Riverbed has the most comprehensive set of IT infrastructure optimization tools that enable you to drive an order-of-magnitude improvement out of the IT your business already has. Riverbed architects its products to fit into your environment with minimal integration and delivers cost savings and productivity gains from day one.


Riverbed’s Steelhead appliances provide the highest level of WAN performance across the broadest range of applications. Available in a wide range of sizes – all powered by the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS) – Steelhead appliances are also the most scalable approach to application acceleration across your WAN.

Steelhead appliances come in a range of sizes to ensure that each of your offices has a properly sized acceleration appliance. Plus, with our upgradeable licensing capability, you don’t need to oversize a box for your remote offices and can ensure that you still have room to grow while protecting your WAN optimization investment.

Our smallest Steelhead appliance 100 is meant for offices with just a few people; our 6000-series appliances carry enterprise-class data center workloads and can meet the needs of offices with many thousands of users.

Product Overview

Steelhead appliances enable wide-area data services (WDS) for enterprises of all sizes. These appliances make it easy for organizations to accelerate the applications that are most important to their users, anywhere in the world. Steelhead appliances are available in a range of sizes to meet the needs of any remote office – from small sales offices with just a few people, to major design centers and corporate facilities with thousands of employees.

Every Steelhead appliance comes with the full power of the Riverbed Optimization System (RiOS):

  • Data Streamlining optimizes all WAN traffic by removing all redundant data and prioritizing traffic through advanced QoS mechanisms
  • Transport Streamlining improves the behavior of TCP
  • Application Streamlining reduces application protocol inefficiencies and enables disconnected operations
  • Management Streamlining simplifies the deployment, maintenance, and management of the appliances.

By deploying Steelhead appliances, enterprises see from 5 to 50 times, and in some cases up to 100 times faster application performance, as well as reduced bandwidth utilization. They can ensure faster applications, successful consolidation of distributed IT infrastructure, and enable faster network-based backup. All Steelhead appliances optimize traffic in both directions, transparent to your applications, and require no reconfiguration to client and server software.

Steelhead Appliance Features

Accelerate the Applications that are the Most Important to You

Steelhead appliances are built on an application-independent architecture that optimizes all TCP traffic for bandwidth and TCP behavior. On top of this architecture, Riverbed has built a series of Application Streamlining modules that further optimize applications like Windows, Exchange, HTTP, NFS, and MS SQL.

Transparent Deployment in 15 Minutes or Less
Steelhead appliances do not require any client or server reconfiguration in standard deployment mode. Your applications will continue to work just as they did before the Steelhead appliances were deployed – only faster. There is no proxy configuration required, nor do any routing tables need to be adjusted.
Steelhead appliances are designed to be deployed quickly and easily, often in just ten to fifteen minutes. The boxes can be pre-configured at the factory to your requirements. Then you can literally open the box and plug your new Steelhead appliance into the network. Once deployed, Steelhead appliances can use auto-discovery to automatically find all other Steelhead appliances on the network. This avoids all tedious tunnel configurations often required by other products.

Flexible Deployment, Reporting, and Management

Web GUI and CLI Management and Reporting
Each Steelhead appliance can be managed through a rich GUI or command-line interface. This way, appliances can be set up, configured, and managed remotely. All Steelhead appliances can report traffic and network optimization, and segment reports by port, protocol, or IP address range.
Enterprises can also deploy the optional Central Management Console (CMC) appliance, which allows you to configure and manage many Steelhead appliances simultaneously. The CMC allows group management of devices, dynamic reporting, scheduled operations, over-the-wire software upgrades, and automatic “touchless” setup of new Steelhead appliances in your network.

Highly Configurable, Flexible Deployment
The default state for Steelhead appliances is to intercept and optimize all WAN traffic. However, administrators have the option to restrict or specify optimization by protocol, port, or IP address range.
Steelhead appliances can be deployed in many places in the network. They can be deployed in-path, out-of-path, in various high-availability configurations, near specific servers, or virtually anywhere that meets your needs.

Designed for Reliability and Availability 
Steelhead appliances can be deployed in a variety of high-availability configurations in order to provide continued optimized performance in the event of an appliance failure. These configurations are available for both in-path and out-of-path deployments. Steelhead appliances also enable automated datastore copying, ensuring that failover devices have the most recent user data available. In addition, Steelhead appliance models 3020 and up also feature RAID and triple power supplies to improve reliability.