In addition to the SaaS acceleration, an extension of Steelhead technology that can accelerate SaaS app performance by up to 10x, the release also enhances the Riverbed SD-WAN solutions and their Digital Experience Management solution.
Riverbed, which rebranded its tagline as the Digital Performance Company a year ago, has doubled down on that with the launch of Riverbed SaaS Accelerator, as part of their Spring platform release. It leverages Riverbed’s Steelhead technology to accelerates the performance of supported SaaS apps by up to 10x. The release also enhances the Riverbed SD-WAN solutions and their Digital Experience Management solution.
“This is about the fact that enterprises have evolved,” said Alison Hubbard, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Riverbed. “The apps we use today to get our jobs done have changed so much in the last two years. We were once data centre-centric. Today, we have multi-cloud and SaaS, but the challenge with the SaaS applications is that 42 per cent of enterprises say at least half their distributed and international workforces have poor SaaS experience, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group.”
This is where Riverbed’s cloud-based SaaS Accelerator – which is now available – comes in.
“The SaaS Accelerator is an extension of our Steelhead WAN optimization business,” Hubbard said. “It’s an evolution of it to deal with the fact that enterprises are moving to more and more cloud-based applications. It takes things we have learned about acceleration and applies them to SaaS acceleration.” The result is the potential to accelerate the performance of SaaS applications by up to 10x.
“SaaS Accelerator supports Office 365, Salesforce, ServiceNow, Box and other applications, and we will continue to add support for other enterprise apps,” Hubbard said. “It’s also very flexible. You can spin it up in minutes and select the apps you want to accelerate, and its not proprietary to specific apps.
“The SaaS Accelerator is integrated into the SteelConnect management console that runs our SD-WAN, Hubbard added. “You don’t need the SD-WAN to run this, but they both have the same SaaS accelerator.”
Hubbard said that SaaS Accelerator makes it easier for the channel to be relevant to the changing digital world.
“A key differentiator is that nobody else has it,” she said. “Riverbed is the only company who has anything like this – a full end-to-end SaaS performance management solution. This makes partners relevant for Steelhead accounts and for their Aternity [networking performance management] accounts. It fully addresses the SaaS base.”
When SaaS Accelerator is combined with End User Experience Monitoring, which is part of Riverbed’s Digital Experience Management [DEM] offering within their Digital Performance Platform, customers can measure and monitor the performance of SaaS-based enterprise applications in real time – and then use the SaaS Accelerator to accelerate performance. The DEM offering comes from Riverbed’s 2016 acquisition of Aternity, and it has been strengthened in this release.
“It understands performance at the point of the end user device, and lets you see things like how long the SaaS application takes to load,” said Erik Hille, Director, Product Marketing at Riverbed. “That’s unique to us. What this new release does it extend the use of telemetry information and the way we analyze it for end user experience management. This includes a new, automated device-based mediation remediation capability that proactively addresses things like battery issues and running out of disk space issues. It makes it easier for Level 0 support to handle these issues, and to fix problems without the need to taking over a device remotely, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Effectively, it provides a way to handle things before they become a ticket. For channel partners building new services around experience management, this will be a nice capability.”
The Digital Experience Management solution also gets some interface enhancements to improve ease of use.
“The other thing we have done with DEM is added a new homepage feature,” Hille said. “It has been something like the map at the mall, which is convenient, but not always best way to start. The new homepage summarizes information so users know how to begin their day. A lot of service offerings will be coming around the DEM approach as this builds momentum.”
Other enhancements to the SteelConnect and SteelHead SD SD-WAN solutions were also announced as part of the spring release.
“In the networking space, we continue to keep our foot on the gas pedal,” said Josh Dobies, VP, Product Marketing at Riverbed. “Connecting hybrid IT to Infrastructure-as-a-Service is critical for partners, so a technology that makes it easy to create a unified fabric is incredibly valuable. Solution. We have had on the market the first-SD WAN with point and click mode to connect branches to and through clouds to a multi-cloud fabric, and we have led the way in focusing on this use case. This release augments those typologies.”
Specific enhancements were made to multi-cloud network automation, service-chaining for on-premises and cloud-based security services, and deployment and management of SD-WAN in more complex global environments.
“We improved the ease of connecting branches directly to the IaaS clouds acting as a hub, which is required as more applications at the branch needs are hosted in IaaS, which requires going smoothly from branch to cloud,” Dobies said. “That’s Service Hub. The other dimension relating to cloud is cloud security. This solution was one of the first with point and click integration with Zscaler. They continue to augment their ZEN architecture, so this release dramatically reduces the number of steps needed to onboard ZEN nodes into our software-defined management framework. It also takes advantage of enhanced APIs.”