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Riverbed SD-WAN gets connections to Amazon, Microsoft clouds

Riverbed SD-WAN now includes support for private connections to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Other enhancements include support for the Xirrus WLAN.

Riverbed Technology has made it possible to connect its SteelConnect SD-WAN to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure using the public cloud providers' private links.

Also, Riverbed introduced this week the option of provisioning and monitoring Xirrus Wi-Fi access points through the cloud-based SteelConnect management console. Riverbed acquired wireless LAN (WLAN) vendor Xirrus last summer.

SD-WAN products choose the best links for different types of WAN traffic based on priorities set by network operators. Companies also use the software to monitor traffic flows from WLANs, MPLS links, broadband or cellular networks.

The latest cloud-related SteelConnect feature lets companies connect the Riverbed SD-WAN to Amazon Web Services Direct Connect and Microsoft ExpressRoute. Both are private network connections to the cloud providers' services.

In general, cloud providers offer private links for customers prohibited from sending sensitive data across the public internet. Legal departments or government regulators are often responsible for the ban.

Connecting Xirrus to Riverbed SD-WAN

Connecting to cloud providers is one of many features SD-WAN vendors pack into their products. Others include firewalls, WAN optimization and WLANs.

The Xirrus WLAN integration lets companies use the SteelConnect Manager software to provision access points and create and monitor Wi-Fi networks. Xirrus joins other Riverbed products the vendor has integrated with SteelConnect. Others include SteelHead for WAN optimization and SteelCentral for network performance monitoring.

Riverbed plans to integrate as many products as possible into SteelConnect to differentiate it from the SD-WAN offerings of rivals, including Cisco, Citrix and Silver Peak.

Other new features in the Riverbed SD-WAN include support for Long Term Evolution (LTE), a 4G wireless broadband link provided by carriers. Companies often use LTE for backup network connectivity or as a temporary internet connection. Retailers use the latter in pop-up stores.

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