Riverbed's Steelhead WAN optimization appliance can now control both outbound and inbound applications, such as video conferencing, VOIP and SaaS.
Riverbed Technology is adding an inbound
quality-of-service (QoS) feature into the software that runs on the companys
Steelhead WAN optimization appliances, a move that is needed as trends like
video and cloud computing increase the amount of network traffic coming in from
outside the enterprise.
According to Riverbed officials, businesses
no longer are only dealing with applications that originate in central data
centers. Now they are increasingly relying on direct-to-Internet and meshed
wide area networks (WANs) for such applications as video, voice over IP (VOIP),
software as a service (SaaS) and unified communications (UC). At the same time,
employees also are increasingly using social media in both their personal and
The outbound QoS feature in the companys Riverbed
(RiOS) has been a mainstay in Riverbeds WAN
optimization offering, enabling IT administrators to ensure the performance of
mission-critical back-end business applications. Other vendors have been
offering similar capabilities in their solutions.
However, with the growth of Web-based
applications, video conferencing, social media and similar trends, enterprises
have begun to use what Riverbed officials said are hybrid networks that use
both low-cost Internet breakout links that divert Web traffic away from the
more costly private networks, and fully meshed multi-protocol label switching
(MPLS) connectivity that allows networking traffic to flow directly between
Enterprises now must handle critical traffic
that is going into and out of central data centers, branch offices and the
With only outbound QoS available, branch
offices connected via a meshed network can become inundated with traffic from
multiple senders, according to Eric Carter, senior product marketing manager
for Steelhead appliances at Riverbed. For many businesses, having to deal with
the rise of inbound traffic meant using separate third-party appliances in
particular locations to control bandwidth, which can be costly.
By putting inbound QoS capabilities in its
Steelhead appliance, Riverbed is making it easier and less costly for
enterprises to handle the growing amount of traffic coming into the network
from outside, Carter told eWEEK
There is a need for inbound [QoS
capabilities], and were putting into the Steelhead WAN optimization device,
With this feature, announced July 23,
enterprises can use a single Steelhead appliance to control both outbound and
inbound traffic, ensuring the IT staff can guarantee enough stable bandwidth to
give mission-criticaland in some cases, latency-sensitiveapplications the
predictable levels of performance that enterprises need, even as new
applications are coming onto the network from disparate delivery sites.
Riverbed officials said they use proprietary
classification methods, simple configuration and scheduling techniques to
create the companys QoS capabilities to enable businesses to allocate minimum
and maximum bandwidths and prioritize applications, whether theyre coming from
within or outside the enterprise.
The QoS capabilities are part of a larger WAN
optimization portfolio that also includes application, network and protocol
optimization and deduplication.