Riverbed is gearing up to take on F5 Networks and Citrix in speeding up application delivery with the purchase of Zeus Technology for $110 million.
The deal gives Riverbed software that that offloads tasks from Web servers and load balancers and that runs on off-the-shelf servers.
Riverbed has also bought Aptimize Limited, which makes software that optimizes Web content.
Eventually Riverbed hopes to integrate the two technologies into a single product that would speed up Web applications and Web servers by sitting between them and the Internet or corporate WANs.
This differs from Riverbed's existing WAN optimization business in that its gear requires a device at both ends of connections in order to shape traffic and reduce the number of bytes it takes to conduct sessions across the WAN.
The new products have a different goal - speeding up traffic between servers and random client machines - and only one device is required, sitting at the data-center end of connections. Riverbed calls this asymmetric optimization and plans to form a business around it.
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This is new territory for Riverbed, putting it in competition with well established application delivery vendors such as F5 and Citrix and with Web-page accelerators such as Strangeloop.
Zeus itself bought a Web application firewall vendor - Art of Defence - earlier this year. Zeus was already selling the Art of Defence software as an add-on module for its Zeus Traffic Manager ADC.
Zeus has been getting more and more demand for the application firewall module, driven by businesses handling credit card transactions trying to comply with PCI/DSS standards.