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F5 gets closer to the app

F5 gets closer to the app

Traffic management software vendor F5 Networks has continued to spend its R&D on developing products that manage IP traffic at the application rather than the network level.

Traditionally, F5 concentrated on developing traffic management software for network devices such as switches, but has since moved into software that manages the traffic flowing between applications. This reinvention has been bolstered by the announcement of two new sets of partnerships.

The company has released a new version of its Big IP traffic management product that has been developed to manage the flow of traffic in and between ‘blade servers' manufactured by the likes of HP/Compaq, Dell and Fujitsu.

Blade servers are a new configuration of server that conceptually is described as a ‘server farm in a box'. Rather than having multiple servers stacked horizontally on top of each other, multiple "blades" (electronic circuit boards) that have dedicated functions (such as Web serving) are stacked vertically in a single server chassis. All of these server "blades" share the same power resources and create less heat as a result.

F5 claims the new Big IP product is unique as a tool that can make decisions based on what applications within server blades to send traffic.

Leong Yee-May, Asia Pacific vice president for F5 Networks said there are several beta implementations of Big IP on blade servers in place around the world at present. The next quarter will see the vendor begin an aggressive marketing for the new product.

Country manager Rob Howard said he is hoping many of F5's Australian channel partners will identify opportunities within their customer bases to pitch the new solution.

F5 has also announced a partnership with Siebel Systems, developer of customer relationship management software. The deal sees Siebel engineers working to port the CRM software to F5's iControl, the protocol in F5's Big IP product that allows applications to communicate with the wider network via automated processes. Siebel joins the likes of Microsoft, Oracle and BEA as enterprise software vendors supporting the Big IP product.

Locally, the vendor's cause should be heightened via the appointment of a channel manager for Australia, former 3Com and Toshiba staffer Megan Dent. F5 has also recently signed on security integrator Citadel and network integrator TeleIP as channel partners, Howard said.


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