Colorado Springs, Colo. F5 Networks Inc. has integrated Swan Labs' Web acceleration tools into its own Traffic Management Operating System (TMOS) environment, 10 months after acquiring Swan and seven months after beginning software integration work. Now F5 is rolling out Web Accelerator as both a standalone appliance and as a module for its Big-IP system.
The company is also offering its first enterprise tool for configuring and managing policy. Enterprise Manager 3000 can manage and configure more than 300 Big-IP systems. Both the Web Accelerator series and the EM 3000 use F5's TMOS as a kernel and services framework, and the company's XML-based iControl as a software development kit and application programming interface for linking services into TMOS.
F5 product manager Joseph Hicks said that distributed Web application developers have been talking about XML and Web services for years, but the move to better Layer 7 delivery has accelerated as more clients with mobile or remote-attached systems are demanding better Web application performance. This not only drove the corporate decision to acquire Swan Labs but also accelerated the move to offer Swan's Layer 7 tools as both the standalone WA 4500 system and as a module for Big-IP.
Swan's first application-acceleration product, NetCelera, was rolled into a multifunction optimizer called WANjet, which F5 will continue to sell alongside Big-IP link control systems. The application-layer acceleration tools from Swan, however, warranted a dedicated TMOS porting effort, due to their role in accelerating business applications from the likes of Oracle, SAP and Siebel Systems.
A key element of the Web Accelerator software is "intelligent browser referencing," in which elements of a Web site can be updated as standalone objects, speeding Web site access without downloaded clients. Large files from graphic environments such as Adobe PDF can be delivered more quickly through a dynamic-linearization feature.
F5 will offer a set of Web policy templates with the accelerator that allow corporations to set policies on Web access through preconfigured rule sets tested in development labs. Those templates can be customized for site-specific policies.
On the enterprise side, Jason Needham, director of product management at F5, said the intent behind the EM 3000 appliance was to offer a centralized, hardware-redundant platform for configuring and provisioning application-acceleration and WAN optimization tools. The 3000 can be configured with hot-swappable RAID drives and dual power supplies.
The Web Accelerator module is available for the Big-IP 6400, 6800, 8400 or 8800 series for $24,995 per Big-IP node. The standalone Web Accelerator 4500 is $59,995 for a central site or $27,995 for a remote unit. The EM 3000 is $49,995.
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