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Vendors Mix Apps And Appliances

Riverbed uses virtualization to accelerate serve apps; Alcatel and HP partner on app-aware infrastructure

Networking vendor Riverbed Technology today launches a line of WAN optimization appliances that can run server software from partners through virtualization. Alcatel-Lucent last week announced a similar alliance with Hewlett-Packard aimed at SOA, while F5 Networks expanded its partnership with management startup Symphoniq.

Riverbed's appliances accelerate applications to branch offices and can host what the company calls virtualized edge services, third-party server software that runs in a VM. Riverbed is initially supporting three server apps: Infoblox DNS/DHCP, Wowza video, and Fortinet unified threat management. Riverbed says its approach lets IT choose best-of-breed products, something none of its WAN optimization competitors can match, though Expand Networks comes close.

The Alcatel-HP partnership centers on Alcatel's OmniAccess 8550 Web Services Gateway, which combines an XML firewall with an application front end and is deeply integrated with HP's Systinet SOA governance software. It's also able to share data with HP's SOA Manager and OpenView. Partnerships between SOA vendors are nothing new: Industry consolidation gives companies that don't sell everything a powerful incentive to team up. With Alcatel and HP both offering only some pieces of a SOA, their partnership is at least in part an anti-IBM alliance.

Finally, F5's BIG-IP gateways can inject monitoring code from Symphoniq into outgoing network traffic. Symphoniq last week announced a SOA management play, aiming to compete with vendors like AmberPoint and HP to reveal how a Web service affects the performance of composite apps or mashups.

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