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F5 Hits Accelerator

A little less than a year after buying Swan Labs for $43 million, F5 Networks has managed to integrate that startup's gear with its own in a package that could give corporate Web portals a sizeable performance boost.

On Monday, F5 will unveil the WebAccelerator 4500, a new appliance that combines features of F5's WANjet WAN accelerator with the application-specific optimization of the WebAccelerator appliance that came from Swan Labs. (See F5 Snaps Up Swan Labs.)

Among the applications supported by the WebAccelerator 4500 are ones from IBM, Hyperion, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Siebel. F5 has added a "policy menu" interface for these application templates that gives the user a choice of what to optimize. Users can add their own optimization programs to the menu as well.

The resulting package should prove attractive to customers who have liked F5's products up to now and would like to see some of them combined and enhanced. At least one customer, for instance, says he's already improved performance considerably on his Web portal and looks forward to the convenience of the new templates.

"For our primary field users, mostly [airplane] pilots, we've seen performance improvement of 500 percent on the initial download, and up to 1,200 percent on subsequent downloads with caching," says Chad Jackson, portal manager at NetJets Inc., an air transportation and logistics company.

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