Riverbed Unveils Software-Defined WAN Platform

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Software-Defined Networking and the Enterprise

As part of an effort to make it possible for applications to have more granular control on wide area network (WAN) connections, Riverbed Technology today unveiled a Riverbed SteelConnect platform managed via the cloud that unifies control of extended networks.

Josh Dobies, senior director of product marketing for Riverbed, says Riverbed SteelConnect is an instance of a software-defined WAN that ties together orchestration of application delivery and network connectivity.

Riverbed SteelConnect can be deployed as a virtual appliance on top of existing infrastructure or deployed as a physical appliance acquired from Riverbed. A SteelConnect Manager portal hosted in the cloud then provides the management plane through which IT organizations can construct a hybrid network using Riverbed switches and access points spanning both on-premise and data center and cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS). In addition, Riverbed will add support for Microsoft Azure later this year.


The end goal, says Dobies, is to provide a more holistic approach to managing networks using a zero-touch approach to provisioning that can be applied to multiple networks simultaneously using a policy engine developed by Riverbed. That approach eliminates the need to individually manage and provision every network connection, while at the same time no longer requiring IT organizations to backhaul network traffic through their data center if a user in a remote office needs to, for example, access a cloud application, says Dobies.

Based in part on technologies Riverbed gained when it acquired Ocedo earlier this year, with the launch of Riverbed SteelConnect, it’s clear that Riverbed is now extending its networking reach in a way that expands its rivalry with a number of networking vendors. The degree to which Riverbed will succeed in those efforts naturally remains to be seen. But given the growing importance of the WAN, Riverbed may be operating from a place of historical strength that could further those ambitions.