Path selection for hybrid networking ensures the right application path and service level for every user
Riverbed performed best across our range of applications, which meant we would be able to provide better performance to all of our distributed workers and support the IT consolidation project. -Dan Campbell, Director of Network Engineering, Intelsat

Application growth and cloud services impact every network, slowing user access

“CAD files were too large to simply open over the WAN. So, copies of these files were copied around the various offices where needed. This created revision control problems: Who has the latest version of the correct file? Where did they last save it? You can’t even buy enough interstate bandwidth to solve these problems for a company our size. A T1 doesn’t cut it on its own.”
-Ray Sirois, Director of IT, Wright-Pierce. 

Until recently, the vast majority of applications were hosted within private data centers with a standardized WAN on MPLS network services. Now, with both public and private resources, the network itself is going hybrid, combining the strengths of the highly reliable MPLS with the lower-cost Internet infrastructure.

Implementing a Hybrid WAN has been difficult due to the complexity of defining what traffic goes on which network. Configuring systems and policy-based routing are a burden on network administration and ultimately not reliable enough to provide application value.

Path selection for hybrid networks ensures the right application path and service level for every user

“We have a really complicated network. It’s a mix of leased lines, Frame Relay, VPN, broadband Internet and of course satellite. We’re based completely on Cisco routers, but we have many different models. Not only that, we’re probably running about 10 different versions of IOS. So we would expect any WAN optimization product we use to be able to integrate easily into this complex environment.”
-Dan Campbell, Director of Network Engineering, Intelsat. Read the customer story >

Path selection provides the ability to establish and re-direct select traffic and application delivery along alternate routes based application-aware, business intent-based policies and on service metrics, such as path availability and priority. That means, for example, business-critical traffic can use highly reliable MPLS primary or backup paths, while backup traffic can use Internet VPN and cloud services can use local Internet access.

With a wizard-like process for defining application policies based on customer business requirements, Steelhead via SteelCentral Controller enables you to easily leverage and control hybrid networking and path selection for accelerated application delivery. The solution derives all network path possibilities and, based on business policies, enables you to prioritize and deliver critical applications over the faster hybrid networks and less-critical recreational applications and bulk backups over the Internet. With new standards-based, secure transport functionality, SteelHead automatically encrypts all data in motion regardless of path or specifically by application groups or paths, allowing customers to protect data transmitted between SteelHead solutions over private, public and Hybrid WAN lines.

Learn more about SteelCentral Controller for SteelHead

Unlike legacy policy-based routing, the solution:

  • Allows the customer to define path selection policies using pre-defined application groups, instead of manually defining each application path individually
  • Leverages application-aware business logic and policies to simplify configuration and deployment of path selection over Hybrid WANs.  Easily calculates and derives all of the path possibilities that applications can take to specific users
  • Secures optimized and non-optimized traffic over Hybrid WANs with standards-based encryption for added security and regulatory compliance

With integrated quality of service (QoS) and business-intent path selection, SteelHead provides IT organizations with the ability to control network consumption, as well as what application uses which network, with priority for business-critical and latency-sensitive applications over recreational applications.

More than meet business and user demands with Hybrid WANs and path selection

"Riverbed performed best across our range of applications, which meant we would be able to provide better performance to all of our distributed workers and support the IT consolidation project. SteelHead was as close to plug-and-play as you could get. The configuration was simple and the devices were reliable. Their flexible in-path and WCCP deployment required little to no re-architecting of our network and worked great with our heterogeneous Cisco environment."
- Dan Campbell, Director of Network Engineering, Intelsat

A Hybrid WAN − when controlled by Riverbed hybrid WANs and path selection for SteelHead solutions − combines MPLS, private and public Internet to increase available bandwidth, application performance and network reliability at the lowest cost possible. It allows organizations to have the benefits of a Hybrid WAN without the underlying complexity.

Now, with path selection and SteelHead solutions, you can efficiently and cost-effectively leverage Hybrid WANs to meet business demands, accelerate applications everywhere and enhance IT visibility and control. Steelhead’s secure transport allows you to protect data transmitted between SteelHead solutions over private, public and hybrid network links with standards-based encryption for added security and regulatory compliance.

SteelHead solutions with path selection also help maximize the return on your application and infrastructure investments.

  • Lower costs with commercial-grade Internet to supplement MPLS capacity
  • Increased performance by freeing and optimizing precious MPLS bandwidth
  • Increased end user productivity with faster, more effective applications delivery
  • Aligns and secures application delivery with business requirements and intent
  • Increased reliability with rapid failover capability to an instant backup
  • Operational efficiency by avoiding the need to reengineer the existing routed and switched network

Riverbed® SteelHead™ Services

A portfolio of services that help you optimize application performance throughout the entire application lifecycle.

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