Products of the Year 2005:

Storage networking equipment

Bronze Award:

Riverbed Steelhead Appliances

Branch-office workers, using main data center-hosted apps, generate a ton of unique data that needs to be stored at company headquarters. However, most office apps were designed for a local LAN and, as such, run miserably over a WAN because of bandwidth limitations.

Riverbed Technology Inc. Steelhead appliances, along with their upgraded Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) 3.0 operating system, do a lot of network magic to eliminate or drastically reduce network issues. Priority queuing and guaranteed minimum/maximum bandwidths ensure that traffic such as VoIP and streaming media gets the prioritization and protection it needs. Steelhead appliances can now automatically map ports to applications for more visibility into the performance of applications across the WAN. In addition, the appliances can detect each other and begin optimizing traffic without preconfiguring proxies or tunnels. Perhaps most importantly, Steelhead appliances support more network protocols than any other WAN optimizing devices. The Steelhead appliances "level the playing field for remotes," one judged enthusiastically declares.

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