Riverbed Extends SD-WAN to Wireless, Cloud


By: Michael Vizard

Riverbed Technologies today expanded its software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) capabilities in multiple directions. The first involves extending the reach of provisioning tools it makes available to include support for Xirrus WiFi networks as well as third-party LTE networks connected to a SteelConnect SD-WAN gateway.

Secondly, Riverbed also announced it is adding a single-click capability to establish private connections public clouds via AWS Direct Connect and Azure ExpressRoute networking services.

The decision to extend support to Xirrus networks naturally follows the move Riverbed made last year to acquire Xirrus. IT organizations are increasingly asking for a centralized management plane through which they can manage multiple types of networks, says Milind Bhise, senior director of product marketing at Riverbed.

Support for third-party LTE networks will further extend the ability to centralize network management using a common set of policies that are executed using Riverbed orchestration software says Bhise. Riverbed has thus far tested that capability with one undisclosed provider of LTE networks, says Bhise.

In general, Bhise days Riverbed is seeing a lot more diversity when it comes to networking technologies being deployed at the edge. For example, organizations are relying more on LTE to deliver networking services that are only required for a limited amount of time.

“You might see LTE networks employed by retailers to set up pop-up stores,” says Bhise.

That increased proliferation in the types of networks being deployed, however, is not coming with an increased in the size of the IT staff being tasked to manage them. Bhise says that pressure is requiring IT organizations of all sizes to rethink their approach to managing highly distributed network services that now span remote offices to public clouds. Riverbed is only one of a handful of networking companies that enable organizations to centralize the management of those services, says Bhise.

It’s too early to say how rapidly network management will consolidate. Pressure to consolidate network management has been around for years. The issue now is to what degree expansions of network services in the realm of operational systems connected to the Internet along with a simultaneous increase in the number of workloads running in the cloud will finally force the issue.