A Riverbed Primer on the Hybrid Enterprise

What is a hybrid enterprise?

A combination of private assets and public services defines the hybrid enterprise. The enterprise is transforming into a mix of owned applications and cloud-based services, with core apps and data usually running on-premises in private datacenters and other apps running in the public cloud. So the enterprise is going hybrid in terms of where and how it hosts its apps.

Previously thought of as a jumping-off point for a true private or public cloud, the hybrid cloud model is proving itself as the final destination for enterprise IT.
Guiding the enterprise into a hybrid cloud model

But it’s not just where apps are hosted, it’s also how they’re delivered. And networks, the delivery channels that form the enterprise’s nervous system, are also going hybrid. Private networks (MPLS links) are being joined by public networks (the Internet) to offer choice in delivery channels: more costly private networks for mission-critical apps, cheaper public networks for bulk loads like backup.

Is the “hybrid enterprise” a real trend or just more hype?

It’s the real deal. RightScale published its 2014 State of the Cloud Survey in April with several key findings:

  • Cloud is reaching ubiquity: 94% of organizations surveyed are running applications or experimenting with infrastructure-as-a-service. 87% of organizations are using public cloud.
  • Hybrid cloud is the approach of choice: 74% of enterprise respondents have a multi-cloud strategy, and 48% are planning for hybrid clouds. In addition, 15% of enterprises expect to use multiple public clouds, and 11% are planning for multiple private clouds.
  • Enterprises progress on hybrid initiatives: Among the 74% of enterprises that have a multi-cloud strategy, more than half of those are already using both public and private cloud.

Source: RightScale 2014 State of the Cloud Report

What’s really dead or dying is the pure on-premises business, and with it the notion that IT is a purely inside-the-firewall phenomenon. And what’s growing rapidly, aided and abetted by pure-play software-as-a-service vendors like Zuora and Salesforce, is the hybrid enterprise.
– Josh Greenbaum, “The Rise Of The Hybrid Enterprise,” InformationWeek, February 24, 2012

These are the official numbers. The unofficial numbers are much higher, as this quote from Microsoft’s Brad Anderson shows. It’s anecdotal but Microsoft has massive customer evidence to draw from so it carries weight:

“Considering that there are often over 300 SaaS apps at use within an average organization (Box, salesforce.com, Office 365, etc.), a centralized management solution is critical to productivity.”

Source: Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President, Windows Server & System Center, Microsoft, “Success with Enterprise Mobility: SaaS Management,” TechNet blog, July 17, 2014

Consumers have embraced SaaS; in fact, a whole generation of users has never loaded software onto a personal computer. It should come as no surprise that those same users carry their experiences and expectations into the workplace.
“The Hidden Truth Behind Shadow IT: Six Trends Impacting Your Security Posture,” Frost & Sullivan, November 2013

Chances are your company is much more hybrid than you realize. And not just with applications, it’s happening with networks, too:

“Two years ago, 30% of companies were using an Internet connection in place of a traditional WAN link in at least one location, according to Nemertes Research. That number climbed to 50% in 2013 and could reach 55% this year.”

“Bandwidth requirements are set to grow dramatically and rapidly. Gartner estimates enterprises will need 28% more bandwidth, a compounded annual growth rate, each year through 2017.”

Source: Jessica Scarpatti, “MPLS networks not obsolete, but Internet as WAN catches up,” SearchNetworking/TechTarget.com, June 2014

What benefits does an enterprise gain by going hybrid?

Going hybrid offers opportunities to better balance CAPEX investments in owned resources and OPEX spending on cloud-based services, and to leverage the combined capabilities of private and public clouds and networks to evolve toward a location-independent computing model.

Location-independent computing is the next step beyond software-defined networking (SDN) and software-defined datacenters (SDDC). While SDNs and SDDCs logically separate applications and services from the underlying hardware, location-independent computing physically separates those elements.

This advancement allows an enterprise to make the placement of hardware and software a business decision instead of a technical decision. With location-independent computing, a hybrid enterprise has the flexibility to host applications and data in the locations that best serve the business while ensuring flawless application delivery to better leverage global resources, radically reduce the cost of running their business, and maximize employee productivity.

Of course, a hybrid IT environment is more complex than either a pure on-premises or cloud-based business, so to achieve these ideal benefits organizations must solve the challenges of hybrid complexity.

Customers lagging behind on well-defined strategies for cloud management, governance, and compliance procedures need to make investments or face failure in meeting the business’s expectations.
– John Madden, Ovum, “2014 Trends to Watch: Cloud Services,” January 24, 2014

What challenges does an enterprise face when it goes hybrid?

Going hybrid adds architectural complexity and blind spots for support, management, and security.

In the hybrid enterprise, people, apps, and data are everywhere.

  • 62% of employees work in multiple locations.1
  • 52% of companies have over half of their corporate data outside the datacenter.2

The added complexity exacerbates the challenges of delivering and managing apps and data.

  • 51% of companies say application complexity is their primary challenge.3
  • And more than half of enterprises say they are “very concerned” about the performance of their SaaS apps.4

How do Riverbed solutions help solve these challenges?

In a world where application performance drives business performance, you need a holistic approach to both.

Cloud success comes from deploying the right blend of internal and external services to create technology-enabled differentiation. To support this blend of services, your strategies and tactics should flow from a comprehensive framework.
– Intel, “The New CIO Agenda: Innovation Strategies for the Cloud-Enabled Enterprise,” 2013

Riverbed delivers a holistic approach and comprehensive framework for application performance in the hybrid enterprise with the Riverbed Application Performance Platform™.

The Riverbed Application Performance Platform

The Riverbed Application Performance Platform is the most complete platform to enable organizations to embrace location-independent computing, so that business objectives – not technical constraints – drive how applications and data are delivered.

1 Forrester, “Provisioning a Flexible Workplace Pushes the Boundaries of IT and Drives a Search for Outside Help,” June 2012.
2 Forrester, “Successfully Consolidating Branch-Office Infrastructure in the Face of More Users, Services, and Devices,” October 2011.
3 Forrester, “Think You’ve Mastered Application Performance? Think Again,” July 2013.
4 Forrester whitepaper, “End-to-End Application Acceleration Technologies Overcome SaaS Challenges,” February 2012.


The Riverbed Application Performance Platform gives IT organizations the ability to Analyze, Diagnose, and Resolve application and data delivery issues anywhere across the hybrid enterprise.


Riverbed Solutions

Riverbed solutions each address a specific challenge and at the same time are a component of the Riverbed Application Performance Platform, available individually and in combination to resolve IT problems as they occur and eliminate any obstacles to location-independent computing:

  • Riverbed® SteelHead. Optimize application delivery for the hybrid enterprise with the #1 WAN optimization solution that delivers applications and data at the fastest speeds across the optimal networks for the lowest cost.
  • Riverbed® SteelFusion. Consolidate branch infrastructure in the datacenter and optimize delivery of apps/data to branches with the only branch converged infrastructure that delivers local performance, data centralization, instant recovery, and lower TCO.
  • Riverbed® SteelStore. Turn the cloud into a low-cost, instantly accessible data storage tier with the only cloud-integrated storage that enables customers to securely store data in the cloud at up to 90% less than traditional methods, accelerates data protection by reducing data volumes by up to 30x, and speeds data transport times by 4x.
  • Riverbed® SteelCentral. Gain true end-to-end visibility, analytics and diagnostics across your application delivery infrastructure with the only performance management and control suite that combines user experience, application, and network performance management to provide the visibility needed to diagnose and cure issues before end users notice a problem, call the help desk to complain, or jump to another website out of frustration.
  • Riverbed® SteelScript. Customize and automate application performance infrastructure from Riverbed with open APIs and developer tools across the Riverbed platform and partner ecosystem.


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