Riverbed Virtualizes Steelhead Mobile Capabilities

Riverbed is rolling out Steelhead Mobile Controller-Virtual Edition, a software-based version of its WAN optimization appliance that makes it easier for SMBs to adopt the capability. It also helps larger enterprises that may have a small number of mobile workers. The pricing for the software also makes it more attractive to SMBs. Riverbed also is doubling the capacity of its Steelhead Mobile hardware appliance and offering Lotus Notes acceleration for mobile users on its Steelhead appliance.

Riverbed Technology is looking to make enterprise-grade mobile WAN optimization capabilities available to SMBs through the use of virtualization and more attractive pricing.

Riverbed officials on July 20 are rolling out the virtualized version of its Steelhead Mobile appliance.

The software, called Steelhead Mobile Controller-Virtual Edition, runs on a Steelhead WAN appliance. The new software offers SMBs all the benefits of Steelhead mobile for less money. It's also good for larger organizations that need smaller strategic deployments for smaller numbers of mobile workers, Joe Ghory, product marketing manager at Riverbed, said in an interview.

"There's a market opportunity that's not being served," Ghory said of the SMB space.

The virtualization software is deployed on the Riverbed Services Platform, a virtualized technology on the Steelhead appliance that enables businesses to run up to five more services and applications in a protected partition. Through this, businesses can get greater capacity without having to increase their hardware purchases.

The appliances sell or $12,995 for the hardware and a minimum of 30 licenses. The virtualization software with a least 10 licenses sells for $5,995, Ghory said.

In addition, Riverbed is increasing the license capacity for the appliance, a move aimed at the largest customers. The Steelhead Mobile Controller can now manage another 2,000 licenses, doubling the capacity to 4,000 licenses without having to buy additional hardware.

Riverbed officials also said Steelhead Mobile supports Lotus Notes acceleration for mobile users, a capability developed in conjunction with IBM. This will enable mobile users to get the same benefits of their Lotus environments that they'd get if they were in their corporate offices, such as accessing large e-mail attachments and managing calendaring. The capability also means better collaboration among employees in different places.

The enhancements to Steelhead Mobile and the Steelhead Mobile Controller-Virtual Edition will be generally available July 27.