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Riverbed slips McAfee firewall into WAN optimizers

One appliance better than two

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Riverbed Technology, which leads the WAN optimization appliance market in terms of customer count and installed base, has teamed up with security software and hardware appliance maker McAfee to load the latter's enterprise-grade firewall onto the its WAN appliances.

The Steelhead appliances are - like a lot of servers, storage arrays, and an increasing number of network and other embedded systems - based on x64 processors. When the latest lineup of the Steelhead appliances were launched last year, they allowed for up to five different applications to be loaded onto the box atop a VMware ESX Server virtual machine and run on the appliance. What this means for branch offices that typically do not have IT staff and certainly don't need more servers tucked in closets or under desks is that they can load a Windows server for print and file serving, or maybe a video streaming application, to be run locally on the Steelhead appliance while that appliance accelerates the performance of the wide area link back to the central data center and the applications that reside there.

Under a partnership Riverbed announced today, McAfee is allowing the software from its Firewall Enterprise firewall and intrusion protection system (IPS) appliance, also known by the name Sidewinder and itself a hardware appliance based on an x64 server, to run on Riverbed's Steelhead appliances. The McAfee Sidewinder appliances are not cheap, with street prices ranging from $4,410 to $16,740 depending on bandwidth and features, so the combination of the Steelhead appliance plus the virtual Sidewinder license can save them some dough and cut down on the number of boxes humming in the branch office.

On the entry Steelhead 250 appliances, which has enough oomph so a VM partition on the box running Sidewinder can secure the networking of between 10 and 50 remote users, the virtual Sidewinder license costs only $995. On the larger Steelhead 2050 appliance, which has a higher-end version of the Sidewinder firewall and which can secure a couple thousand end users working remotely, the license is $2,495. Those prices include one year of support for the firewall.

Riverbed and McAfee will be working together to cross-sell the Riverbed appliance married to the virtual Sidewinder firewall, and they are linking their tech support operations so the finger-pointing doesn't start when something goes wrong.

The virtual Sidewinder for Steelhead WAN optimizers will be available on April 19. ®

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