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Steelhead OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Steelhead is #3 ranked solution in top WAN Optimization tools and #15 ranked solution in top WAN Edge tools. PeerSpot users give Steelhead an average rating of 8.2 out of 10. Steelhead is most commonly compared to WAAS: Steelhead vs WAAS. Steelhead is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 62% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 22% of all views.
Buyer's Guide

Download the WAN Optimization Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022

What is Steelhead?

The leading network optimization and application performance solution chosen by over 30,000 organizations worldwide

The performance of networks and applications directly impacts business productivity. Riverbed draws from nearly two decades of experience in driving network and application performance over Wide Area Networks with its flagship offering, SteelHead. SteelHead delivers the underlying technology that helps enterprises of all sizes maximize the efficiency and performance of the networks and applications used to run modern business. 

SteelHead is proven to dramatically speed up the performance of applications anywhere in the organization while delivering the best end-user experience even under sub optimal network conditions. Reduce bandwidth utilization by up to 95%, deferring costly network bandwidth upgrades. Increase performance by up to 100x for on-premises applications.

Steelhead was previously known as RIverbed Steelhead.

Steelhead Customers

ElAraby, SFK Leblanc, Bobst Group, Northwest Pipe Company, Halkbank, Tradebridge, EFG Hermes

Steelhead Video

Steelhead Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Steelhead pricing:
"The solution is expensive and the service contacts are costly too. The cost of the device makes the value proposition borderline acceptable for us. The service contract fees we pay is approximately $30,000 annually."

Steelhead Reviews

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IT Network Consultant at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Top 10
Powerful compression and application optimization
Pros and Cons
  • "The compression of Riverbed is very powerful. It can also handle large quantities of traffic."
  • "If we load a primary firewall, the secondary firewall usually handles all the active connections, but in Riverbed, this isn't the case. We lose all the active connections at the moment of failure."

How has it helped my organization?

We did a data center migration for one client between two countries in Latin America. The challenge for this company was that they needed to send a large amount of traffic from Argentina to Mexico in a very short time. Without Riverbed WAN Optimization, it took one hour to send one gig of traffic, but with Riverbed, one gig of traffic was sent in five minutes. From one hour to five minutes, it had a big impact.

What is most valuable?

A feature we like is data streamlining. Riverbed does packet deduplication, packet compression and uses something like simple data referencing to compress the data. If one gig of traffic is sent to one link, that gig of traffic coming from the packet is only 100 mbps, so the compression of Riverbed is very powerful.

Another is transport streamlining, which includes TCP optimization. The window size of the TCP protocol is achieved in order to transfer more data in the TCP section despite the endpoint. The endpoint transfer was very slow, but it doesn't matter because with Riverbed in the middle, it can handle more quantities of traffic.

For application streamlining, where the HTTP application previously had a lot of traffic, Riverbed recognizes HTTP protocols and it can optimize the process because it can create the HTTP server. Normally, the browser and web server agree and compress the traffic, but if Riverbed is in between, it strips the compression from the browser and Riverbed does its own compressions, which is more powerful, and hence, the application runs faster for the user.

Also, for HTTP, Riverbed does caching so it can store data from all the user traffic. It keeps track of the HTTP data locally. Traveling into the server isn't necessary. They can retrieve the information locally because there is a local Riverbed.

What needs improvement?

It's for a very specific use case. It's not for everything. Although the solution is very powerful, it doesn't apply to all enterprises.

There is only one feature that needs to be improved. In the case of a High Availability event, if we lose the primary Steelhead, all the connections need to be restarted. If we lose the primary Steelhead that handles the optimization, the secondary Steelhead cannot handle the same High Availability. Some applications will restart automatically, but for some other applications, like STP, the users need to start a new session. If we load a primary firewall, the secondary firewall usually handles all the active connections, but in Riverbed, this isn't the case. We lose all the active connections at the moment of failure.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Steelhead for five years. 

Buyer's Guide
WAN Optimization
September 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Riverbed, Cisco, Citrix and others in WAN Optimization. Updated: September 2022.
632,779 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What other advice do I have?

I would rate Steelhead a nine out of ten because the product is very stable; it never fails. It does compression and application optimization very well. 

Riverbed can be deployed on-premise or in the cloud as well. We can deploy it in Amazon, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. The solution is in the marketplace of every car provider and it also optimizes Office 365 traffic, since there's a partnership with Riverbed and Microsoft. We can deploy on-premise, we can deploy on IaaS or we can deploy on PaaS.

In the past, the internet links of the MPLS link were full capacity (one or two Mbps) and it was very expensive. Nowadays, the prices of the MPLS links are cheaper and the capacity is increased.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Network Support Engineer at a government with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Easy to install, reliable, and offers responsive technical support
Pros and Cons
  • "It is very easy to install the solution."
  • "The product should offer more integration capabilities."

What is our primary use case?

We primarily use the solution for the optimization of our WAN.

What is most valuable?

The solution has been very good since the beginning. It is quite reliable. 

It is very easy to install the solution. 

Technical support has been very good.

What needs improvement?

We would like the solution to be less expensive.

If the solution was more secure, that would be ideal.

The product should offer more integration capabilities. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for more than ten years at this point. It's been about a decade or more. I've used it for a long time. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The solution has been very stable. There are no bugs or glitches and it doesn't crash or freeze. It's a reliable product.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Currently what we have in the system can not support the software-defined networks, so I won't say it's scalable. However, newer iterations might be.

We currently have about 2,000 users on the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We've dealt with technical support in the past and they have been okay. We're satisfied with how helpful and responsive they have been overall. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is not difficult. It's very simple and quite straightforward. A company shouldn't have trouble setting it up.

When the product was originally installed, it was not the lead. Therefore, I cannot speak to how long the deployment itself took.

We only have just a few people on staff that really manage the infrastructure at the moment. We don't need a big team.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The cost of the product is too high. We would like it to be lower. 

We pay a yearly licensing fee.

What other advice do I have?

We are a customer and an end-user. We don't have a business relationship with the company itself. 

We are still using the CX 5070 across our sites. We have one in the system.

I'd rate the solution at an eight out of ten. We've been very pleased with the solution and its capabilities over the years. 

I would recommend the product to others.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
WAN Optimization
September 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about Riverbed, Cisco, Citrix and others in WAN Optimization. Updated: September 2022.
632,779 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Djurre Woudstra - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Network Engineer at a legal firm with 201-500 employees
Real User
Top 20
User friendly, stable, and good exchange replication
Pros and Cons
  • "I find the most valuable to be the compression and exchange replication."
  • "They should include a network switch in a future release."

What is our primary use case?

We use the solution to optimize traffic between our vastly geographically dispersed offices.

What is most valuable?

I find the most valuable to be the compression and exchange replication. It is very useful, user friendly, and the documentation manuals are helpful.

What needs improvement?

They should include a network switch in a future release.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using this solution for 15 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability has been good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is not the best. If you find that you have outgrown the capacity of your appliance you are forced to repurchase the license and the appliance with very little discount even if your appliance is still under contract.

How are customer service and technical support?

The customer service is quite professional and helpful.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

When I first purchased this solution it was the first of its kind. There was no other option.

How was the initial setup?

I have 15 years of experience with this product. When I first did the install it was hard, but now it is very easy.

What about the implementation team?

I did the deployment myself and do the maintenance. It does not take very long.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The solution is expensive and the service contacts are costly too. The cost of the device makes the value proposition borderline acceptable for us. The service contract fees we pay is approximately $30,000 annually.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We are approximately midway to the life cycle of our current products and I do not think I will be rebuying Riverbed just because of the cost. Silver Peak is one of the other solutions we have been looking at, carries a lower cost, and has some additional options such as SD-WAN.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise others to do tests and make sure they really need the product before purchasing it because it is expensive.

I rateRiverbed Steelhead a seven out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Akhilesh Mishra - PeerSpot reviewer
Security Engineer at M.Tech
Real User
Top 5Leaderboard
Enables optimization of multiple applications for better reporting
Pros and Cons
  • "Scalable data referencing is a great feature."
  • "The application response time of the solution can be improved."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case of Steelhead is as a CDR application and a second use case is for optimization. We are global distributors for Riverbed and I'm a technical engineer.

What is most valuable?

Scalable data referencing is the most valuable feature developed by Riverbed. It's also great that you can optimize multiple applications and get better reporting. These days, everybody is looking for visibility and Steelhead enables you to see what's running on your network. You can easily filter the site, the name of an application, the port, source, or destination IP.

What needs improvement?

The application response time of the solution can be improved. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using this solution for 13 years. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is good overall. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The solution is scalable, I've deployed it for more than 20,000 users.

How are customer service and support?

We've had a good experience with technical support. They have a toll-free number and are happy to carry out a remote session to troubleshoot any issues.

How would you rate customer service and support?

Positive

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is very easy. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Licensing costs are reasonable. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We've compared with other vendors but none have the scalable data referencing (SDR) feature, the mobile client software to optimize for roaming users.

What other advice do I have?

I rate the solution nine out of 10. 

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner / distributor
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Buyer's Guide
Download our free WAN Optimization Report and find out what your peers are saying about Riverbed, Cisco, Citrix, and more!
Updated: September 2022
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Buyer's Guide
Download our free WAN Optimization Report and find out what your peers are saying about Riverbed, Cisco, Citrix, and more!