Riverbed Rolls Ahead on Strong Results

In today’s tough economy every IT enterprise is trying to do more with less.

Network acceleration vendor Riverbed Technology is preaching the same message with a
pitch to help enterprises consolidate more services at the branch level.

The company’s latest RiOS 5.5 (Riverbed Operating System) release includes an expanded
services capability that could end up removing extra physical
and print servers from branch offices.

The new Riverbed release come on the heels of strong third quarter 2008 financial
results with reported revenues of $86.5 million, up 37 percent over the prior year. The
results help explain how hot the network acceleration market has become with Cisco,
Citrix, Blue Coat, Juniper and others all trying to claim a piece of growing pie.

The overall
market for WAN acceleration
hit $700 million in 2007 and is projected to hit $1.2
billion by 2010.

“One of the things we’ve always enabled with wide area optimization is pulling files
servers out of the branch office letting you consolidate in the data center while still
giving local performance,” Nik Rouda senior product marketing manager at Riverbed told
InternetNews.com. “Now with some of the new things we’re doing with Riverbed
Services Platform we’re letting branch offices run some of the other services aside from
file sharing without adding unnecessary servers.”

Riverbed’s Services Platform (RSP) was first rolled out by Riverbed as part of the

RiOS 5.0 release earlier this year
. RiOS is the core system that power’s Riverbed’s
acceleration hardware. In RiOS 5.5, RSP has been expanded to be VMware enabled such that
virtual services can run on top of Riverbed’s Steelhead acceleration appliances.

Rouda noted that Riverbed has partnered with VMware to allow for up to five VMDK
(Virtual Machine Disk format) based applications to be run on a Steelhead appliance. The
goal is take applications like a print server than normally would run on a separate
server and consolidate it into the Steelhead. Rouda argued that a branch office could
take out unnecessary servers with the approach, minimizing management and power costs
while reducing branch office server sprawl.

The idea of running virtual services on a WAN acceleration appliance is not entirely
new. Cisco offers its users a virtual blade for its WAAS
(Wide Area Application Services) appliance that can contain an entire Windows Server 2008
operating system. Rouda admitted that what Cisco is doing is somewhat similar though he
argued that the Riverbed offering is more flexible in its approach.

Citrix is also a fierce competitor in the network acceleration space has its own views
on how virtualization
can be optimized
. Using its XenServer technology, Citrix has the ability to power
virtual services on or off depending on demand. Citrix has also entered into a partnership with Akamai to
deliver a optimized network for acceleration. Rouda argued that the Riverbed approach is
a little different in that they are trying to position the RSP as a technology to enable
a serverless branch office.

Then there is Blue Coast, which has paired security with network acceleration in its

latest release
. Blue Coat’s ProxyClient integrates by default with the provider’s
WebPulse cloud based security service. This helps ensure that endpoints are secured even
when they’re not connected directly to the enterprise WAN.

While Riverbed does not have the same secuirty technology as Blue Coat, Rouda argued
that with the virtualization services available via RSP, a branch office could deploy
security software on a Steelhead as well.

Competitive and market issues aside, Rouda is confident that there is more opportunity
in the current market for Riverbed.

“Our value proposition is even better in a tight economy where people are looking to
get more our of their existing infrastructure,” Rouda said.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

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