Riverbed Acquires Global Protocols to Strengthen Satellite Network Offering

With Global Protocols' SkipWare, Riverbed can offer Steelhead appliances to government agencies relying on satellite networks.

Riverbed Technology acquired government service provider Global Protocols, strengthening its optimization portfolio for satellite networks, the company said.

The acquisition was announced and closed on Nov. 9. Riverbed declined to divulge any financial specifics for the deal.

Riverbed partnered with Global Protocols in 2008 to provide government organizations a joint offering based on the Riverbed Steelhead appliance and Global Protocols' SkipWare technology to "speed up access to mission-critical data over WAN," according to Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly.

"Adding Global Protocols' technology to our product portfolio as a result of this acquisition will enable customers to derive even greater value out of the combined solution," said Kennelly.

SkipWare from Greenbelt, Md.-based Global Protocols is the first commercial implementation of the Space Communications Protocol Standards (SCPS), developed by NASA and United States Space Command, according to Global Protocols. Used by military and other organizations with satellite and hybrid networking environments, SCPS-based products help overcome severe performance degradation caused by inclement weather patterns and other interference.

Under the partnership, the companies can offer organizations the benefits of SCPS-based acceleration seamlessly integrated Steelhead's cross-layer WAN optimization capabilities, said Global Protocols.

Global Protocols includes military, civilian, and Department of Defense agencies that operate over satellite networks in its customer base. These organizations rely on SkipWare as the "de facto standard" to protect access to the mission-critical business applications and communications, according to Riverbed's blog talking about the deal.

Riverbed currently offers SkipWare under the Riverbed Services Platform as part of the two-year partnership with Global Protocols. The platform is a virtualized environment hosting third-party applications on Riverbed's Steelhead appliances.

Riverbed will continue to offer the SkipWare technology from Global Protocols on the Riverbed Services Platform, said Paul O'Farrell, vice-president of the Corporate Development and Strategy group at Riverbed to eWEEK.

"Over time we expect the SkipWare functionality to be more fully integrated into RiOS," said O'Farrell.

The Riverbed Steelhead appliance speeds up application performance between remote offices, private data centers and mobile workers, allowing organizations to improve backup and replication processes to ensure data integrity, according to Riverbed. The appliances speed up applications by five to 50 times, and in some cases up to 100 times, existing performance, claimed Riverbed.

The company rolled out a virtual Steelhead appliance a few months ago to tap into ruggedized military environments, first-responder emergency situations and remote facilities. The virtual appliance also has access to the applications on the Riverbed Services Platform.

This is Riverbed's second acquisition in less than a month. Riverbed acquired Cace Technologies in October to add high-speed packet capture, visualization and analysis tools to its Cascade network and application visibility appliances. With the Cace acquisition, Riverbed expanded into the application-aware network performance management market.

The engineering team from Global Protocols will be "incorporated" into the "core Steelhead product group" at Riverbed, said O'Farrell. All sixteen Global Protocols employees are expected to be retained by Riverbed, he added.

With the acquisition, Riverbed will be able to "extend its reach" to a wider range of organizations depending on satellite for business-critical applications, the company said.