WAN Optimization is a component considered among the most important to the selection of an SD-WAN solution. Brad Casemore, Research Director, Datacenter Networks, IDC

Design and Operate the Network for Maximum Business Performance

SteelHead SD combines the power of industry-leading SteelHead WAN optimization with innovative SD-WAN and Cloud Networking capabilities, powered by SteelConnect, into a streamlined, single appliance.

With SteelHead SD you can:

  • Quickly and easily provision new branch sites
  • Deploy applications remotely
  • Automatically optimize applications to ensure optimal performance
  • Obtain the greatest bandwidth savings and latency acceleration for cloud, SaaS and the latest generations of secure application protocols
  • Efficiently design, deploy and support ongoing network changes through unified SD-WAN capabilities

Riverbed’s seamless integration uniquely maintains end-to-end application identification and classification across your Hybrid WANs, cloud networks and branches for a true application-centric solution.


IDC analyst video discussing the value of WAN Optimization in an SD-WAN solution

How It Works


SD-WAN integrates SteelConnect and SteelHead to holistically solve application performance problems

Converged WAN Optimization and SD-WAN for Maximum Efficiency and Performance

The SteelHead SD solution includes:

SteelHead SD Appliance

  • Optimized network performance with patented data, transport and application streamlining.
  • Acceleration for a wide variety of critical enterprise apps ranging from email, file sharing, collaborative applications, Intranet portals, Web apps, Line-of-business apps, as well as ERP, CRM and database software as well as streaming video and VOD. 
  • Secure WAN Gateway provides unified connectivity (point-to-point and full-mesh) and enforcement of global policy across on-premises and cloud-network environments, zero-touch provisioning, automated VPN management and next generation firewall and threat protection capabilities.

SteelConnect Manager

  • A centralized and multi-tenant management portal that provides intuitive and simplified workflow for designing, deploying and managing distributed hybrid networks.
  • Start a SteelConnect free trial

Optional Additions

SteelConnect Gateways

  • Physical and virtual secure WAN gateway for unified connectivity, without optimization.
  • The SteelConnect SDI-5030 Gateway offers enterprise-class SD-WAN for large-scale deployments with Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) integration and high availability (hardware and software).

SteelConnect Switches and Access Points

  • A line of remote LAN switches and Wi-Fi access points that support zero-touch provisioning, automate global enforcement of access control policies and provide complete visibility into connected users and devices.

SteelHead Interceptor

  • Amplifies the solution with enterprise scalability, load-balancing intelligence and high availability to manage and scale network-wide throughput.
Riverbed has helped us feel bigger, move faster, and be more agile. Beverly Maestas, VP of Technology Operations, CenterPointe Properties

Visibility, Performance and Agility for the Cloud Era  

Superior Performance + Improved Agility = No Compromises

  • End-to-end identification and classification of apps
  • No compromise in end-to-end app centricity
  • Holistic performance improvement


  • Zero touch provisioning and rapid change management.
  • Centrally managed, business intent-based policies quickly applied network-wide
  • Automated cloud networking and performance with single-click cloud deployment into Microsoft Azure and AWS

Network Efficiency

  • Reduced bandwidth utilization by up to 95%
  • Automatic identification and classification of over 1,300 applications
  • Flexibility for upgrades and enabling or disabling SD WAN capabilities

Operational Efficiency

  • Simplified management and less hardware in single appliance solution
  • Streamlined branch configuration
  • More resilient, highly available WAN with full, dynamic use of multiple links at branches

Business Productivity

  • Exceptional end-user experience
  • IT Agility to support business goals
  • Competitive advantage

What Can You Save? What Can You Gain?

IDC conducted detailed interviews with nine organizations to understand the impact of optimizing the delivery of business applications with Riverbed SteelHead. These organizations reported that SteelHead provided significant value by cost effectively improving network and application performance, which bolsters their business operations and results.

IDC calculates that organizations will realize benefits worth an average of $27,014 per 100 users ($7.23 million per organization) per year over three years, which translates to a projected three-year return on investment (ROI) of 497%.

Read the IDC Report to learn the business value of Riverbed SteelHead

Tech Specs

Technical Specifications

Need help choosing the SD-WAN product that’s right for your organization?

Learn more about our SD-WAN solutions in the SteelHead SD Data Sheet and SteelConnect Data Sheet. Understand the technical characteristics and requirements of each SteelHead SD model in the SteelHead Family Spec Sheet.

Download: SteelHead SD Data Sheet

Download: SteelHead Family Spec Sheet

Download: SteelConnect Data Sheet

Featured Resources

In primo piano


Simplified cloud connectivity with


IDC Analyst Infographic

WAN Optimization is crucial to SD-WAN. Read more in the IDC infographic.

SD-WAN: SteelConnect

SteelConnect provides an intelligent and simplified approach to designing, deploying and managing distributed networks

Riverbed SteelHead Services

Drive adoption and utilization for SteelHead solutions while accelerating deployments for use cases such as SaaS, IaaS, Mobile, and data center migration.

Ready to Get Started?

Download a trial, contact us for more info, or find out how to buy. We’re here to help you get ahead.