Riverbed Technology’s Steelhead WAN Appliance Enhances SaaS Support, Performance
One of the more under-appreciated aspects of cloud computing in general and software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications specifically is that the quality of the end user experience varies greatly depending on the quality of the network pipe through which those applications are being accessed. End users working in a branch office somewhere in the Midwest often have a much different experience using those applications because of the amount of latency involved in accessing remote applications through a constructed network pipe. In contrast, end users in a headquarters facility might have a great experience because that office is only one hop away from an Internet peering exchange.
As a result, it turns out there is a fair amount of buyers’ remorse when it comes to SaaS applications. But rather than letting customers back away from those SaaS application commitments, Riverbed Technology is making the case for deploying SteelHead wide area networking (WAN) appliances that have been optimized for SaaS applications.
New SaaS applications supported
With the release of verson 9.1 of its SteelHead appliance today, Riverbed is adding support for Box, ServiceNow, SAP SuccessFactors, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications to its existing support for Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365 SaaS applications.
Irina Farooq, vice president of SteelHead product management for Riverbed, said there is often a significant amount of frustration with SaaS applications that can work to the benefit of savvy solution providers. The companies that build SaaS applications have no way of reliably testing how well those applications work from every location in the world. In fact, local solution providers are more likely to hear and understand what the real issue is than anyone working at the service desk of the SaaS provider.
The solution provider opportunity
Short of engaging in more distribution their applications across and increasingly larger number of data centers, Farooq notes there’s not much a SaaS application provider can do about the problem in the first place. In contrast, the local solution provider can work with the customer to optimize the WAN experience.
There’s no doubt that it can be challenging for a solution provider to make money selling SaaS applications. But more often than not those SaaS applications wind up creating issues that didn’t exist before they were actually deployed. The challenge facing solution providers in the age of the cloud is finding opportunities to solve cloud computing problems that wind up actually making the overall application environment more complicated to run and manage then might otherwise be absolutely necessary.