Riverbed Technology today launched a software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) product called SteelConnect. It is the outcome of the company’s acquisition of Ocedo in January, combined with Riverbed’s native SD-WAN capabilities developed over the past several years.
But Riverbed says SteelConnect does much more than pure-play SD-WAN. It also taps into Riverbed’s traditional software-defined networking (SDN) capabilities, to unify network connectivity and orchestrate application delivery across hybrid WANs, remote LANs, and cloud networks. And it provides a line of WAN gateways, remote LAN switches, and Wi-Fi access points.
“We think SD-WAN is important, but it doesn’t get us everything,” says Joshua Dobies, VP of product marketing at Riverbed.
For example, Riverbed has a shoe manufacturing customer that does a lot of development in the cloud. “They backhaul every bit of their traffic that’s going to AWS into their data centers,” says Dobies. “With this, they can enter in their AWS credentials, and it will automatically import [everything]. For their development shops around the globe they don’t have to backhaul all that traffic back to the data center before going to AWS.”
Furthermore, in the past, network operators might need to enter hundreds or thousands of lines of command line interface (CLI) code to make network and application changes. SteelConnect provides policy-based orchestration.
“If you look under the covers in SD-WAN pure-plays, they’re all still very network centric,” says Dobies. “The way you manage the network is by copying and pasting CLI commands into templates that you move onto devices. We’re moving to something that is policy-based and orchestration-based.”
In December 2014 Riverbed went private, agreeing to be acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo for roughly $3.6 billion. The move was prompted by pressure from activist investor Elliott Management.
But according to The Register today, Riverbed is gearing up for a second IPO.
“The IPO is appealing because we would control that ourselves and we can make it definite,” Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly told The Register. “We have already started prepping for it because we’re already one year into being private, and it takes two years to do advance prep.”