Riverbed Technology has long been involved in WAN optimization. As the software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) market has grown, the company has surged into SD-WAN relevance—particularly with its acquisitions of Ocedo in 2016 and Xirrus in 2017.
Riverbed SD-WAN’s Ocedo Elements
Riverbed’s acquisition of Ocedo brought the company a solution that can be delivered in three ways: as a cloud-managed service, as an on-premises solution, or as an Amazon Web Services (AWS) service. The Ocedo acquisition simplifies Riverbed’s quest to enable zero-touch provisioning, and points Riverbed more toward a software-defined model characterized by automation and orchestration, rather than static, rigid networks with complex branches.
“Ocedo’s innovative software-defined networking solutions perfectly complement our own strategic investments in R&D,” said Jerry M. Kennelly, Riverbed chairman and CEO, “expanding our position to aggressively compete in the emerging markets for Software-Defined Networks (SDNs) and SD-WAN, bringing disruption to the multi-billion-dollar branch router market.”
Riverbed SD-WAN’s Xirrus Elements
Riverbed’s acquisition of Xirrus expanded the company’s SteelConnect solution by introducing a suite of high-density and cloud-managed Wi-Fi solutions, offering Riverbed customers and partners the power of unified connectivity and policy-based orchestration that spans the entire distributed network—WAN, LAN/WLAN, data center, and the cloud.
“Xirrus enhances SteelConnect to deliver an SD-WAN offering that will help further fuel our growth in this hot market,” said Kennelly. “[This new] software-defined networking approach delivers unified connectivity and orchestration across the entire network.”
Riverbed SD-WAN Solution
The Riverbed SD-WAN product is called SteelConnect 2.0—the solution’s first production version. SteelConnect is a comprehensive SD-WAN solution that offers WAN optimization, dynamic routing, and end-to-end visibility. SteelConnect 2.0 supports the unification of hybrid WANs (Internet and MPLS) and branch networks (LAN and WAN). The Riverbed SD-WAN solution allows the central, zero-touch management of infrastructure—secure WAN gateways, wired switches, Wi-Fi access points—through a cloud management interface.
The Riverbed SD-WAN product consists of appliances and a centralized management console that the administrator uses to view network health, deploy appliances, and make changes to policy. Connectivity is automatically established with appliances, policy is updated, and—based on real-time network health—business-critical applications always receive the right of way. SteelConnect components include the following:
- SteelConnect Gateway. A line of physical and virtual secure WAN gateways that provide unified connectivity (point-to-point and full-mesh) and enforcement of global policy across on-premises and cloud network environments.
- SteelConnect Switches and Access Points. A line of remote LAN switches and Wi-Fi access points that automate global enforcement of access control policies and provide complete visibility into connected users and devices.
- SteelConnect Manager. A centralized and multi-tenant management portal that provides a simplified workflow for designing, deploying, and managing distributed and hybrid networks.
Riverbed SD-WAN Analysis
In 2016, Gartner recognized Riverbed as a leader in its Magic Quadrant for WAN Optimization for the ninth year. According to Kennelly, Riverbed’s SD-WAN solution SteelConnect is the company’s product to bet on: “SteelConnect is the diamond in a crown of jewels Riverbed offers to the market.”