Cloud enablement

Riverbed Goes It Alone

Plenty of big mergers and big partnerships are happening in the data-center field, but Riverbed Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: RVBD) says it's not feeling any pressure to join up with a big brother.

"Our goal is to remain a strong independent company," Apurva Davé, Riverbed's senior director of product marketing, tells Light Reading.

Lately, the news has been about big players banding together. HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) is set to acquire 3Com. (See HP/3Com Battles Cisco.) And Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), which is offering its own data center architecture -- recently reasserted its close ties with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) for cloud computing architectures.

So, the question is likely to come up tonight as Riverbed throws a press conference in New York, alongside the cloud-heavy Interop conference going on at Javits Convention Center.

The big event tonight is the introduction of a virtual version of Riverbed's Steelhead appliance and will feature partners Amazon Web Services Inc. , AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Orange Business Services . But Riverbed is also taking the opportunity to remind everybody that it's been doing "cloud" kinds of work for years, racking up 7,000 customers so far.

"It doesn't need to work that way. Some people like the idea of getting all their products from one person, getting a suite of products. But we're focused on this performance problem in a way nobody else is. So we can bring that new idea and new capabilities into the marketplace," Davé says. "We're designed into those solutions that combat Cisco, from HP, from IBM, from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), even from EMC," Davé says.

As for the New York announcement itself, Riverbed is unveiling a software-only version of its Steelhead WAN-acceleration appliance. The company's technology has always been in the software that speeds up applications for remote branch offices, but it's sold Steelhead has a hardware device. The virtual Steelhead will be the software alone, meant to run on any old server.

It's a product Riverbed expects to offer service providers, as a feature for cloud services. This could be used to accelerate cloud-based applications that are being run at a branch office, or for speeding up data replication between the branch and the cloud.

Riverbed isn't announcing specifics of the virtual Steelhead, so it's not yet certain whether the virtual version matches up in specs to the original.

Riverbed is also announcing it will be working on a storage accelerator, to make a remote disk drive perform as if it were on the local LAN. Davé also says the company plans to release more cloud-related products next year, although it's not giving away any specifics.

— Craig Matsumoté, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 3:52:27 PM
re: Riverbed Goes It Alone

Mark Sue at RBC suggests Riverbed could be an acquirer, expanding by buying Expand Networks.  Imagine the headline possibilities.

Riverbed is calling its cloud movement Cloud9.  Which is trite, but then again, I don't think anyone else has used it yet. Surprising.

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