Riverbed Extends VMware vSphere for WAN Optimization

Virtualization is a driving force in data center and enterprise computing today, though it can often be siloed by location. A new effort from WAN optimization vendor Riverbed could change that.

Riverbed launched a new offering this week that embeds the VMware vSphere hypervisors on Steelhead EX WAN Optimization technology. The virtual capabilities were also complemented with an updated RiOS (Riverbed Operating System) update as well as new Steelhead WAN optimization appliances.

“With vSphere on Steelhead, enterprises will be able to extend their virtual environments from the data center to be able to manage and control branch infrastructure that is also virtualized,” Miles Kelly, senior director, product marketing at Riverbed, told EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet.

Kelly explained that Steelhead’s previously have had virtualization capabilities on them, though they needed to be managed and spun up in the local branch. By bringing vSphere to the Steelhead EX, VMware’s data center tools like vCenter can now be used to manage and boot whole virtualization from the data cent out to the virtualized branch instance.

“It’s a central management story,” Kelly said. “Organizations can now wholly virtualize an entire application stack, the OS, the application server and the storage that is associated with it and project and provision that from the data center.”

From a virtualization management perspective having vSphere on both a branch Steelhead EX as well as the data center means that a VXLAN domain can run from on location to another.


The new vSphere hypervisor will sit on top of the latest version of Riverbed’s RIOS operating system for WAN optimization appliances.

Kelly noted that the core RIOS kernel has been optimized to deliver better performance overall. Additionally RIOS has been enhanced to recognize over 600 applications that can be optimized up from the previous tally of 100.


Riverbed is also updating its Steelhead hardware appliance portfolio with the new Steelehad CX 5055 AND 7055 model. The two new Steelheads update the 5050 and 7050 models with Flash Solid State Drives

Kelly noted that by moving to SSDs from spinning disks the two boxes now deliver up to 50 percent more throughput and connections per box.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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