Riverbed announces new SteelConnect and SteelFusion integrations with Microsoft at Ignite

Riverbed adds support for Microsoft’s Hyper-V hypervisor, and their newly announced Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN.

Today at the Microsoft Ignite event in Orlando, Riverbed Technology is making a pair of announcements extending their key relationship with Microsoft. They are previewing an integration between their SteelConnect SD-WAN solution and the new Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN offering that Microsoft is announcing at the event. They are also expanding their Riverbed SteelFusion cloud edge offering to the Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisor.

“The SteelConnect announcement is the support for Microsoft’s newly-announced Azure Virtual WAN,” said Milind Bhise, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Riverbed. “It is the culmination of a lot of work the two engineering teams have done. We have integrated the Azure Virtual WAN into the SteelConnect Manager logical construct, in order to automate the secure connectivity into the WAN.”

The Azure Virtual WAN service provides optimized, automated and global scale branch connectivity. The Riverbed integration gives the customer a choice of using the Azure Virtual WAN, as well as MPLS or standard Internet broadband.

“This is where the intelligence of the SteelConnect SD-WAN comes in,” Bhise said. “We have always allowed the customer to send the critical apps with the SLAs to MPLS, and the less important ones to standard business Internet, in order to prioritize and reduce their transport costs. We are now adding a third element with the Azure Virtual WAN, and the customer now has the option to set the policy for that.”

Bhise said that using Azure Virtual WAN isn’t a simple question of the importance of the data, but more an issue of what a customer would specifically want because of their relationship with Microsoft Azure.

“What they would send there depends on the enterprise, because it’s a managed Virtual WAN from Microsoft,” he noted. “The value to the end user is all around agility and the automation that the joint solution brings into the Virtual WAN. Being able to offer the more differentiated offering will be useful for our channel partners, however.”

Bhise said that Sword Group, a services and software company that operates in over 50 countries, was an early adopter and reference customer of the integration.

“The got value from this very clearly and crisply,” Bhise said. “They were able to deploy locations in minutes that removed complexity in expensive scenarios. They got more agility, and more control. That’s the value to them.”

The other part of the Riverbed announcement, a new integration between SteelFusion and Microsoft Hyper-V customers, involves an old Microsoft product rather than a new one.

“The SteelFusion integration is a more regular type of announcement, but for both of us it continues to evolve the partnership we have had for sixteen years,” said Alison Conigliaro-Hubbard, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Riverbed. “We are a Gold Microsoft ISP partner, their highest level.”

Before now, Riverbed only supported hypervisors in VMware environments. Now they are announcing October availability in Microsoft Windows Server 2016 environments running Hyper-V. In early 2019, it will support Windows Server 2019.

“Customers around the world have increasingly been asking us for support for Hyper-V,” Conigliaro-Hubbard said. “They have been asking for this for some time, but the pace has been increasing in conjunction with the growth of Microsoft. Traditional choices may not help customers in their journey to their digital future, and that may include their virtualization platform.”

Conigliaro-Hubbard said that this now, for the first time, makes a Virtual SteelFusion Edge widely available to anyone as a software-defined deployment.

“For partners, this makes any Edge environment easily installable  where Hyper-V is running, which makes it very easy and flexible to roll out to any Edge in a business,” she stated. “The reinvented Riverbed Rise channel program this year, aligns nicely to deploying Edge sites. For service providers delivering Edge as a service, it aligns nicely to the new incentive metrics, which entitles partners who deliver Riverbed technology as part of a managed service to increase their dividends.” It will be available as both perpetual and subscription-level pricing.

Riverbed is demonstrating both new Microsoft integrations this week in the Riverbed booth [#500] at Microsoft Ignite.