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7/20/2009
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Fredric Paul
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Riverbed Creates Virtual Edition Of Its Steelhead Mobile Controller

New software-only SMC-VE costs half as much as full appliance, supports acceleration for smaller mobile workforces. It's like buying an aspirin at the airport instead of Costco...

New software-only SMC-VE costs half as much as full appliance, supports acceleration for smaller mobile workforces. It's like buying an aspirin at the airport instead of Costco...As workers in small and midsize companies become more mobile, they are demanding the same kind a fast access to data and applications they get in the office. That's according to Joe Ghory, a Riverbed product marketer for Steelhead Mobile.

To support that contention, Riverbed cites statistics from Yankee Group saying 50% of users have missed business opportunities because of slow communications. And according to a Harris Interactive study commissioned by Riverbed, 33% of users say accessing business files or software remotely negatively affects their productivity and 40% say they would work off-site more often if their business files or software would load more quickly.

Naturally, Riverbed makes a product designed to help speed applications not just to branch offices (Riverbed's core business) but also to home offices and mobile workers. But the Steelhead Mobile Controller (SMC) appliance starts at a whopping $12,995 for up to 30 licenses, out of reach for many smaller companies.

So Riverbed is now offering the Steelhead Mobile Controller - Virtual Edition (SMC-VE), which supports as few as 10 licenses and runs in a virtual partition on an existing Steelhead appliance. By unbundling the software and eliminating the need for additional hardware, Riverbed cut the price by more than half, to $5,999, without sacrificing performance.

SHM 2.1 Launch Intro Preso Press v3 Comparing the Steelhead Mobile Controller with the Virtual Edition.

Ghory likened the SMC-VE to buying an aspirin at the airport versus at Costco. The unit price might be lower at Costco, but so is the total price. And the unit price savings are meaningless if you only need a couple pills.

The SMC-VE is designed for installations with as few as 20 mobile users (SMBs or enterprise branch offices), Ghory said: sites too small to justify a full SMC solution. The SMC-VE supports up to 100 concurrent active mobile clients, compared to 4,000 for the appliance. Additional licenses for the SMC-VE cost the same as additional licenses for the Steelhead Mobile Controller appliance. The idea is that as companies grow beyond 100 licenses, they can move up to the appliance and keep using the licenses they acquired for the virtual edition. The Steelhead Mobile Controller-Virtual Edition will be available July 27, Ghory said.

Meanwhile, Riverbed also announced what it called the first application layer acceleration solution of Lotus Notes for mobile workers. And for larger companies, Riverbed announced that it is doubling the capacity of the Steelhead Mobile Controller appliance from 2,00 to 4,000 licenses, with no new hardware required.

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