Riverbed Steelhead 9.1 Improves Cloud SaaS Performance

Riverbed is advancing its flagship SteelHead WAN optimization/acceleration product platform this week with the announcement of the 9.1 release, providing new SaaS performance features. The SteelHead 9.1 update is the first major milestone for Riverbed’s software platform since SteelHead 9.0 was announced in November 2014.

“With this release, we are introducing performance optimization for Box, ServiceNow, SAP SuccessFactors, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in addition to support for Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365, which SteelHead had variously supported,” Josh Dobies, Sr. Director, Product Marketing at Riverbed, told Enterprise Networking Planet. “This means we’ve performance tested these apps and optimize for their individual requirements.”

The SaaS optimizations aren’t just about performance to SaaS applications, but also come in the form of a new SaaS pricing model as well. The universal SaaS licensing model is now available from Riverbed as a single-subscription-per-user for all supported SaaS applications.

“The new universal SaaS licensing provides better pricing and flexibility that allows customers to be more agile and ensure the performance of applications on the-fly,” Dobies said. “The new monthly, user-based-subscription allows optimization for any and all supported apps with no additional cost.”

Dobies explained that before the new universal SaaS licensing, optimization for Office 365 and Salesforce were licensed separately by Riverbed. With the new universal SaaS licensing model, Riverbed’s goal is to make it easier for customers.

Beyond specific SaaS optimizations, SteelHead 9.1 now also provides what it describes as a fully embedded, transparent HTTP(S) proxy with web-object caching for all Internet traffic. It’s not clear where the HTTP(s) proxy technology came from, and whether or not it is based on the open-source Squid widely used on the Internet.

“SteelHead always had a proxy, but that was/is TCP proxy,” Dobies said. “Now we are including a real HTTP forward proxy that sits closer to client devices.”

Dobies did not provide any additional details on the HTTP forward proxy.

Looking beyond the SteelHead 9.1 milestone, Dobies said that Riverbed is focused on making networks application-aware so they are easier to manage despite the complexity of hybrid clouds and networks.

“This will mean new innovations, as well as more integration between SteelHead and SteelCentral,” Dobies said.

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

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