Riverbed off to a busy start in '09

* F5, Akamai, Limelight also making news

It's shaping up to be a busy year for Riverbed, if January is any indication. Among the big news revealed last month is Riverbed's plan to acquire Mazu Networks.

The acquisition puts Riverbed in a position to combine its own Steelhead WAN optimization appliances with Mazu’s technology for measuring application usage and performance. Put together, the products could give enterprise IT departments a means to pinpoint where Riverbed’s gear is most needed, and then quantify the benefits of WAN optimization.

Another big play for Riverbed is its role as WAN optimization provider in HP’s new ProCurve alliance program. HP last week unveiled its first switches built specifically for data center applications. As part of the announcement, HP unveiled the zl module, a blade for its ProCurve Switch 5400zl and 8200zl series that consolidates partner applications onto a common platform. Among the applications that can run on the zl module is the Riverbed Optimization System, which powers Steelhead appliances. A joint solution -- Riverbed WAN optimization running on HP ProCurve -- should be available in the second half of 2009.

Also last month Riverbed announced its gear is going to be the hardware behind a managed WAN optimization service provided by Singapore Telecommunications Limited. Plus it announced customer deployments at phone operator The Zain Group (75 sites), New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change (101 sites), and Latin American food services company IMI.

Riverbed is due to release its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2008 financial results later today. I’ll go into more detail on that (and other vendors’ financial news) in an upcoming newsletter. Meanwhile, here are a couple other news items of note in the WAN optimization and application acceleration arena:

* F5 bolsters management tools. Last week F5 announced a new version of its Enterprise Manager software that adds new monitoring tools so enterprises can better gauge network health. Administrators can set thresholds and alerts for their application delivery networks so IT staff can quickly react when network conditions or end-user demands change. In addition, built-in automation features let users program tasks such as configuration and certificate management, software updates, and policy control. Enterprise Manager is available as a centralized management appliance for F5’s BIG-IP devices. The new version is available as a software download at no additional cost to existing customers.

* Inauguration traffic breaks records. Akamai and Limelight Technologies separately reported record numbers of viewers who streamed President Barak Obama’s inaugural address live over the Internet on January 20. Akamai reported it delivered a peak of over 7 million active simultaneous streams (the majority being live streams) at approximately 12:15 p.m. on that day. Limelight, meanwhile, said it delivered Obama’s address to an estimated 2.5 million viewers.

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