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Riverbed Technology Inc. sees software-defined solutions as the means to help its customers accelerate their digital transformation efforts, and announced a number of product updates today at its global Riverbed Disrupt event on Monday in New York.

In an advance briefing last week with IT World Canada, Riverbed senior director of product marketing Milind Bhise outlined four technologies the company sees as key drivers for digital transformation – cloud, analytics, mobility and social. “The expectations of customers and lines business are changing,” he said. “The enterprise has to respond.”

Riverbed has been building new solutions to support that alignment through its own organic development, acquisitions and partnerships. Bhise said right now, digital transformation means we are living in the era of the hybrid enterprise; networks are evolving and are requiring a “fundamental rethinking,” something the newly released SteelConnect 2.0 supports.

Updates to SteelConnect 2.0 include native dynamic routing for simplified networking with the ability to replace old legacy routers, a feature that Bhise said is critical for enterprises with multiple branches. SteelConnect also supports end-to-end visibility thanks to integration with SteelCentral, while its integration with SteelHead supports WAN optimization. SteelConnect unifies deployment and orchestration of hybrid WANs, branch networks, and cloud environments, he said, with support today for Amazon Web Services with Microsoft Azure support expected to be available in early 2017.

Bhise said the legacy approach to networking is rigid, complex, error-prone and hardware based. “It hasn’t changed much in 20 years.” And with a lot of enterprises moving workloads to the cloud, this has meant the advent of hybrid WANs, and organizations are looking at how to more easily integrate increasingly complex infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) into corporate networks, he said, with the necessary segmentation to support security and compliance. “IT is expected to be more agile.”

Saveen Pakala, senior director products for SteelFusion, said updates to that product recognize that enterprises now have thousands of edges by embracing SDN. “You see how fragile and risky it can be using traditional methods. Riverbed is now giving customers the option of deploying SteelFusion in the cloud or virtually, including making it available IBM Cloud, an IaaS cloud platform and fully dedicated, bare-metal cloud infrastructure for the enterprise.

Essentially, Pakala said, it has decoupled SteelFusion from Riverbed hardware so it can run on commodity hardware, enabling enterprises to more easily extend their hybrid clouds to the network edge, while at the same time being able to centralize distributed remote office and brand office IT infrastructure and operations in a data center, the cloud, or a hybrid combination for better management, security and agility.

Meanwhile, Riverbed’s updates to SteelCentral builds on themes announced for the product in the spring, said Erik Hille, director of product marketing, including a new Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) option, and it improved integration with SteelConnect to address what the company describes as “emerging blind spots” enterprises must deal with as they move to more mobile and cloud platforms.

The SteelCentral SaaS option also provides cloud-based performance management and extends monitoring to any endpoint with SteelCentral Aternity – the result of one of Riverbed’s recent acquisitions. This enables SteelCentral to gather data from the broadest range of sources, including app servers, application code, UC systems, LANs, WANs, browsers, and end-user devices.

“Companies have traditionally struggled with network performance management and hybrid networks are making applications more difficult to manage,” he said. “Application complexity is a big barrier to managing performance.”
Traditionally, most approaches for end user experience monitoring have come from inside the application or infrastructure, added Hille. “It never accounted for what end user experience really was.”



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