The Best of Interop finalist announcements have nicely validated my sense that we have a lot of good products on our hands. We had three nominations: for Granite, for Virtual Cascade Shark, and for Steelhead Cloud Accelerator. The only other company with three nominations was Cisco, which of course is many times our size.
I had an interesting time last week as I assembled material for a meeting with senior executives of one of our largest service-provider partners. When I survey our product portfolio, its pleasant (if slightly challenging) to observe that we have a high class problem. We have a number of excellent products, each of them exciting in their own right and we are bringing them together into a new layer of IT, which we usually call the performance platform.
The challenge is that were the pioneers in this approach, and sometimes its hard to explain what were doing. Its a lot like our early days with Steelhead, where half the problem was explaining to people the problems we could solve with WAN optimization and half the problem was convincing them it would actually work. The product itself was (and is) amazing, but there were a lot of conceptual roadblocks in the way. We werent very good at explaining to people why they should care, and then we had to work our way past a lot of objections. It feels pretty similar these days with the new products and not just the Best-of-Interop nominees, but also all our Stingray products: Traffic Manager, Aptimizer, and Web Application Firewall.
Now, its pretty easy to have the conversation if someone states a specific problem or concern. I might need to ask a couple of clarifying questions to narrow down the problem and determine if its really something we can help with, or which product(s) is/are the most relevant. For example, when someone wants help with consolidation that can motivate deployment of almost the whole product line which is pretty cool, but can be overwhelming. So its usually sensible to figure out what specific kind of concern is arising in connection with consolidation.
But when the broader what does Riverbed do? question is asked, thats tough. Im thinking my reply ought to be something like overcome constraints of space and time in IT but I admit that sounds a little too cute.
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