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The new device, SteelHead SD, supports not only WAN optimization techniques such as data deduplication, latency reduction and compression, but SD-WAN features as well such as cloud provisioning, hybrid WAN support, policy control and security.
By placing all of SteelConnect's SD-WAN functions into SteelHead, Riverbed is leveraging the large, installed base of SteelHead WAN optimization appliance users and is also tapping into customers' demands for essential WAN optimization tools as they migrate to SD-WAN.
"Customers still value WAN optimization as an integral component in an SD-WAN context and it's clear that some Riverbed customers share that view," said IDC analyst Brad Casemore, referring to research IDC conducted about SD-WAN adoption trends. "WAN optimization with software-defined control provides the performance many businesses are seeking as they reshape their WAN architectures to meet the needs of next-generation application delivery."
Security highlighted; Azure connectivity added
Riverbed bolstered SteelHead SD's security capabilities by integrating SteelConnect's next-generation firewall and VPN features, said Milind Bhise, Riverbed's senior director of product marketing.
Third-party security products from vendors such as Check Point Software Technologies and Palo Alto Networks are also supported, providing SteelHead SD-WAN optimization appliance users an extra level of policy control.
In addition to the new appliance, Riverbed bolstered SteelConnect's cloud connectivity options. Users can now access Microsoft Azure services in addition to Amazon Web Services offerings, making it possible for organizations to rely on a single policy and orchestration framework to govern their cloud communications.
Finally, Riverbed introduced an appliance tailored to data centers deploying SD-WAN. The SDI-5030 gateway relies on Riverbed's Interceptor technology to allow data centers to integrate SteelConnect and SteelHead services without requiring multiple configuration and firmware updates or installing a separate in-path gateway that could interfere with traffic flows.
SD-WAN: What to know before you take the plunge
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Preparing your WAN for SD