Riverbed Technology

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Riverbed Technology, Inc
Industry Networking hardware
Founded May 23, 2002
Headquarters San Francisco, California, USA
Key people
Jerry Kennelly (CEO)
Revenue Increase US$551.9 million (2010)[1]
Increase US$56.2 million (2010)[1]
Increase US$34.2 million (2010)[1]
Total assets US$736.1 million (2010)[1]
Total equity US$537.4 million (2010)[1]
Number of employees
1244 (December, 2010)[1]
Website www.riverbed.com

Riverbed Technology is a technology company that specializes in improving the performance of networks and networked applications, with headquarters in San Francisco, California. Riverbed helps information technology organizations to have the flexibility to host applications and data while helping to ensure that applications perform as expected, data is available when needed, and performance issues are detected and mitigated as quickly as possible.[citation needed]

It was founded May 23, 2002 by Jerry Kennelly and Steve McCanne to help organizations eliminate distance and location as constraints in delivering applications. The original name of the company was NBT (Next Big Thing) Technology, and it was renamed to Riverbed Technology in 2003. Kennelly and McCanne led internal development of the first SteelHead appliances.

The company has undergone several organization changes since its beginning, acquiring companies such as Mazu (2009), CACE Technologies (2010) and OPNET Technologies (2012).[2]

In February 2014, the US hedgefund Elliott Management Corporation made a $3.36 billion offer to acquire Riverbed.[3]


Riverbed products are designed to solve network bandwidth and performance problems in the following areas of technology:

  • Application acceleration - Applications that require access to resources across a WAN can run faster.[4]
  • Bandwidth optimization - The amount of traffic that runs across a WAN can be reduced, resulting in a decrease in network bandwidth requirements.[5]
  • Data center, branch office and server consolidation - The amount of computer and storage equipment required to support a branch office or remote location can be reduced through consolidation and virtualization.[6]
  • Data protection and Disaster Recovery - The time required to complete a backup cycle and to replicate that data offsite can be reduced, resulting in more data backed up in less time.[7]
  • Visibility and Network performance management - Network performance problems and anomalies can be automatically recognized so that problems on those networks can be identified, analyzed, and solved.[8]
  • Cloud Server and Storage Acceleration - Improve network performance into private and public clouds, enabling users to make better use of remote cloud-based computing and storage resources.[9]

WAN optimization[edit]

SteelHead Appliances
Riverbed's main product is the SteelHead Appliance which is a box that is connected to a wide area network, often behind the WAN router and in front of the Local Area Network switch. Each SteelHead appliance interacts with one or more SteelHeads in other locations across the WAN to increase the efficiency and performance of network traffic. SteelHead appliances work together to reduce network traffic in by data streamlining, transport streamlining and application streamlining.

The software that runs a SteelHead appliance is called the Riverbed Optimization System or RiOS. RiOS is based on Linux.[10]The current version of RiOS is 9.0. There are more than 20 different models of SteelHead appliances available, each with a different capacity for connections and data traffic, ranging from a small desktop unit up to a high-end 3U data center model with solid state disks.

The SteelHead EX Appliance models support the Virtual Services Platform (VSP), which enables them to run virtual machines in VMware ESXi directly on the SteelHead appliance.[11]

Riverbed SteelFusion is a branch office converged infrastructure solution that consolidates servers and storage into the datacenter. SteelFusion works by doing authoritative block caching at branch appliances and doing filesystem and application level block prefetch to service read misses. It allows the ability to instantaneously boot servers anywhere in the world. [12]

Virtual SteelHead
While a standard SteelHead Appliance is a physical device, Virtual SteelHead provides the same RiOS-based WAN Optimization functionality in a VMware ESX or VMware ESXi environment, without requiring a dedicated physical device.[13]

SteelHead Mobile
A third option for running RiOS is directly on a portable PC or Macintosh. SteelHead Mobile runs directly on the computer, and optimizes any WAN traffic that goes back to a data center where there is a SteelHead Appliance it can pair with.[14]

Central Management Console (CMC)
The CMC simplifies the process of deploying, configuring, and managing SteelHead appliances. Administrators can manage, deploy, configure, update, and monitor as many as 2,000 SteelHead appliances or Virtual SteelHeads from one web-based interface. Deploying, configuring, updating, and monitoring are all done through one web-based interface. The CMC is available either as a physical or a virtual device.[15]

The Interceptor appliance extends the scaling and high-availability capabilities of Steelhead appliances to meet the requirements of the largest and most complex enterprise networks and data center environments. It clusters up to 25 Steelhead appliances so they can work together seamlessly to scale out to a million TCP connections and up to 12 Gbit/s of throughput.[16]

Network monitoring and management[edit]

Cascade is an agentless solution for network and application visibility. Cascade does its work through a combination of capturing network packets.[17] Cascade Pilot is a network analysis software product that integrates with Cascade Shark appliances and Riverbed Steelhead for a fully distributed, easy to manage packet capture solution.[18]

Cloud products[edit]

Whitewater Appliance
The Whitewater appliance, (now called SteelStore) introduced in November 2010, was designed to optimize data from a backup application (e.g. Symantec NetBackup or Backup Exec) into a public storage cloud computing entity. The 1.0 release worked with Amazon AWS. Whitewater is a single-ended appliance; data is deduplicated, compressed, and encrypted with AES-256 on the Whitewater appliance and then sent across the WAN to the storage cloud provider for long-term storage in that form. [19] This unit was acquired by Netapp on Oct 27, 2014[20]

Cloud Steelhead
The Cloud Steelhead appliance, also introduced in November 2010, provides WAN optimization for traffic going between users or an enterprise data center and a public cloud such as Amazon Web Services’ Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Virtual Private Cloud (VPC).[21]


Riverbed Technology was founded May 23, 2002 by Jerry Kennelly, CEO, and Steve McCanne, CTO. The original name of the company was NBT (Next Big Thing) Technology, and it was renamed to Riverbed Technology in 2003. Kennelly and McCanne led internal development of the first Steelhead appliances, the 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 models. The first product was shipped in April, 2004 to Environment Canada. Riverbed stock began trading on NASDAQ September 21, 2006.[22]

On February 20, 2009, Riverbed announced the completion of the acquisition of Mazu Networks. The Mazu products, which were renamed Cascade, analyze network traffic to provide information about the interactions of and dependencies between users, applications and systems. This acquisition enabled Riverbed to add IT infrastructure performance solutions to its product portfolio.[23]

On October 21, 2010, Riverbed acquired CACE Technologies, and folded their Shark network analysis product and Pilot interface product into the Riverbed Cascade product suite. CACE was also the corporate sponsor of the open source network protocol analyzer product, Wireshark. Riverbed has assumed corporate sponsorship.[24]

In November, 2010, Riverbed acquired Global Protocols, LLC, a provider of Satellite optimization to the defense marketplace. Global Protocols is known for their SkipWare product, a proprietary commercial implementation of the Space Communications Protocol Specifications (SCPS), which is used in most US Department of Defense communications satellites.[25]

On July 19, 2011, Riverbed acquired Zeus Technology, a provider of high-performance software-based load balancing and traffic management solutions for virtual and cloud environments. Their primary product is the Zeus Virtual Application Delivery Controller (vADC).[26]

On July 19, 2011, Riverbed acquired Aptimize Limited, a provider of web content optimization technology, based in Wellington, New Zealand.[27]

On January 11, 2012, Riverbed announced that it purchased certain assets of Expand Networks, including its intellectual property, out of liquidation in Israel. Expand went into liquidation under the supervision of the District Court of Haifa in Israel and ceased operating as an on-going business.[28] FAQ: RIVERBED PURCHASES ASSETS OF EXPAND NETWORKS

On October 29, 2012, Riverbed announced its intention to acquire OPNET Technologies, a software business that provides performance analysis for applications and networks, based in Bethesda, MD.[29][30][31] This is a $1 billion US dollars acquisition in cash and in stock.[32] On December 18, 2012, the company announced that it completed the acquisition of OPNET Technologies.[33]

Awards and Recognitions[edit]

Riverbed was awarded InfoWorld Magazine's Technology of the Year for WAN optimization every year it has been awarded: 2005,[34] 2006, 2007,[35] 2008,[36] 2009,[37] and 2011[38]

On September 24, 2013 Riverbed achieved certification under the J.D. Power Certified Technology Service and Support Program.

Named one of the 10 most powerful firms in the world of network management by Network World.[39]

Whitewater named 2013 Backup Hardware Product of the Year by Storage magazine.

Riverbed was awarded InfoWorld 2014 Technology of the Year Award winner[40]


Riverbed's main competitors in WAN Optimization include Aryaka, Blue Coat, Cisco, F5 Networks, Citrix, Ipanema Technologies, Infineta Systems, Mushroom Networks, Radware, Sangfor Technologies and Silver Peak.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hoovers web site Riverbed Technology, Inc., visited 17 March 2011.
  2. ^ Riverbed's acquisition history, visited May 19,2014.
  3. ^ Abhirup Roy (25 February 2014). "Elliott ups bid for Riverbed to $3.36 billion, says co ignored other offers". Reuters. 
  4. ^ Enterprise Services Group. White Paper, visited March 28, 2011.
  5. ^ WAN Optimization.org web site WAN Optimization Technology, visited March 28, 2011.
  6. ^ Computerworld Magazine web site, Minimize Server Consolidation Mistakes, visited March 28, 2011.
  7. ^ Network Computing Magazine web site Riverbed Ramps Up Disaster Recovery, visited March 28, 2011.
  8. ^ IDG Connect web site Achieving Business Value with Network and Application Visibility, visited March 28, 2011.
  9. ^ Enterprise Networking Planet web site Riverbed Whitewater Expands Cloud Acceleration and Storage, visited March 28, 2011.
  10. ^ http://www.enterprisenetworkingplanet.com/news/article.php/3706616/Riverbed--Juniper-Push-WAN-Acceleration-Ahead.htm
  11. ^ Riverbed Web Site Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) 6.0 - A Technical Overview, visited 17 March 2011.
  12. ^ Riverbed web site SteelFusion, visited 10 August 2014.
  13. ^ Riverbed web site Virtual SteelHead, visited 17 March 2011.
  14. ^ Riverbed web site SteelHead Mobile, visited 17 March 2011.
  15. ^ Riverbed web site Central Management Console, visited 17 March 2011.
  16. ^ Riverbed web site Interceptor, visited 17 March 2011.
  17. ^ Riverbed web site Cascade Shark, visited 17 March 2011.
  18. ^ Riverbed web site Cascade Pilot, visited 17 March 2011.
  19. ^ Riverbed web site Cloud Data Protection for Backup, Archive, and Disaster Recovery, visited 17 March 2011.
  20. ^ http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/10/27/netapp_buys_steelstore_from_riverbed/
  21. ^ Riverbed web site Cloud Steelhead, visited 17 March 2011.
  22. ^ Yahoo Finance web site Riverbed Profile Page, visited 14 March 2011.
  23. ^ Riverbed web site Riverbed Completes Acquisition of Mazu Networks, visited 17 March 2011.
  24. ^ Riverbed web site Riverbed Expands Further Into The Application-Aware Network Performance Management Market with the Acquisition of CACE Technologies, visited 17 March 2011.
  25. ^ Riverbed web site Riverbed Solidifies Federal Market Leadership With The Acquisition of Global Protocols LLC, visited 17 March 2011.
  26. ^ Techcrunch Web Site Riverbed acquires Zeus for $140m – A win for Cambridge, DFJ Esprit and SEP, visited August 5, 2011.
  27. ^ The Register web site Riverbed pumps up software with Zeus, Aptimize buys, visited August 5, 2011.
  28. ^ Yahoo Finance Riverbed Purchases Assets of Expand Networks, visited January 17, 2012.
  30. ^ Martyn Williams, Network World. "Riverbed to acquire Opnet in $1B deal." Oct 30, 2012. Retrieved Dec 12, 2012.
  31. ^ Nathan Eddy, eWeek. "Riverbed Boosts APM Abilities With Opnet Acquisition." Oct 30, 2012. Retrieved Dec 12, 2012.
  32. ^ Jon Gold, Network World. "Riverbed's billion-dollar Opnet buy could pay off big, analysts say." Nov 1, 2012. Retrieved Dec 13, 2012.
  33. ^ RTT News. "Riverbed Technology Completes Acquisition Of OPNET Technologies - Quick Facts." Dec 18, 2012. Retrieved Dec 18, 2012.
  34. ^ InfoWorld web site InfoWorld 2005 winner, visited 17 March 2011.
  35. ^ InfoWorld web site Riverbed Steelhead 3.0, visited 17 March 2011.
  36. ^ InfoWorld web site Riverbed Steelhead Appliance, visited 17 March 2011.
  37. ^ InfoWorld web site InfoWorld 2009 Technology of the Year Winners, visited 17 March 2011.
  38. ^ InfoWorld web site InfoWorld 2011 Technology of the Year Winners, visited 17 March 2011.
  39. ^ Riverbed named as one of most powerful firms in network management in 2013
  40. ^ InfoWorld 2014 Technology of the Year Award Winner, visited 15, January 2014.

External links[edit]