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Riverbed debuts SD-WAN solution

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In a major move to revolutionise networking, Riverbed Technology, the application performance company, today launched Riverbed SteelConnect, an SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) solution that offers a radically new approach to networking in a cloud-centric world.
Leveraging its deep application knowledge, Riverbed is delivering an application-defined approach to networking, with SteelConnect uniquely designed to enable business-intent policies for applications to provide the performance and agility enterprises need today.
SteelConnect is the industry’s first and only product to unify network connectivity and orchestration of application delivery across hybrid WANs, remote LANs and cloud networks such as AWS (available today) and Microsoft Azure (later this year).
With a fully integrated line of secure WAN gateways, remote LAN switches and WiFi access points, all managed centrally through a cloud console with an intuitive and graphical user interface, SteelConnect dramatically simplifies and streamlines the process of designing, deploying and managing distributed networks, enabling organizations to modernize their network architecture to realize the full potential of digital transformation.
“The market is going through one of the largest transformations ever, with organizations moving quickly to adopt more digital and cloud services and hybrid networks,” says Jerry Kennelly, Riverbed chairman and CEO. “Unfortunately, legacy approaches to managing distributed networks and routing – which are hardware-bound, hard-coded, inflexible and error-prone – haven’t changed much in 20 years.
“We believe SteelConnect has the potential to disrupt the multi-billion dollar branch office router market and re-define networking as we know it today.  With SteelConnect, we’re delivering an application-defined networking solution that leverages Riverbed’s application DNA and integrates industry-leading visibility, to provide the agility, simplicity and speed enterprises need to manage today’s complex cloud and hybrid architectures.”
Industry analyst projections indicate enormous pent-up demand for newer and better approaches to networking. Gartner expects SD-WAN uptake to grow from less than 1% of enterprises today to 30% of enterprises by the end of 2019, and IDC expects the worldwide SD-WAN market to grow from less than $225-million in 2015 to more than $6-billion in 2020.
“We’re seeing very strong interest in SD-WAN, driven by the complexity in hybrid clouds and networks, the need to drive efficiencies, and the desire for flexibility to easily shift workloads and deploy new applications and services,” says Brad Casemore, research director of IDC. “Riverbed is well positioned in the emerging market for SD-WAN and the broader enterprise branch networking opportunity, with a differentiated initial offering in SteelConnect, and a strategic roadmap that leverages Riverbed’s experience providing network and application visibility and optimisation.”
“SteelConnect represents a complete rethink of how networks should be built and managed in today’s cloud-centric world,” says Paul O’Farrell, senior vice-pesident and GM of Riverbed’s SteelConnect, SteelHead and SteelFusion business units. “SteelConnect provides a new experience of networking for both IT and business, where deploying and managing network services is as intuitive as downloading apps onto your smart phone and as instant as spinning up compute and storage resources into a public cloud.”
Businesses are increasingly using private and public cloud-based infrastructure solutions. SteelConnect uniquely provides single-click and instant provisioning of secure WAN gateways into cloud environments as part of the broader solution, unifying the management workflow and policy-based orchestration of both on-premises and cloud network environments.
The SteelConnect system is designed to address modern challenges associated with ensuring fast, agile and secure delivery of applications across a hybrid enterprise with a unique set of capabilities:
* Unified Connectivity & Management Across WAN, Remote LAN & Cloud Networks: SteelConnect provides a software-defined and application-defined connectivity fabric that spans WANs, remote office LANs and cloud infrastructure networks through a line of physical, virtual and cloud-based WAN gateways, as well as remote LAN switches and Wi-Fi access points.
* Business-aligned Orchestration: Instead of managing networks through configuration of individual appliances, SteelConnect provides policy-based orchestration that is naturally aligned to the language and priorities of business: Applications, Users, Locations, Performance SLAs and Security requirements.  An IT network architect can now easily set up global or local policies such as: send all video application traffic over the highest-capacity circuits; send software updates over Internet broadband circuits; or send all business traffic over secure VPNs. Previously network operators needed to enter hundreds or thousands of lines of CLI (command line interface) code to make network and application changes, which is both inefficient and prone to human error.
* Cloud-based Management Experience: SteelConnect provides an intuitive graphical user interface that supports an agile and intent-based workflow for managing networks.  With SteelConnect, operators can design every aspect of a distributed network before deploying any hardware.  Zero-touch provisioning then provides instant deployment of physical devices into a network.  Central management of global network policies enables agile and efficient updates to support business requirements.
* Ubiquitous & Industry-Leading Visibility: SteelConnect provides complete visibility of all users and devices connected to a distributed network, and supports industry-leading NPM and APM capabilities from Riverbed SteelCentralT natively integrated into the SteelConnect central management console.
SteelConnect components include:
* SteelConnect Manager: A centralised and multi-tenant management portal that provides an intuitive and simplified workflow for designing, deploying and managing distributed and hybrid networks.
* SteelConnect Gateway: A line of physical and virtual secure WAN gateways that provide unified connectivity (point-to-point and full-mesh) and enforcement of global policy across on-premises and cloud network environments, zero-touch provisioning, automated VPN management and next-generation firewall and threat protection capabilities.
* SteelConnect Switches & SteelConnect Access Points: A line of remote LAN switches and Wi-Fi access points that support zero-touch provisioning, automate global enforcement of access control policies and provide complete visibility into connected users and devices.