SteelHead Customers: Upgrade to SteelHead SD and Get SD-WAN Capabilities Powered by SteelConnect


If you’re a Riverbed SteelHead™ customer, you’ve come to appreciate this solution’s application accelerations capabilities. But your network has evolved over the years, and with the release of Riverbed SteelHead SD, SteelHead continues to evolve with it. The high points:

  • The big story is that SteelHead SD integrates Riverbed SteelConnect™ SD-WAN functionality with SteelHead optimization in a single appliance
  • SteelHead SD also features optimization for the cloud, for SaaS applications, and for the latest generation of applications and protocols

New and improved

In addition to the big features we’ve outlined here, SteelHead SD has a host of additional improvements over earlier versions of SteelHead, including:

  • Holistic performance improvement
  • Improved MTTR/downtime
  • Easier management while retaining flexibility for upgrades or decommissioning of services
  • Capacity to handle growth and scale spikes
  • Improved application performance and data transfer

SteelHead SD unifies network connectivity and orchestration of application delivery across hybrid WANs, remote LANs, and cloud networks, with secure optimization and end-to-end application and network visibility.

And there’s great news for current SteelHead customers: The Riverbed trade-up program helps protect your investment in the platform while helping you save on upgrades to the latest features. We’ll look at the details in a moment, but first, let’s check out the different elements of the SteelHead SD system.

Two great solutions that go great together

The combination of SteelHead’s WAN optimization features and SteelConnect’s software-defined control in a single appliance provides a number of remarkable benefits:

  • Improved performance and agility
  • A smaller footprint in the datacenter
  • Unified, centralized management, including zero-touch provisioning

Perhaps the most important benefit, though, is seamless communication between SD-WAN and WAN optimization services.  Multi-vendor combinations inevitably compromise end-to-end application-centricity as packets flow between WAN optimization and SD-WAN functions. In SteelHead SD, both services seamlessly integrate to maintain the identification and classification of applications end-to-end, enabling application-centric visibility and control across your hybrid WANs, cloud networks, and branch LAN and WLANs.

Building blocks of a great offer

The SteelHead SD solution consists of the following:

  • The SteelHead SD appliance, which offers optimized network performance with patented data, transport, and application streamlining; acceleration for a wide variety of critical enterprise applications; and a secure WAN gateway that provides unified connectivity and enforcement of global policy across on-premise and cloud-network environments
  • SteelConnect Manager, a centralized and multi-tenant management portal that provides intuitive and simplified workflow for designing, deploying, and managing distributed hybrid networks

There are also optional additions to meet varying needs across the enterprise:

  • SteelConnect Gateway, a physical and virtual secure WAN gateway for unified connectivity without optimization
  • 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, which amplifies the solution with enterprise scalability, load-balancing intelligence, and high availability to manage and scale network-wide throughput

Cloud ready, SaaS aware, application savvy

SteelHead SD’s network chops make it perfect for today’s modern hybrid networks, which might span physical LANs and WANs and various cloud instances, with SaaS applications sending data between branches. SteelHead SD offers optimization and application acceleration in every type of cloud environment, and features single-click cloud deployment into AWS and Microsoft Azure.

SteelHead SD also has several features that make it a perfect platform for managing modern applications:

  • Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) provides unique visibility into more than 1,300 applications — more than any other vendor — allowing visibility beyond SSL, and into differentiated individual applications — within Microsoft Office 365, for example
  • Applications with similar business intent are organized into logical groups for easier reporting, troubleshooting, and configuration of network policies to streamline management

Get the latest and save

If you’re an existing SteelHead customer looking to refresh your hardware, you have the opportunity to upgrade to an offering that won’t just deliver new features, but will also open up a whole new world of networking. Our trade-up program is available to customers who currently own SteelHead CX 20, 50, or 55 Series models; you’ll get credit toward products from the SteelHead CX 70 Series product line that underlies the SteelHead SD offering.

The amount of credit you’ll receive will depend on the hardware models you’ll be upgrading from and to; check out the SteelHead product family spec sheet for a breakdown of the different models, then contact our upgrade team to learn more.