Riverbed Launches Virtual Version Of Steelhead Appliance


The company on Thursday announced Virtual Steelhead, which according to Riverbed will target customers with heavily virtualized data centers or rugged environments where physical space for hardware is in short supply.

Virtual Steelhead is built on the latest version of the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) and is built on VMware ESX or ESXi 4.0. It will be available in different configurations corresponding to Riverbed's existing Steelhead hardware line.

"It's pretty simple: we're taking RiOS and wrapping it into a virtual appliance," said Apurva Dave, Riverbed's vice presient of product marketing. "A lot of customers that have already virtualized their data center are saying, 'We have everything else virtual, so why not this?' Channel partners can not only get that too them virtually but also wrap services around it."

As Riverbed has sold more physical Steelhead appliances, Dave said, it's quickly realized that different form factors will help the company reach a larger number of more varied accounts.

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"We had a military group who said to us, we love this, but what if we need to drop your Steelhead appliance from 10,000 feet?" Dave said. "Think of this way. You can have your favorite ice cream, now in a cup or a cone."

The virtual appliance will be generally available in Riverbed's third quarter, starting at $2,885, and deployed as a virtual machine disk.

Dave added that VMware is the go-to hypervisor for Virtual Steelhead and Riverbed will be "continuing to have discussions" and "see how the market evolves" to determine whether Riverbed will add competitive hypervisors.