Riverbed to Bring WAN Optimization to Public Clouds

WAN optimization vendor Riverbed in 2010 will begin rolling out products designed to improve application performance and storage capabilities in public cloud environments, such as Amazon's EC2. Among the products will be a Riverbed Steelhead software offering designed for public clouds. Riverbed demonstrated some of these capabilities at an event in New York.

Riverbed Technology is turning its Steelhead WAN optimization product to the public cloud environment.

At an event in New York Nov. 17, Riverbed officials announced plans to roll out a host of new products aimed at improving the performance of applications in public clouds, such as Amazon's EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud).

Riverbed's Steelhead technology already has helped businesses move toward private cloud environments, Eric Wolford, senior vice president of marketing and business development at Riverbed, said in an interview. Now the company wants to bring that capability to public clouds and, eventually, to hybrid cloud environments.

It makes sense for Riverbed to move in that direction, given the amount of interest customers are showing in cloud computing, Wolford said.

"It's top of mind [among customers]," he said. "It's the entry point to a lot of conversations. The promise of it is pretty solid. Whether it's private or public is another story."

The first product on tap starting next year will be a virtual Steelhead product for the cloud, a software offering that will be available to businesses in public cloud environments and that will offer the same application performance improvements that Riverbed's other Steelhead products bring to private clouds and data centers, Wolford said.

At the New York event, Riverbed officials demonstrated the benefits of WAN optimization in public clouds, and included the installation of the Steelhead product in Amazon's AWS (Amazon Web Service).

Riverbed next year also will introduce technology designed to improve storage in cloud environments, Wolford said.

The technology will let businesses run any block protocol over the WAN, which will eliminate the issue of distance between storage and compute resources. Essentially the WAN becomes a SAN (storage-area network), he said.

"You bring SAN-like performance to the WAN," Wolford said.