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Riverbed appliance heads to the cloud

Riverbed's new WAN optimization appliance is aimed at companies with hybrid environments in which applications stretch from the data center to the cloud.

Riverbed has introduced a WAN optimization appliance tailored for companies with applications running on premises and in the cloud.

The CX 70 series, launched Wednesday, is designed for hybrid computing environments. The appliance can handle up to five times more WAN traffic and can optimize connections that use secure socket layer (SSL) and transport layer security (TLS), protocols used in locking down data traveling over the Internet.

Riverbed and other WAN optimization vendors are changing their product lines to meet the needs of a growing number of companies using on-premises software and applications running in cloud computing environments. Businesses are also subscribing to software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings from Internet companies like Salesforce.com and Workday.

More than 65% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud technologies this year, International Data Corp. (IDC) predicts.

Riverbed gets 'serious' about hybrid cloud

"(The new appliance) demonstrates that Riverbed is serious about providing solutions that respond to the needs of enterprise customers pursuing a hybrid-cloud strategy," IDC analyst Brad Casemore said.

A redesigned appliance is necessary because today's WAN includes applications moving data over Internet broadband, virtual private networks (VPNs), which use SSL and TLS, and the traditional MPLS protocol used in private networks, Casemore said.

In building a faster appliance, Riverbed has doubled the RAM capacity and increased processing power through a solid-state drive-based architecture.

The optimization software used for hybrid networks is SteelHead 9.0, which Riverbed released in December. The technology is capable of grouping applications by priority, so the most important traffic gets preferential treatment.

The software can identify more than 1,000 applications, both on-premises and SaaS based. Examples of the latter supported in SteelHead include Salesforce.com, Office 365 and WebEx.

Coupled with SteelHead 9.0 is Riverbed's SteelCentral AppResponse 9.5, which monitors SaaS applications and provides network traffic information to help troubleshoot problems.

Companies that compete with Riverbed include Silver Peak Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Blue Coat Systems Inc. and Array Networks Inc.

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