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Riverbed's Crandall and Schirman also agreed that the company's move into other markets puts it in closer competition with other fast-growing, channel-savvy vendors such as F5 Networks, which dominates application delivery controllers.
"There definitely is an overlap," Crandall said. "We bought Zeus, and I think there were a lot of people asking, 'What is your intent and direction there?' But that whole market is big and the virtual piece of it is growing at a very fast rate."
"Our intent is not to move into the ADC space," added Schirman. "Our intent is to move into a virtualized performance type of portfolio with our own products, with an eye toward getting into cloud technology and offering more of an overall virtualization strategy vs. more big iron hardware."
As Riverbed looks at additional ways to leverage software within its product lines, its partners will be able to provide customers with programmable infrastructure that can cover any type of workload performance needs, Crandall said.
"That brings the conversation so far beyond a point product discussion and makes it a competitive business discussion," she said.
"I don't know if anyone else has caught up yet," said Xtium's Vogel. "It's not about selling hardware anymore. Riverbed kind of hits on that now, and they're coming up with a good product portfolio that solves the whole distance of the problem and fits it all together."