F5 Offers Integrated Approach To Web Traffic Management

Version 9 also adds bi-directional application flow management in a feature dubbed fast application proxy, which enables the system to monitor a full session between client and server rather than

September 4, 2004

2 Min Read
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F5 Networks is making over its flagship Big-IP traffic management platform this week with the launch of new software and hardware aimed at securing and improving the performance of Web and legacy applications.

At the heart of Big-IP version 9 is F5's new Traffic Management Operating System, an architecture that integrates features typically offered on multiple devices, including content acceleration, traffic compression, connection optimization, rate shaping, denial-of- service protection, SSL acceleration and an application firewall.

Version 9 also adds bi-directional application flow management in a feature dubbed fast application proxy, which enables the system to monitor a full session between client and server rather than packet by packet, said Erik Giesa, vice president of product management and marketing at F5, Seattle.

"Full proxy is absolutely huge," said David Lesser, president and CTO of Nexum, a security solution provider in Chicago, adding the new platform will help Nexum beef up its business-continuity solutions.

"You can now understand where the traffic is coming from," Lesser said. "If a user connects through dial-up, you can see that it's a low-bandwidth link and decide if you want to compress packets for improved performance."And with its enhanced iRules programming language, the new platform enables Nexum to create solutions to improve the performance of customized applications, Lesser said.

Big-IP's new capabilities will require F5's channel partners to shift gears, Giesa said. "[It becomes a] more consultative approach where they have to understand the application, how the end user accesses it and where they are coming from," he said. To help partners adapt to the new sales style, F5 is launching a worldwide 37-city tour that will bring technical and business training to the channel. "From the business side, our channel will be trained on how to ask questions intelligently and associate the answers they get with the services we provide," Giesa said.

Big-IP version 9 is slated to begin shipping this week with three new hardware models--the 1500, 3400 and 6400 Layer 4-7 application switches--which are priced starting at $16,995. A variety of add-on service modules are available starting at $1,995. The new software is also available as an upgrade to F5's existing hardware offerings.

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