Riverbed, Juniper form application delivery partnership

Riverbed and Juniper's new technology partnership expands Riverbed's mobile WAN optimization reach and gives Juniper application delivery technology.

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Riverbed Technology and Juniper Networks Inc. announced a technology partnership that gives Juniper an application delivery controller and enhances Riverbed's ability to optimize mobile application delivery.

Riverbed will integrate its Steelhead Mobile technology with Juniper's Junos Pulse client for mobile application acceleration for smartphones and tablets, with a focus on access for Apple iOS and Android devices. This integration will allow both companies to expand the availability of wide area network (WAN) acceleration technology for mobile users and to start to deliver a consistent user experience, regardless of device and location, according to Riverbed Chief Marketing Officer David Greene.

Juniper licensed Riverbed's software-based Stingray application delivery controller (ADC) for $75 million and will use the technology for load balancing and as the basis of its own ADC appliance, a move that will boost Juniper's weak footprint in the data center, noted Joe Skorupa, research vice president at Gartner Research Inc.

Riverbed and Juniper also announced they would explore other ways to expand their partnership in WAN optimization and application delivery.

"We found a good opportunity for a partnership, and [the agreement] will better serve both our customer bases," Greene said.

Riverbed/Juniper partnership fills mobility, WAN optimization gaps

It's no secret that Juniper has a gap in its ADC portfolio. In order to compete with the likes of Cisco, Juniper elected to partner with Riverbed to fill the hole, said Jim Frey, research director for Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

"Going with a partner like Riverbed that has a software ADC option makes a lot of sense," he said, noting it is easier for Juniper than developing its own, or executing on a hardware-based offering.

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What the Juniper-Riverbed alliance means to the market

Riverbed's acquisition of Zeus Technology -- a privately owned software-based load balancing and traffic management company that focused on virtual and cloud environments -- has granted Riverbed greater flexibility in working with partners.

"Being software-based, the ADC technology is simple to move into and through partners like Juniper," he said.

Juniper isn't the only one benefiting from this arrangement. Riverbed has had adoption challenges associated with its software-based WAN optimization controllers, Gartner's Skorupa said. Users don't want to add "yet another piece of software to their endpoint."

Now Riverbed's Steelhead Mobile technology will ship in Juniper's Pulse VNP client -- giving Riverbed easier access to Juniper; it didn't have access to before, Skorupa noted. The deal also gives Juniper a strong mobile WAN optimization solution.

"Juniper's WAN optimization products were dead in the water, as the company suspended development years ago," Skorupa said.

The Stingray ADC portion of the deal will also benefit both companies.

"Now, [Juniper] will have their own first-rate ADC technology," he said. "Riverbed will get more exposure and get their ADCs into an area they would normally have a hard time reaching on their own."

Riverbed/Juniper partnership enables application performance, regardless of device or location

At a time when enterprises rely so heavily on smartphones and tablets, application delivery and optimization vendors are not leaving mobility considerations on the back burner. While mobile application performance is still a struggle for many enterprises, EMA's Frey expects the market to mature.

Riverbed was able to extend its Steelhead Mobile technology onto some smartphones and tablets prior to the partnership with Juniper -- but not across iOS and Android platforms. Finding unique ways to get endpoint optimization technology out to a broader mobile audience will be important for application delivery and optimization vendors moving forward, Frey said.

"The partnership is very well structured -- [Riverbed and Juniper] aren't competing," Skorupa said. "Riverbed needs more avenues toward continued growth and Juniper needs a more complete portfolio, [which] they weren't going to be able to build in-house."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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