Akamai and Riverbed team to speed hybrid cloud performance

Akamai and Riverbed are developing technology to speed performance between corporate data centers and SaaS providers

LAS VEGAS -- Riverbed and Akamai are teaming up to offer technology and services that promise to optimize WAN traffic more effectively when it travels between corporate data centers and cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) providers.

At Interop, the companies said they plan to roll out their combined product early next year to help businesses deal with what they call the hybrid cloud problem.

That problem stems from corporate network architecture that has end users connecting over private WANs to private cloud data centers to reach needed resources and also connecting through those data centers over the Internet to applications hosted by SaaS providers.

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In the first case, performance on the private WAN connection to the data center can be improved using Riverbed Steelhead optimization appliances. In the second, the connection to the SaaS provider can be enhanced using Akamai's protocol optimization across the Internet that is enabled with servers the company has placed strategically around the Internet.

The weak point, the companies say, is between corporate data centers and the Akamai point of presence. Riverbed's optimization gear requires Steelheads at both ends of connections in order to optimize traffic, so without the devices at Akamai points of presence on the Internet, those connections cannot be sped up using Riverbed's technology.

But the companies say that with software upgrades to Akamai servers to incorporate Riverbed Steelhead optimization features and with upgrades to Steelheads to support Akamai network enhancements, both faster network performance and application performance can extend from inside the firewalls of private corporate clouds to the Akamai POP closest to the SaaS provider.

The companies say they have been working on the upgrades needed to carry out their plan for some time, and will announce actual services later this year. Both companies will market the offering to their customers.

The arrangement is similar to Akamai's recently announced cooperation with IBM to extend Akamai acceleration to corporate networks via IBM's WebSphere Application Accelerator for Hybrid Networks appliance.

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