and we tested them based on speed of installation, reporting, acceleration, shaping, ease of use, and cost. We used an Excel spreadsheet and we got a whole bunch of test sites and we evaluated every single product that we could find.
It came down to three products: Riverbed and XipLink in addition to Exinda. Then the purchasing people went off and had a chat. They were able to bargain things down a little bit on price, so we picked Exinda. The cost drops a little bit when you buy a bigger domain license.
The con with Riverbed is that it was expensive. It has a lot of third-party add-on features that are, to be honest with you, a little bit better than Exinda on the add-on features, especially with things like Citrix.
Ziplink has a different format. It uses tunnels, which can be very good at times. You can use a tunnel to push traffic in a specific direction.
Exinda does not do the tunnels, but it is almost as good as Riverbed, although without the additional features. But then, the cost is much less, so you get better value for your money.
The setup is straightforward now, because we've put a script into the Exinda. So we just dump the config into the Exinda and it pretty much configures most of the stuff for us. But that's because we've put that effort into making it work fast. It's faster to configure an Exinda than, say, a XipLink or a Riverbed, in my opinion. And once you get it scripted, it makes things a lot easier.
To deploy the first one, before we had it scripted, it took us about a month. Now, with the script, it takes about 30 minutes. It only takes one person to deploy it.
The script itself is just a basic satellite config. It has some basic satellite rules. It uses one-way shaping traffic. It does things like that for our network. It uses our DNS servers and all of that information, so we don't have to double-handle things and type everything in twice.
In terms of deployment and maintenance, we have a number of people who are all trained in different things. We have field techs who are trained in deployment and we have support engineers who are trained to support it. Overall, about 20 people are involved.
The number of end-users varies, because we have an island that uses. At one point there were 60,000 people on one island. And then there are cruise boats that can have 20,000 people. The total number of users might be close to 100,000.
I'm more on the technical side, but I see the return on investment when you can actually compete with somebody else who doesn't have one. It helps with retention. Customers who have asked for 50 Mb go to somebody else and they usually come back because they did not realize that 50 Mb of non-shaped, versus our 50 Mb, is not the same.
It does make my life easier, being able to troubleshoot something really fast. I'm able to see the traffic on a screen and I'm able to packet-capture quickly. I've never thought of it as a time saver, but it obviously is.
It is priced well for the market, for what it needs to do. We pay for a site license. It's a one-off fee.
The biggest things with Exinda are being able to shape and visualize and provide a customer with a report. It helps with being open and honest as well. Nine out of 10 times customers have access to the Exinda and so do we, so everything is completely transparent and honest. If they're not getting the 50 Mb, they can see it and we can see it. There's no hiding it, which is what I like a lot.
Look into it keeping in mind that it's a proper shaper and not just a policer. Look into those facts and understand a little bit more about it. I've seen a lot of customers still buying archaic shapers, but it's easier to shape something nicely than to just drop packets. "Shaper versus policer" is probably the best advice I can give. Make sure the shaper that you're buying is actually a proper shaper.
The most valuable feature is the WAN management feature. You have WAN channel and with Exinda you can have throughput management on that channel. You may have solutions that connect to other sides of your business or to the cloud, for example, and you can know exactly what every solution uses which part of the throughput. Exinda can show you which product uses how much throughput and can help you manage it. You can use Exinda as a network orchestrator so you can be sure that the throughput is managed well and everything gets what it needs. You can choose to put 90% for business-critical applications and leave 10% for not critical applications and Exinda will manage this for you. It will dynamically change the throughput limits depending on how business-critical apps are using the WAN channel. If these apps need 90% they'll get it. But if they need only 50% (less than 90%) of WAN channel width, non-critical applications limits will be dynamically improved.
It will be great to get ability to work with in cloud infrastructures.
I have been using Exinda for six months.
It's very stable. When Exinda shuts down, it's not a problem for your network because it will only be a cable between the site and a firewall. You won't see any changes.
It runs 24/7.
It's very scalable. Half of it can be a hardware appliance and the other half can be virtual. It can work with smaller channels like 100 megabits or five megabits. But it's not really an enterprise solution. This software is better for SMBs but it really depends. We have larger than midsized companies. It depends on their needs. But it is primarily small and medium-sized businesses.
I am a distributor so I often will act as the support.
It is pretty easy to set up but sometimes companies require more complex setups. Exinda is an optimization solution and it has a lot of features for that but I'm not so familiar with them. It can be complex to deploy but only because of the customer's needs.
The setup will take a minimum of an hour. You need that time to configure it and set up the default settings.
They offer scalable licenses. These licenses can be on different types of solutions; small boxes for a desktop or solutions for data centers. You can choose a big server but not have a big license or you can choose not a big solution for the desktop but have a big license.
My advice would be to be sure to choose the right license. They have a lot of options with a lot of features but you have to be sure to choose the license type that you need.
I would rate Exinda an eight out of ten.
In the next release, I would like to have the ability to work with the cloud.
It's a WAN optimization tool. It allows us to provide WAN optimization at a more granular level than we would be able to do with a standard MPLS QoS configuration.
Exinda allows us to provide better voice quality out to India over heavily utilized WAN links.
The most valuable feature is the ability to provide very granular classes of service. That's important because it allows us to prioritize certain traffic types over others, to a very granular level. It allows us to really control what the priority applications are, from a connectivity point of view. And we can do it very quickly as well, which is something we wouldn't be able to do with a third-party WAN provider.
The product itself is very good. The areas for improvement would be around the support service that GFI provides. The licensing is also complicated and the presales process is quite complicated as well.
We've been using Exinda for over five years.
The stability of the solution is very good. It's very stable.
I think it scales well. If you need to upgrade licenses, it's fairly easy to do. You do have to go through a fairly lengthy presales process to get new licenses. But in terms of scalability and manageability, it's okay.
It's being used in all of our main data centers. It's being used in our key offices. We may look to deploy a few more in the UK over the next few years, but there's no real driver for that at the moment. It may be useful to use it for getting more visibility and optimization of traffic in the cloud. So we may end up deploying another four or five Exinda units over the next two or three years. But it won't be in large numbers.
I would rate GFI's technical support a six out of 10. It's difficult to log a support ticket with them. You have to go through a very generic portal, and it's a very long-winded process. Once you've got the ticket logged, it's fine. They're pretty responsive. But you can't just phone up somebody and raise a support ticket. You have to go through their portal, which can take a while.
We did not have a previous solution. We went with Exinda because it works. It did what we wanted it to do, in terms of optimizing WAN traffic and our business saw a benefit as a result.
The setup is very straightforward. It's literally just plug-and-play. That is one of its key benefits. You just plug it in, in-line, and it works. It doesn't require any other network configuration to get it working, apart from the management connection. It's pretty simple.
Our original deployment took a couple of hours.
You can't do a business ROI on a product like Exinda. We can't say how much money we have saved by having Exinda versus how much money we would have lost by not having Exinda. It doesn't work that way.
The benefit that we have seen is that if we turn it off, people notice that the applications are running slowly.
We did a trial with Riverbed Steelhead but it didn't work. It was just too difficult to implement. And once we implemented it, there was no benefit.
Before you deploy, think about what you're trying to achieve and think about what your success criteria are. That's what you need to do with any solution. There's no point buying a solution and then trying to work out what you're trying to achieve with it. First, decide what a successful deployment looks like and then see if Exinda will do.
While it works for my company, it may not work for a different organization with a different network setup. It works well for us because we have a largely centralized application deployment. If we had a more distributed application, the benefit from Exinda would be a lot less.
The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is about control and visibility. It gives me visibility over network traffic and it gives me some control over how to prioritize different traffic types.
In terms of the number of users of the solution, it is not that sort of a tool. It sits on the WAN. So anybody who's using the network, their traffic will be going across an Exinda. It requires very few people for deployment and maintenance. For the deployment we needed two people, just to help get it racked. If you need to have one replaced it's a very simple process. You don't need a large number of people to manage and maintain an Exinda deployment. The people involved are network techs.
As a solution, I would rate Exinda at nine out of 10. What I don't like is the fact that I haven't purchased the overall management interface. That is the interface that allows you to manage multiple Exindas. Personally, I think Exinda should provide that for free. I think that if you buy more and more Exinda boxes, you shouldn't then have to incur a charge for the overall management software. While I can manage each Exinda separately, if they provided me with the overall management platform for free, that would probably encourage me to buy more appliances.
I think their view is that if you have more than, say, 10 Exindas, you really need the management platform. We have nine, at the moment. We could go from nine to 20. Managing them all separately is not that difficult. But for me, if I've invested in the platform, and then Exinda says, "Well, we've come out with a solution that allows you to manage your estate more easily," having it would probably encourage us to buy more Exindas, because it would be easier to manage them.
Surely it would be in their interest to give me the overarching management platform, either for free or at a heavy discounted price. They've come up with a solution that allows you to manage more and more boxes, but then you have to pay for it. So you get hit with a double cost. You get hit with the cost of buying more Exindas and then you get hit with a very hefty cost for their management platform. I'm not going to go into specifics, but the last time I looked at the management platform cost I said, "Wow, how much? How much to manage a box that I could manage by myself?" I remember looking at the cost and saying, "Well, that has killed that sale immediately."
We needed a optimization product for our voice traffic that QoS alone could not accomplish for our low bandwidth sites. Getting Exinda was a life saver for our voice traffic
Policy based shaping
None that I can see.
I didn't need to scale so I cant answer this.
I never called them.
I never called them.
No other solution, just used Cisco QoS for our WAN.
Straightforward everything was spelled out and easy to figure out.
I like the product and would recommend it to anyone.
I'm VAR engineer and support pre and post sales. The features that are most valuable to customers, in my view, are the variety of traffic management tools, the variety of built in data, graphs & reports, and application performance monitoring and alerts.
Exinda helps customers protect important business applications and control recreational internet use like streaming media and peer-to-peer apps.
Fundamentally sound with WAN acceleration, but needs to expand the range of accelerated applications. Also could expand the range of deployment options to include MPLS clouds.
Have done over a hundred deployments without a problem.
Other than expected hardware problems as appliances age, no.
Positive, compared to industry competition.Technical Support:
Very good and improving.
I have used and supported Blue Coat Packetshaper and also currently support Procera Networks bandwidth management solution. As a VAR I support a number of solutions. Exinda is effective and relatively intuitive & easy to use.
Straightforward is one of the things that Exinda does very well. In addition to wizards, there is onboard context sensitive help. There is also built in intelligence. Exinda will suggest policies based on traffic patterns and current usage.
In house. We also do Exinda training.
For our customers, the typical ROI is in 3 years or under, depending on bandwidth costs and the deployment type, i.e., traffic shaping alone or traffic shaping with acceleration.
Depends on the scale. At 100 Mbps or less, initial costs can be under $12k. At 1 Gbps costs are around $50k, on 10 Gbps links with throughput over 2 Gbps costs can exceed $100k.
We are partners with a similar bandwidth management solution. We recommend a particular solution based on customer preferences, needs and environment.
Deploy as close to the edge as possible, deploy in high availability, make sure your deployment will scale to 200% of current usage for the expected life of the appliance.