Riverbed Technology, the leader in application performance infrastructure, today introduced Riverbed SteelHead 9.1, delivering new capabilities that are designed to ensure cloud applications perform as expected and provide IT the visibility, optimisation, and control to deliver applications over hybrid WANs (wide area networks) to maximise business performance and cost efficiency.

Wherever applications are delivered, wherever data resides, and wherever users work in today’s complex enterprise environments, SteelHead 9.1 allows IT teams to deliver applications over hybrid networks strategically and securely by leveraging low-cost, public Internet links for business critical workloads to maximise return on investment (ROI).

In addition to this new direct-to-net capability, Riverbed has expanded Riverbed SteelHead SaaS optimisation and flexibility with new universal SaaS licensing and performance optimisation for Box, ServiceNow, SAP SuccessFactors, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in addition to support for Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365, which SteelHead already provides.

The typical enterprise today is hybrid, doing business with a combination of on-premises, SaaS, and cloud-based applications and infrastructure. As more and more SaaS applications are introduced into the enterprise, IT must deliver them with the best balance of both cost and performance to support business objectives. While hybrid architectures and SaaS applications help organisations lower costs and reduce time to market, they also create management challenges for CIOs and IT teams as they attempt to deliver an optimal and consistent end-user experience. In the cloud era, however, overcoming latency, controlling network paths for performance, managing bandwidth and infrastructure costs, ensuring quality of service (QoS), and having network visibility have become increasingly difficult because there are even more applications with even more network connections that no longer fall within IT’s realm of control.

As the industry’s leading WAN optimisation solution, Riverbed SteelHead helps organisations address the challenges of the cloud by enhancing visibility, optimisation, and control of today’s hybrid WANs to maximise application performance and employee productivity while minimising costs and complexity. The latest updates allow IT to deliver the best end-user experience for all applications with secure optimisation across all networks, including the public Internet.

“Cloud computing can have a stormy side and its application performance. As the leader in application performance for over 10 years, Riverbed navigates a clear path through that potential storm. SteelHead 9.1 offers the most complete solution to ensure all applications – whether running on-premises or in the cloud – perform as the business requires,” says Paul O’Farrell, senior vice-president and GM, SteelHead and SteelFusion Product Groups at Riverbed. “Application performance can now align with business performance and SteelHead 9.1 brings even more security and flexibility so IT can take full advantage of the cloud and the public

With employees increasingly requiring access to the Internet for research, social media, file sharing and collaboration sites, Video on Demand (VoD) and even YouTube, SteelHead 9.1 extends IT’s control to the public Internet with new capabilities and benefits:

* Embedded web proxy enhances Internet performance. Riverbed delivers the most comprehensive solution to improve end-user experience and reduce traffic over direct-to-net connections. SteelHead 9.1 introduces a fully embedded, transparent HTTP(S) proxy with web-object caching for all Internet traffic. This saves bandwidth by preventing subsequent transfers of potentially large files, and, by terminating the request locally, eliminates connection set-up time, further improving application performance. These capabilities are especially beneficial for large video objects, which employees use more and more for training and town hall meetings.
* Universal SaaS optimisation for scalability. With the SteelHead 9.1 release, SteelHead SaaS customers will gain new flexibility and productivity improvements at just $1.99 per user per month with universal licensing. Offered as a subscription, SteelHead SaaS accelerates the delivery of SaaS applications, providing up to 33 times faster application performance and 97% reduction in bandwidth. It offers the flexibility to get performance optimisation for the applications that are most important to a business and to scale quickly, helping contain costs and improve business agility. New capabilities and benefits for SteelHead SaaS include:
* New universal license for all supported SaaS applications. With SteelHead 9.1, SteelHead SaaS is now offered as a single-subscription-per-user for all supported SaaS applications. Customers can instantly activate optimisation for additional SaaS applications with just a click of a button within the management console, with nothing more to buy.
* Performance optimisation for more SaaS applications. Enterprises leverage a number of different SaaS applications to keep their business operations running, but going from hosted applications to SaaS often comes with challenges to network capacity, application performance, and end user experience. In addition to the application-specific optimisation, visibility, and control previously provided for Salesforce.com and support for Microsoft Office 365, SteelHead 9.1 now allows seamless activation for application optimisation for Box, ServiceNow, SAP SuccessFactors, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM at no additional cost. SteelHead SaaS now brings even more proven performance improvements for these SaaS workflows.

Riverbed SteelHead 9.1 is now generally available and more information can be found here. SteelHead SaaS with universal licensing is planned for release in early August 2015. For more on the latest appliances, see the SteelHead CX 70 hardware series that was announced in January of 2015.

The Riverbed Application Performance Platform gives CIOs end-to-end visibility, optimisation and control across the enterprise. A key part of the platform, Riverbed SteelHead is the industry’s #1 optimisation solution for accelerated delivery of all applications across the hybrid enterprise. SteelHead provides increased visibility into application performance and end-user experience and the ability to ensure business performance SLAs through an application-aware approach to hybrid networking based on centralised business intent-based policies.