Riverbed Expands Beyond WAN Optimization

Riverbed is no longer just about physical Steelhead WAN optimization appliances.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 20, 2013
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Networking vendor Riverbed is well known for its Steelhead WAN optimization solutions, but during the company's analyst day event this week, executives stressed that Riverbed is much more. The company is now well positioned to tackle the emerging application performance infrastructure market.

Riverbed CTO David Wu said during the event that WAN optimization technology has evolved from being about just enterprise connectivity to helping support new use cases like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud delivery models.

"As the economics of WAN technologies change, we believe there are opportunities beyond the traditional WAN optimization techniques that help our customers to get the best user experience possible," Wu said.

Storage Delivery Controller

Among the ways that Riverbed is expanding its solution set is with the concept of Storage Delivery Controllers (SDC) as part of a Software Defined Data Center network deployment.

"SDCs facilitate the delivery of storage regardless of where and how far compute is located," Wu said. "The ability to dis-aggregate compute from storage is a powerful concept."

Wu added that SDCs complete the task that server virtualization first started. Riverbed's Granite storage technology is the first instantiation of the SDC concept, according to Wu. The vendor first announced Granite in 2012 as a way to accelerate storage traffic.

Beyond storage, Wu said that Riverbed is focused on Software Defined Infrastructure, which is all about agility. The Riverbed Stingray Application Delivery Controller (ADC) falls into the category of Software Defined Infrastructure. Stingray was first announced by Riverbed back in 2011 and was updated earlier this year.

"We want to empower IT to scale and move their infrastructure at will," Wu said.

Visibility is also a key area of focus for Riverbed as the explosion of devices from the Internet of Things takes hold. Wu said that Riverbed will have Big Data analytics capabilities to help organizations understand and make use of large network data.

Riverbed is also buying into the concept of programmable infrastructure.

"We believe that programmable access to our products should be first-class," Wu said. "To that end, we've enhanced our products with REST-based APIs."

Overall, Wu stressed that the modern network is more dynamic then ever, which is why Riverbed is evolving to meet the challenges of the next era of networking.

"Although we're now known as a WAN optimization company, we're actually a lot more than that. We're the location-independent computing company," Wu said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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