Sleight of hand? Behind Riverbed's Gartner Magic Quadrant leadership claim

Network management vendor Riverbed Technologies proudly proclaimed that it had been rated a "leader" in Gartner's most recent Magic Quadrant report for the application performance monitoring category for the third time in a row in early January despite the fact that the latest report is the first in which the company technically appears at all.

A look back at past reports for the APM market shows that Riverbed was not mentioned in the 2012 or 2011 issues, whether as a leader, visionary, challenger or niche player. The 2013 report, issued in December, does place Riverbed in the leaders quadrant, largely on the strength of its 2012 acquisition of Opnet Technologies.

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Opnet which was rated as a leader in both the 2012 and 2011 reports was bought by Riverbed in October 2012 for roughly $1 billion. The 2012 Magic Quadrant report was issued in August, well before the announcement of the deal.

Gartner's Magic Quadrant reports, which rate prominent companies in various technology markets, are a closely watched barometer of competitiveness. Businesses that get ranked in the leaders quadrant of their market tend to trumpet their success to the world at large, issuing self-lauding press releases.

A Riverbed spokesperson said in an email that the claim of Riverbed having won this particular plaudit three years in a row is based on the Opnet acquisition. Nevertheless, the fact remains that Riverbed was essentially a non-entity in the APM market until Opnet was brought into the fold, making the assertion that the company has been a leader in the market for the past three years somewhat disingenuous.

Riverbed did not address the issue directly in a subsequent statement, saying that the company is "proud of the Opnet acquisition and combining the Opnet and Riverbed products." However, the spokesperson did say that Gartner had signed off on Riverbed's announcement, though this could not be confirmed at the time of publication.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

Tags managementGartnerapplication managementNetworkinginfrastructure managementsoftwaresystem management

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