Riverbed Intros McAfee Integration For High-End WAN Appliance

WAN Firewall

The combined offering will be made available through respective Riverbed and McAfee channels this month.

"Channel partners want to position themselves in a way where they can do more with the technology customers have invested in," said Nik Rouda, Riverbed director of product marketing. "This is both consolidated and virtualized."

Riverbed has built a thriving channel around its Steelhead appliances, which boost performance of applications and database backup in enterprises, in remote offices and for mobile devices. Within Steelhead is Riverbed Services Platform (RSP), the company's virtualized services software.

"We're using our Steelhead appliances that have WAN optimization but on top of that can run VMware as a virtualization platform, and a variety of local services, from Microsoft Windows Server to McAfee functionality," he explained. "The next issue was how do we deliver endpoint security, and based on reseller demand and customer demand, what would be a strong strategic partnership where we could be a platform to run [that partner's] technology directly?"

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Enter McAfee. The Firewall Enterprise software, deployed in a virtual version in the Steelhead appliance, enables Riverbed customers to add firewall rules, policy, antispam, secure VPN and other features on top of the Steelhead appliance.

"What we're seeing today is a huge change in what we call the 'threat landscape,' " said David Colodny, director of global strategic alliances at McAfee. "But what delivers the lower operational costs is the ability to integrate products from different technologies into single platforms. That's what's driving what we're doing with Riverbed. You can buy a firewall and an IPS [intrusion prevention system] from anyone, but almost none can integrate the intelligence into a cohesive management system as well as correlate that information and deliver the protection out to those products."

The relationship means McAfee is now an Elite partner with Riverbed and an RSP partner, which means that McAfee products have been specifically tested and confirmed to run with Riverbed Steelhead appliances and on Riverbed's platform.

McAfee also will sell and support McAfee Firewall Enterprise for Riverbed among its own offerings.

"McAfee gets us instant credibility as we do marketing around it," Rouda said. "It's not doing a weird, secondhand approach to security."

McAfee will be participating in Riverbed's Accelerate 2010 partner conference and plans to offer a Webinar and road shows specific to the Riverbed appliances for McAfee partners in May, according to Colodny.

The joint versions of the Steelhead appliances will be available this month, according to the companies. As of early April, they had already been pushed out to several partners that sell both Riverbed and McAfee.

Colodny said the two companies had identified 30 existing common partners in the U.S., and Riverbed and McAfee would look to "expand the conversation" to others.

"We're still doing a lot of channel mapping to figure out which VARs are best positioned to take this to market," Rouda said.

Riverbed has continued to expand its Steelhead line, most recently with the 7050 appliance. The company in February also unveiled an OEM agreement with Microsoft to bring Windows Server 2008 integration to Steelhead, and said that in March it became the first WAN optimization vendor to be validated under Microsoft's Server Virtualization Validation Program.

Earlier this year, Riverbed made a number of additions to its worldwide channel program and for the first time introduced two-tier distribution through Arrow ECS and Avnet Technology Solutions.