“We have been gaining market share at the expense of others”

by Ashwani Mishra    Jan 03, 2012

Riverbed Technology has become the leader in WAN optimization, according to Gartner, since it was founded in 2002. Last year, the company acquired Zeus Technology and Aptimize to expand products in the virtual application delivery controller market.Joshua Tseng

Joshua Tseng, Technical Director, Riverbed Technology speaks on the company’s growth, new acquisitions and why enterprises are making a shift to use Riverbed’s solutions.

Q] What has been the company’s performance over the years and how have you fared vis-à-vis competition in the WAN optimization space?

We have been experiencing 30 to 40 percent growth year over year. Even during the recession, back in 2008, we grew around 20 percent. Major players like Cisco and HP witnessed shrinking growth rates of 15 to 20 percent, then.

This year we expect to have business of around 700 million dollars globally.

Gartner has placed Riverbed market share in WAN optimization at 52 percent followed by Cisco in the third quarter of 2011. We believe that we have reached critical mass and our leadership in this segment has been established. The trend has been us increasing market share at the expense of everybody else.

Q] Can you elaborate on how you have managed to get a greater market share?

WAN optimization is now considered as a matured product segment, and has been one of the technologies that enterprises must consider.

One of our strengths is that we are one provider with a scalable product that can perform consistently. This means that the service does not break down even as the number of remote sites deployed increases or the number of employees using the product increases. Some of the world’s largest IP networks in the world use our solution.

Many enterprises who attempted to deploy solutions from our competition had to switch to Riverbed as they faced scalability issues with those solutions. We have seen this repeatedly, and this is the primary reason why we are gaining market share at the expense of others.

Q] How have you integrated the technologies through the acquisitions of Zeus and Aptimize in your product line up?

The acquisitions of these two companies have formed a cornerstone of our asymmetric optimization strategy. Both the acquisitions have helped us expand our ability in delivering a faster performance in variety of environments and not just the private wide area networks.

The Stingray product family is based on technologies acquired from Zeus Technology and Aptimize. It is asymmetric software and virtual-based offering that includes application delivery controllers (ADC), Web content optimization and application firewalls. The solution enables enterprises to host applications in any physical, virtual or cloud environment, and to cost-effectively scale application acceleration and optimization as needed, on demand.

Q] How are you looking to capture market share in the application delivery controller (ADC) market?

The market for ADC is 40 to 50 percent larger than WAN optimization. It is growing at a similar rate, and the market has been dominated by hardware-based appliances.

Now with the increasing sophistication of applications, we are seeing load balancing and traffic distribution decisions to the application farm requiring more intelligence. This is one area where hardware-based appliances are less equipped to address.

This is where Stingray, which is a software-based application delivery controller, will play a significant role. It has the ability to address the intelligence and sophistication required to manage applications. Also, with the software-based ADC, users can use commodity hardware, which was not the case before.

F5 has been a leader in the ADC market. They have a similar position to what we have in the WAN optimization space.

However, we believe that they are vulnerable as they depend too much on their hardware. For example, if there is a requirement to make traffic distribution decisions based on layer 7 information, they slowdown because their solutions are not equipped to understand layer 7. They have to fall back on their general purpose processors that are weaker and more expensive than the commodity processors in the market.

In the next few years, we will see a shift from hardware-based inflexible, dedicated hardware appliances to software-based solutions.