Riverbed's partnership spree yields manageability, security gains

* Microsoft, OpNet and NetScout are among Riverbed's latest partners

Riverbed Technology last week announced the latest in a string of partnerships designed to strengthen the company's WAN optimization offerings. Its new deal with Microsoft is aimed at improving the performance of Windows applications and protocols.

Riverbed Technology last week announced the latest in a string of partnerships designed to strengthen the company's WAN optimization offerings (Compare Application Acceleration and WAN Traffic Optimization products). Its new deal with Microsoft is aimed at improving the performance of Windows applications and protocols.

The partnership gives Riverbed access to Microsoft’s intellectual property and technology, so that Riverbed can better optimize Windows-based applications running over the WAN. For example, Riverbed has been working to provide application-level protocol optimization for Microsoft Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007, and those capabilities are included in version 5.0 of the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS).

Riverbed previously announced plans to let customers run Windows Server-based services, such as print and proxy file services, on its Steelhead WAN optimization boxes. Joining the Microsoft Protocol Optimization Licensing Program (POLP) is the next step, according to John Martin, vice president of product management for Riverbed.

Lately, partnerships seem to have been a priority for Riverbed, which has announced a slew of them in recent months. Here are some of the highlights:

* In June Riverbed announced a partnership with network management vendor Opnet that’s designed to give joint customers a better picture of WAN conditions and more quickly resolve application performance issues. Opnet's ACE products can monitor traffic and detect performance problems, as well as analyze how applications impact network performance. The two companies plan to sell and market their gear together.

* Riverbed’s deal with NetScout (which also was announced in June) gives NetScout’s nGenius Performance Management system greater visibility into the proprietary signaling protocol used by Riverbed Steelhead appliances. This lets enterprises gauge more clearly the impact of Riverbed deployments and quantify how well their efforts to accelerate applications over the WAN are working.

* On the security front, Riverbed in April unveiled a deal with Secure Computing that calls for the companies to first jointly sell their respective WAN acceleration and Web security products. The second phase of the partnership calls for the creation of a stand-alone, integrated appliance: Secure Computing's Secure SnapGear firewall, SmartFilter Web filtering and TrustedSource antispam technology will be offered as a software module that can be run on a Steelhead appliance via the RiOS Services Platform.

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