Riverbed Technology in October 2015 unveiled what officials called "Project Tiger," an initiative by the newly private company to make a push into the burgeoning software-defined WAN space.
The vendor on Jan. 19 took a significant step in that direction when officials announced that it was buying Ocedo, a company based in Germany that offers an array of products—including gateways, switches, access points and an integrated cloud management system—designed for the SD-WAN and software-defined networking (SDN) spaces.
The move into the fast-growing SD-WAN market provides Riverbed with a significant growth opportunity, and the addition of Ocedo's technologies will help accelerate those ambitions, according to Riverbed Chairman and CEO Jerry Kennelly.
"Ocedo is a compelling and strategic acquisition for Riverbed," Kennelly said in a statement. "As the industry goes through one of the largest transformations in a decade, with cloud and hybrid IT environments requiring a different approach to networking, Riverbed is well-positioned to help businesses reap the benefits of newer and superior network architectures that are application-centric and software-defined."
No financial details of the acquisition were released.
Riverbed last year was sold to two investment firms for $3.6 billion, a move that came following months of pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to streamline operations, increase profits and return more money to shareholders. A few months later, Riverbed officials announced Project Tiger, an effort to expand and build upon its WAN optimization and application performance offerings and become a player in an SD-WAN market that is expected to grow quickly over the next several years.
SD-WAN is being positioned as an alternative or complement to Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), which is how most organizations link their data centers with their remote offices. In a cloud-based world, speed is increasingly important, and connecting a branch office to the data center using MPLS is a lengthy process. Connecting it to the Internet through a central data center is inefficient. SD-WAN offers a better and more cost-efficient technology.
At VMworld 2015, Riverbed officials surveyed attendees and found that of 260 respondents who were asked about such emerging technologies as SDN and SD-WAN, 77 percent of respondents said their organizations are using SDN in their data centers and 13 percent have already deployed it. Another 29 percent are looking into SD-WAN for their remote offices, with 5 percent having fully implemented it.
Industry analysts also are seeing the trend. Gartner is predicting that by 2019, 30 percent of enterprises will be using SD-WAN products in all of their branch offices, a jump from less than 1 percent currently. IHS Infonetics Research analysts found that 45 percent of North American businesses said in a survey last year that they planned to increase spending on SD-WAN over the next two years.
Riverbed is getting into an increasingly competitive market. Cisco Systems, the world's largest networking vendor, has its iWAN offering, while other players include companies like Talari Networks, Silver Peak, Glue Networks, Viptela, Aryaka, VeloCloud and CloudGenix. Cisco earlier this month announced it was investing in VeloCloud.
The company's Project Tiger will include a new version of its RiOS network operating system that will use network-functions virtualization (NFV) to deliver a broad range of Riverbed and third-party applications and services. In addition, a suite of application-centric SD-WAN offerings will eliminate the need for traditional routers in branch offices and provide cloud-based provisioning and management.
"I'm confident that Ocedo's technology will thrive and grow within Riverbed, and we're energized to continue to innovate and develop solutions that will change how applications are delivered in the modern enterprise," Ocedo CEO Jan Hichert said in a statement.