Riverbed’s 497% ROI

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  • Last updated on: 18 Mar 2018

New IDC Report Quantifies SteelHead’s 497% ROI

Riverbed SteelHead™ is the market leader in WAN optimization,and companies of all sizes love its ability to improve the performance of applications across the hybrid enterprise. A new white paper from IDC quantifies that appeal with hard numbers. Read on for highlights and key findings from the paper, entitled “The Business Value of Riverbed SteelHead.”


Figure 1. Click for your copy of the new white paper.


Key takeaways

For the study, IDC conducted detailed interviews with nine enterprises across various industries, with an average employee base of 39,000 spread across an average of 126 office locations.

Since adopting SteelHead technologies, IDC calculates that these organizations realized benefits worth an average of $27,014 per 100 users ($7.23 million per organization) per year over three years — a projected three-year return on investment (ROI) of 497%.

Participants reported benefits in four key areas (see page 1):

  • Business productivity benefits, via increased application performance
  • Reduced downtime, insulating users from negative effects of network outages
  • IT infrastructure cost reductions, consolidating servers and avoiding bandwidth upgrades
  • IT staff productivity benefits, by centralizing WAN management and spending less time on support issues

Widespread boosts to productivity

Of the four key benefit areas (see pages 1 and 2 of the white paper), business productivity contributed the greatest boost to ROI, with every single organization attributing improved application performance to its use of SteelHead. IT managers were able to improve end-user experiences by reducing latency, improving bandwidth availability, and accelerating data delivery (see page 9).

Unsurprisingly, the gains delivered by SteelHead also lead to new and widespread user satisfaction with IT service. Said one IT manager quoted in the report, “Our users tell us everything is the same, until we turn off SteelHead, and [then] they tell us we broke the network” (see page 9).

Overall, interviewees estimated a 9% average productivity increase since adopting SteelHead. Enabling employees to do more correlated to better business results, as they were better able to address business opportunities and meet customer demands.

Our users are definitely experiencing an increase in productivity — I’d say 50% on average, but there are some groups that have higher productivity gains — for example, the teams using the supply chain heavily are getting 100% improvement, or even more.
– Interviewee, page 9

IT staff, too, saw great productivity boosts in their work (see page 12), finding new efficiencies in:

  • Server management, via consolidating and recommissioning physical servers
  • Help desk and reactive application performance management, through fewer network performance-related tickets
  • Application development, by supporting faster delivery of business applications

One IT manager reported increased room to act proactively thanks to less time wasted fielding multiple calls about performance issues. Said another, “We’ve been able to move five people to do other things because of SteelHead’s centralized management, which means that our team can be more proactive in supporting our operations” (see page 13).

Servers stay up, costs go down

Two of SteelHead’s key features, enhanced visibility and centralized control, helped several of the studied enterprises significantly reduce the impact of unplanned network outages. On average, they’ve seen a 70% decrease in unproductive hours due to unplanned outages (see page 11).

We’ve gone from having downtime at various sites on almost a daily basis to maybe once per month. These outages typically last for three to four hours, so reducing downtime has helped us run a robust ERP.
– Interviewee, page 11

In optimizing the uptime and efficiency of existing infrastructure, IT managers report significant savings, thanks to the ability to consolidate operations into fewer servers and avoiding the need to pay for costly and inefficient bandwidth upgrades. As one IT figure noted, “We didn’t want to have to increase bandwidth and pay for it at remote sites. I think we would have had to pay an additional $20,000 per month, just for bandwidth, without SteelHead” (see page 11).

Another organization was able to reduce 26 deployed servers to 11, consolidating operations in its datacenter. The savings can be significant. Said one, “We’ve been able to save 20% overall on OPEX spending by not needing to upgrade and by being able to retire servers at some branch locations — we’re saving millions of dollars over seven years” (see page 12).


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