Performance management specialist Riverbed Technology (NASDAQ: RVBD) and virtualization giant VMware (NYSE: VMW) announced the latest step in their partnership to help enterprises move to the cloud with Riverbed wide area network (WAN) optimization solutions, which accelerate virtual machines (VMs) moving between clouds — private, public and hybrid — using VMware vCloud Connector.

Built on VMware vSphere 5 and VMware vCloud APIs, vCloud Connector allows customers to connect vSphere and vCloud Director-based private and public clouds and manage them through a single interface. Designed to move large VMs across the WAN, the platform can reduce latency in the network and avoid packet loss.

An operability test was conducted using the vCloud Connector to transfer virtual machine images with and without the Steelhead appliance, in a variety of real-world WAN network conditions. The test result showed that the Steelhead appliance, with WAN-like latency emulated between two VMware vCenter Servers, significantly reduced transfer time.

Other recent collaborative developments include the Steelhead EX appliance with Virtual Services Platform (VSP), a platform that runs virtual services for greater consolidation in branch offices, and Virtual Cascade Shark, which provides real-time visibility to manage and troubleshoot application performance as it traverses the virtual switch in vSphere environments.

Riverbed Steelhead appliances accelerate VMware vSphere Replication to address the challenges of replicating data across the WAN in cloud and virtualized environments.

As enterprises turn to virtualization and cloud computing to simplify their IT infrastructure, speed and reliability are becoming key factors when consolidating and moving applications to the cloud, particularly as the sheer volume of information grows. In April 2012 VMware addressed this growing need with Accelerate Advisory Services, a consulting service dedicated to cloud computing business benefits.