Riverbed, long associated with WAN optimization, is remaking itself as an SD-WAN company. That’s the message coming from Riverbed Disrupt, an event being held today in New York City.
At this morning’s introductory keynote, CEO Jerry Kennelly said the company’s SD-WAN product, SteelConnect, would be the main product that other Riverbed products plug in to, including WAN optimization, and application and network performance monitoring.
I followed up on that remark in an interview with CTO Hansang Bae, asking if SD-WAN was now core to Riverbed’s identity. “We’re an SD-WAN company. Riverbed’s identity is SD-WAN now,” he said.
Bae noted that this isn’t a dramatic change compared to what Riverbed has always done. “We’ve been identifying traffic, making it go faster, and we were transport-agnostic.”
And WAN optimization will still play a significant role in the company’s strategy, whether as a standalone product, or bundled within an SD-WAN deployment.
I think it makes sense for Riverbed to go full-bore on SD-WAN. It’s a growth market, with considerable interest from both enterprises and small and medium-size businesses that want to contain WAN costs and make it easier for employees to access cloud applications.
In fact, we’re in the midst of an SD-WAN gold rush, with incumbents and startups both chasing this market. Riverbed is competing with the likes of Cisco, Citrix, Silver Peak and startups including Viptela, CloudGenix, and Talari (among others).
As part of the Disrupt event, Riverbed announced SteelConnect 2.0, the latest version of its SD-WAN product. Perhaps the most compelling feature of the latest version is that Riverbed positions the branch hardware appliance as a replacement for a router.
“You can trash your tired old branch routers,” said Kennelly in the keynote. He also said that by replacing the router, SteelConnect puts Riverbed in the mainstream of networking.
SteelConnect 2.0 will be generally available in October 2016. I’m going to follow up with a post about SteelConnect to share more technical details after the Disrupt event concludes.