Riverbed Gives IT More WAN Control

Mike Vizard

When faced with making a choice between deploying an application across a private network or the Internet, the decision generally comes down to how much control the IT organization needs to exercise over that application. Riverbed Technology now wants to make that decision a little harder.

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As a provider of wide area network (WAN) optimization appliances, Riverbed has extended the management capabilities of its core offerings to give IT organizations more control over how applications invoke network services across standard Internet connections.

According to Raj Mallempati, vice president of product marketing for Riverbed, rather than being overly dependent on MPLS networks, a new Riverbed Steelhead appliance coupled with an upgrade to the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) gives IT organizations more control over the specific paths an application uses to share data across WANs.

Path Selection, says Mallempati, makes it feasible for IT organizations to better mix and match MPLS and standard Internet connections for different classes of applications. Those applications, says Mallempati, are becoming increasingly diverse as end users rely on mobile computing devices to access cloud applications over different types of WANs that have different pricing and performance attributes.

In the age of the cloud, IT organizations are going to need more granular control over their WANs. The problem now is that MPLS and standard Internet connections are managed separately. By converging the management of those networks, IT organizations gain more control, and they get to play one class of WAN service against another. That should induce providers of WAN services to be a little more flexible when it comes to competing for applications not only in terms of pricing, but also in terms of the guarantees they are willing to make concerning the actual performance of their WANs.

Given the inherent network latency issues associated with deploying applications in the cloud, having that level of control may be the difference between success and failure for some enterprises.

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