Riverbed Upgrades WAN Optimization Software, Unveils New Hardware

Riverbed is enhancing its RiOS software and introducing a new appliance aimed at branch offices.

Riverbed Technology is ramping up its Steelhead WAN optimization capabilities with a new appliance and enhancements to the company's software platform.

The moves, announced July 29, will make it easier for IT staffs under pressure from the rise of cloud computing, rich media applications and distributed business-critical applications to more easily and cost-effectively accelerate the performance of their wide-area networks (WANs) and to manage them, while also addressing a wider range of infrastructures, according to Riverbed officials.

The company unveiled upgrades to its Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) software, which powers its Steelhead WAN optimization products. Included in RiOS 8.5 is a path-selection feature designed to simplify how organizations manage their hybrid multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) environments and Internet networks while still getting top performance.

In addition, integration with Riverbed's Cascade Profiler 10.0.7 network performance management software will make it easier for IT managers to hit application service level agreements (SLAs), a significant issue in cloud and distributed environments. Through more detailed application-level profiles, organizations get more accurate and deeper visibility into their applications and networks, enabling them to identify and characterize traffic flows across networks and branch offices and making it easier to determine quality-of-service parameters and find routes for business-critical applications and nonessential Web traffic, Riverbed reported.

RiOS 8.5 also will strengthen Riverbed's work with such partners as Microsoft and NetApp, Riverbed officials said. Riverbed is offering new optimization capabilities for a range of Microsoft software, including SharePoint 2013, Exchange 2013, Office 365 and file-sharing applications that use the Server Message Block 3 (SMB 3) protocol in both Windows 8 and Server 2012 environments. This will enable joint customers to grow their productivity, efficiency and business resilience, according to Riverbed.

In its upgraded software, Riverbed will also include optimizations for NetApp's SnapMirror data replication offering. With the new capabilities, IT managers can prioritize and deliver data replication for greater business continuity and disaster recovery of important data. Users get insight into each storage volume and can prioritize replication for the key data sets, while reducing the prioritization of those storage resources that are not needed as often.

In addition to the software upgrades, Riverbed is also introducing a new hardware appliance, the Steelhead CX 255 series system, aimed at bringing enterprise-class performance and WAN optimization capabilities to the branch office.

The CX 255 series appliance offers up to 6M-bps bandwidth capacity, and offers three times the throughput capabilities of the company's older Steelhead CX 150 and CX 250, officials said. Branch offices can now see the same benefits that larger Steelhead solutions deployments generate, including decreasing bandwidth utilization by up to 98 percent and improving application acceleration up to 100 times faster.

Both the Steelhead CX series 255 appliance, RiOS 8.5 and Cascade Profiler 10.0.7 will be available in the third quarter.