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Riverbed taps VMware for services platform

OEM agreement gets VMware's technology embedded in the Riverbed Services Platform

By Ann Bednarz, Network World
September 11, 2008 12:04 AM ET
Ann Bednarz

Earlier this year I wrote about Riverbed Technology's efforts to help its customers de-clutter their branch offices by hosting local services, such as print servers, on their Steelhead acceleration devices. This week Riverbed announced it's now using VMware’s virtualization technology as the platform that lets customers consolidate such services on their Riverbed appliances.

Riverbed struck an OEM agreement with VMware to embed the virtualization pioneer’s hypervisor and related technology in the Riverbed Services Platform (RSP). With the VMware platform inside Steelhead appliances, companies can run remote office services without the need for separate dedicated servers. Services currently available for deployment on the RSP include streaming media, print services, DNS, DHCP and IP address management

“We’ve taken the VMware virtualization technology and kind of rebuilt RSP on top of VMware,” says John Martin, vice president of product management at Riverbed. “We realized that it’s not really the underlying virtualization platform that people care so much about, it’s the ecosystem they have to manage their virtual applications. It became clear to us early on that in terms of the infrastructure for managing and configuring hundreds or thousands of [virtual machines], VMware was the right choice for us.”

While many enterprises are working to centralize IT resources in the data center, there are certain key applications and services -- such as print services or DNS and CHCP services -- that it makes sense to retain in remote locations. Martin adds. “Those are truly local and there’s no real benefit to consolidating them in the data center,” he says.

With VMware as the underlying virtualization platform within RSP, Riverbed will be able to offer up to five virtual appliances on each Steelhead appliance, the company says. Riverbed has been working with partners to certify third-party applications and services that can run on the VMware-powered RSP. Among the list of approved applications are Secure Computing’s Secure SnapGear firewall technology; Infoblox’s NIOS software for DNS, DHCP and IP address management; and the Wowza media server for streaming media.

“Working together, WAN optimization and virtualization technologies allow organizations to move forward with efforts to lower operational and capital costs through IT consolidation, while also ensuring that end-users have access to essential applications and services,” said Joe Skorupa, research vice president for Gartner, in a statement.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

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