Q&A: Riverbed Talks About APM
July 30, 2013
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In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Paul Brady, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Riverbed Performance Management talks about Riverbed's acquisition of OPNET and entrance into the APM market.

APM: What did Riverbed see in APM that drove you to become involved in this market?

PB: We were having great success with the network operations teams, giving them an application centric view, and that was good, but not good enough. Ultimately they wanted a deeper view into their applications, and a company that could provide that end-to-end view. We thought the distinction between so-called network performance management and application performance management was really blurring. What customers were caring about is performance management.

We felt the world of IT has evolved. Once upon a time it was about the various functions within IT saying: "It is not my fault." That model can no longer survive. It is about making sure you are proactively keeping your applications and infrastructure running.

We also saw a tremendous market opportunity. We see those two markets as very large. There is some disruption happening and we felt a vendor that could provide that end to end capability could change the way performance management happens with customers.

Regarding APM, we saw a very large market, and we saw no dominant player with a major market share. I don't think anyone enjoyed a reputation of having tools that are particularly easy to use. We saw this market as a huge opportunity particularly because as the development platforms evolve, people are going to look at new and different ways to holistically manage performance.

APM: Interesting that you mentioned the blame game because we recently posted an article on APMdigest.

PB: When we started talking to OPNET we both shared stories where people used our products as a way to have a discussion and fix that problem. There is a strong desire to get out of the blame game and to get proactive and I think it is just a natural to evolution.

APM: What attracted you to OPNET?

PB: We thought they had great customer base, a comprehensive set of products, great technology, and there was certainly great awareness of who they were. Obviously, when you do something like this you look at a variety of potential players and we thought OPNET had the most comprehensive complementary suite and really strong technology.

APM: Currently it looks like you're still using the OPNET brand. Is that the plan for the future?

PB: No, I would say we're leveraging the brand. We have Cascade and OPNET, and these are under the umbrella of Riverbed Performance Management, and you'll see that manifested on our website.

For now, all the product names, both Cascade and OPNET, will stay the same. We thought that would minimize confusion, and we will continue to leverage the awareness of OPNET, but when we describe the business as part of a Riverbed we call it Riverbed Performance Management. It will take a year to multiple years to figure out how we want rebrand, and we do not want to move too quickly to rebrand any of the product names, as first we need to figure out how to do it, and second we do not want to confuse our customers.

APM: Prior to OPNET, what capabilities did Riverbed have that would support the move into APM?

PB: We had a product called Cascade Profiler and still do. That was being characterized by the market and analysts as application-aware network performance management. So essentially it collects flow and packets and gives an end to end view of what was occurring within the environment. The network teams kept asking for an application centric view of the network, because that is how the users talk. If a user calls they might say the network is slow but it was generally: “This application is not working.” So we realized great growth with Cascade, and that was driven by our ability to show the application-aware perspective.

OPNET comes at it from a very application centric perspective, so we thought it was a great combination.

ABOUT Paul Brady

Paul Brady is Senior Vice President and General Manager, Riverbed Performance Management. Brady served as VP and GM of the Cascade Business Unit since February 2009. Brady joined Riverbed through the acquisition of Mazu Networks where he was president and CEO.

From 2001 to 2004, Brady served as President of Guardent, a network security company. From 1999 to June 2002, Brady served as SVP at Exodus Communications. Brady joined Exodus through the acquisition of Cohesive Technology Solutions where he was President. In January 1992, Brady founded Business Technologies where he served as CEO until the company merged with Cohesive in early 1998.

Brady holds a bachelor’s degree in computer systems from Hofstra University and an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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