Shocker: Clouds and SD-WANs aren't network nirvana

So in wades Riverbed, with its usual tricks tweaked for the stuff all the cool kids are doing

Riverbed’s given some of its flagship products a software-defined tweak.

The company's schtick – applications just need to be able to get data where it needs to go, fast – remains unchanged. Like the rest of the networking industry, Riverbed realises that hard-wired networks are no longer tolerable and that businesses want the network and security policies they developed on-premises to stretch into the cloud or branch offices.

Enter SteelConnect 2.0, software-defined WAN kit that bakes in Riverbed's SteelHead WAN optimisation and SteelCentral application monitoring and optimisation tech, then applies that all to applications that cover on-premises and cloud infrastructure.

By grouping the three, Riverbed reckons NetAdmins will be able to set traffic-prioritisation policies that can be applied wherever infrastructure may reside. And because it's all software-defined, you can pick your links depending on whims, policies, availability, price or whatever metric takes your fancy.

Of course, this stuff can all be deployed as a virtual machine, an option Riverbed reckons might just make branch office routers look a bit tired. But then it would say that, wouldn't it? And it has created a thing called “Cloud-Ready Branch” to emphasise the point it might be nice to have something out on remote sites that can set and dynamically alter network policies so that applications running out on the edge get the care and attention they need to keep staff happy and data flowing back to HQ.

By folding in the tech it acquired from Aternity, Riverbed's also added a new way of analysing network policy based on customer experience, giving NetAdmins another useful tool.

The underlying situation here is that cloud isn't immune to the problems that Riverbed came into existence to solve. And Riverbed isn't immune to changes like software-define networking that make more fluid networks possible and desirable.

Which is why it bought SD-WAN outfit Ocedo.

The company is therefore adapting its range to both new opportunities: grooming cloud traffic and software-defined networks. ®

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