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F5 Challenges Cisco, Check Point with New Firewall

News roundup: F5 launches firewall software for its Big-IP platform; Spirent and Fluke release new appliances for testing and management; Extreme adds AVB support to Summit switches; Meetrix and Polycom team up to support IBM Sametime in the cloud.

F5 has announced firewall software that runs on its Big-IP Application Delivery Controller (ADC) platform. The software, called Advanced Firewall Manager, provides stateful inspection at the network layer and also runs as a full proxy for HTTP traffic. F5 emphasizes the firewall's DDoS mitigation capabilities, such as the ability to mitigate SYN-flood attacks. It also serves as a Web application firewall; the company says it can address common attacks such as SQL injection and cross-site scripting, among others.

Advanced Firewall Manager runs on the full range of F5's Big-IP platforms, including the virtual edition and all the appliances. The company claims up to 640Gbps throughput when running on F5's newly announced, high-end VIPRION 4800 appliance. The firewall is intended for deployment within the data center and at the network perimeter.

F5's move targets vendors such as Cisco, Juniper and Check Point. F5 hopes customers running its Big-IP product will be enticed by the prospect of rolling security functions into the platform to consolidate operational tasks and reduce the overhead that comes from managing multiple products from different vendors. F5 did not release pricing information. Advanced Firewall Manager is available now.

Spirent, Fluke Launch New Appliances

Spirent Communications has launched Spirent Axon, a network and application testing platform for IT pros and network engineers. Axon lets enterprises run tests in advance of deploying new services such as VoIP and video conferencing to predict network traffic and avoid bottlenecks and other performance issues.

The Axon is a 1U device and includes pre-loaded libraries of testing scenarios. The device and can be integrated with iPad or other tablets. Spirent did not disclose pricing.

Meanwhile, Fluke Networks is combining its network and application performance monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities into one product with its Visual TruView appliance. The product puts multiple tools into a single device, including a packet and transaction analyzer, a NetFlow analyzer, and device management.

The appliance comes in five models. The company claims its top-end device, the TruView-6200, can gather, store and analyze up to 10Gbps of both flow and packet data and analyze over a million transactions per minute. Pricing starts at $25,000.

Extreme Networks Adds AVB

Extreme Networks has added Audio Video Bridging support to its enterprise-class Summit fixed Ethernet switches. This AVB 802.1Q technology is designed to improve deployments for organizations using high-quality audio and video in locations such as auditoriums, studios, stadiums, conference rooms and other event sites. The company says its AVB system features simpler cabling, improved AV synchronization and low latency.

AVB is a set of technical standards developed by the IEEE Audio Video Bridging Task Group of the IEEE 802.1 standards committee. Its goal is to provide specifications that will allow time-synchronized low latency streaming over IEEE 802 networks. Improving connectivity and performance at high-capacity venues is becoming more common as attendees at conferences, football games and concerts expect to interact online through audio and video.

Polycom, Meetrix Team Up

Polycom is teaming up with Meetrix to integrate their product lines to offer customers cloud-delivered social video collaboration services. The companies will combine Polycom's video infrastructure software with Meetrix's UC cloud service for Sametime, IBM's client–server application and middleware platform for enterprises that supports real-time UC and collaboration.

Meetrix UC in the Cloud for IBM Sametime delivers Sametime as a service – Meetrix manages the service for customers in the cloud; it will be integrated with Polycom's RealPresence software. The joint offering is available for existing customers of both companies at no additional cost.

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