The steep drop of WAN optimization appliance sales in Q1 of 2012 left many questioning the future of the market. For vendor Riverbed, its WAN optimization focus is evolving into a larger all-inclusive "IT performance" market strategy that adds mobility and storage to its WAN optimization efforts. Riverbed's new focus was solidified this week when the company announced an alliance with Juniper Networks to deliver applications faster and more securely across devices, networks and clouds.
The Juniper[-Riverbed] alliance is just an example of yet another way in which the WAN optimization market is growing and expanding.
chief marketing officer, Riverbed
"There's quite a bit of discussion in the marketplace after the last quarter's results as to the future of WAN optimization, and I think … [we] have really just scratched the surface in terms of what we can deliver," Riverbed Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) David Greene told TechTarget in an interview.
Juniper's strength in data center networking will enable Riverbed to expand into additional market segments -- starting with the integration of Riverbed's Steelhead Mobile technology into the Juniper Networks Junos Pulse client to provide an acceleration solution for mobile phones and tablets. Likewise, by using Riverbed's acceleration technology, Juniper's anemic WAN optimization and application delivery portfolio will stand a chance against competing solutions from F5 and Cisco.
"Juniper's WAN optimization products were dead in the water, as the company suspended development [of its WXC 590 Platform] years ago. Now, they will have their own first-rate ADC technology [with Riverbed's Stingray ADCs]," said Joe Skorupa, analyst at Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc.
Both vendors were vague about exactly how they will marry Riverbed's Steelhead products with Juniper's WXC 590 Platform, however. A factor that may contribute to the ambiguity is the evolution of the WAN optimization market.
"The Juniper[-Riverbed] alliance is just an example of yet another way in which the WAN optimization market is growing and expanding," Greene said.
"When you put the Juniper announcement with [Riverbed's] earnings announcement, I think it paints the picture of a WAN optimization market that is robust -- that is still growing -- where companies are still finding new ways to apply the technology," he added.
Only time will tell whether the vendor that put WAN optimization on the map can steer the market through this transition.
For a look at how cloud WAN optimization may alter the market, read our column follow-up.
This was first published in July 2012