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Riverbed removes steel from WAN juicing Steelhead

Fake appliance goes anywhere

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Riverbed has released a version of its Steelhead WAN optimization appliance that isn't an appliance. You might say it's a Steelhead without the steel.

Yes, it's a Virtual Steelhead, and the company tells us it's meant for offices that just don't have room for a (real) appliance, data centers that have already virtualized everything else, and military outfits that wanna put WAN optimization on hardware that can be dropped out of the back of an airplane. "With the Virtual, you can put it on whatever hardware you like," says Riverbed's Nik Rouda, director of marketing for Steelhead WAN Optimization.

The Virtual Steelhead will be available later this quarter.

Riverbed optimizes wide area networks by de-duping network traffic, working to quash the inefficiencies of underlying network protocols, and reducing network round trips at the application layer. Rouda says that simply by de-duping traffic, its technology can reduce bandwidth utilization by 60 to 95 per cent.

In addition to offering a (real) Steelhead appliance for optimizing WAN performance from a central location, the company offers a mobile version does much the same for individual laptops and desktops.

The unreal Steelhead appliance runs on VMware's ESX and ESXi version 4 hypervisors. But the company plans to support other hypervisors in future. ®

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