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F5 Extends Power of Intelligent Automated Storage Tiering to the Cloud

Additions to F5’s award-winning Data Solutions portfolio, including new ARX Virtual Edition and ARX Cloud Extender, enhance business value and deployment options

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), today announced major enhancements to its Data Solutions portfolio, including the ARX® Cloud Extendersolution, which supports a variety of cloud storage providers and object storage platforms; an ARX® Virtual Edition (VE) appliance, which delivers the power of ARX as a flexible virtual machine; and the F5® iControl® file services solution, which provides an open storage management API.

These enhancements help customers seamlessly extend the file storage infrastructure from the data center to the cloud, accelerate their return on investment for intelligent automated storage tiering, and provide more flexible deployment options for F5 Data Solutions. As a strategic point of control in the file storage infrastructure, ARX and its intelligent file services enable customers and third-party vendors to create more powerful and granular file data management policies to improve business operations and reduce costs.

“The real problem for organizations isn’t just that the volumes of information keep expanding rapidly, it’s that they need to continually improve the way this information is classified and organized,” said Richard Villars, Vice President of Storage and IT Executive Strategies at IDC. “Solutions like F5’s open API for the ARX platform make it easier for storage systems partners and customers to design and implement information management solutions that reduce costs, boost performance, and better monetize information assets.”

“F5’s API initiative for ARX will enable our partners and customers to realize the same kinds of benefits that our iControl API has long provided on the network side for BIG‑IP Application Delivery Controllers,” said Kathleen Ferraro, VP of Data Solutions Product Management and Marketing at F5. “iControl offers direct access to the power of F5’s Application Delivery Controllers, enhancing their value as strategic points of control in the IT infrastructure. In the same way that it has changed the game in Application Delivery Networking, it will change the game in storage.”

Highlights of the new ARX capabilities include:

  • Support for Cloud Storage

F5 has extended ARX’s intelligent, automated storage tiering capabilities to support cloud storage services, making it easier for companies to seamlessly integrate cloud storage into an existing infrastructure. To simplify access to data, files stored in the cloud are presented as if they reside locally in the data center. To maximize the amount of data tiered to the cloud while minimizing IT overhead and cost of access, customers can create customizable policies that automatically identify and migrate appropriate files to cloud storage. The new solution is fully qualified for use with Amazon S3, Iron Mountain VFS cloud storage, and NetApp StorageGRID. Additional service providers are in qualification.

  • Virtual Platform

With the introduction of ARX VE, the solution will be available as a virtual appliance in addition to physical, hardware based offerings. This extends the benefits of ARX beyond centralized data centers, and provides a variety of flexible deployment options. Using ARX VE, branch offices and smaller organizations can enjoy performance benefits of the ARX product line that have previously been associated with larger, physical deployments. ARX VE will be available via three distinct deployment options: a trial version for demonstration purposes, a full version suitable for production environments, and through OEM partners.

  • iControl File Services API

F5’s iControl file services API allows software vendors and customers to integrate ARX’s file virtualization capabilities to enhance their existing data management solutions and enable entirely new applications. Through the API, customers can use ARX’s real-time change notification capability to improve the scalability, responsiveness, and efficiency of a range of third-party applications such as search index, backup, audit, and quota management tools. For easier and more practical adoption across a wide range of organizations, this API includes support for .NET, Java, and Python development languages. To help organizations ramp up quickly, extensive documentation and developer resources will be available through DevCentral, F5’s technical community of over 70,000 IT professionals worldwide.

Supporting Quotes

“Our mission is to help the future learn from the past, which means we need to save enormous volumes of data indefinitely,” said Sean Maisey, Manager of IT Operations and Engineering at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “We’ve used ARX for years to tier data between our NAS devices, but cloud storage offers us a tremendous opportunity to more cost effectively support our mission. F5’s ARX Cloud Extender allows us to use the automated tiering capabilities of the F5 platform to front-end the cloud and treat it as another tier for secure deep archive and recovery purposes. This, in turn, will free up space on our NAS devices. And best of all, it will happen automatically, without disrupting users or applications, and without IT intervention.”

“The F5 ARX platform is ideal to use with the Iron Mountain Virtual File Store solution,” said Mike Wipperfeld, Vice President, Product Management at Iron Mountain, the information management company. “Our customers are looking to use storage clouds for their deep archive data storage requirements. The data mobility capabilities that F5 ARX provides are essential to helping them implement this new storage architecture without impacting their users or applications.”

“We see tremendous value in the ARX API functionality and technology stack,” said Steve Akers, founder and CTO at Digital Reef. “We look forward to our combined work with F5 to develop an interface that will bring together the power of F5’s ARX with our solutions for electronic discovery and file governance. This will simplify and accelerate our search processes, enabling us to deliver even greater value to our customers. Organizations are actively seeking new strategies for reducing the burden, cost, and risk associated with locating, producing, and governing information. We are excited to leverage this technological development that will help our customers achieve those goals.”

“Trace3 is extremely excited about the new F5 ARX Virtual Edition platform, which enables us to deliver data management, data mobility, and storage optimization services on a virtual platform,” said Tim Abbott, Solutions Architect at Trace3. “ARX VE will help us open up new opportunities and gives us another offering that we can use to distinguish ourselves from the competition. In addition, F5’s ARX Cloud Extender is a technology we have been watching with anticipation. It’s one of the first solutions to hit the market that will enable our customers to seamlessly and transparently connect their infrastructures to the public or private cloud. We are thrilled to see the partnership with F5 paying off in big ways, and we’re pleased that F5 is committed to investing R&D in cloud solutions.”

“Offering ARX as a virtual appliance opens up a number of opportunities for Tectrade to improve end-user storage environments,” said Andy Slater, COO at Tectrade. “Incorporating ARX VE into our Managed Backup & Recovery portfolio—which currently performs 125,000 backups per month and manages over 2 petabytes of storage—means our customers can introduce much greater flexibility into their data management strategies without incurring unwanted hardware related costs.”

Availability

The iControl file services API is available now and is included with F5’s ARX platforms. F5’s ARX Cloud Extender will be available in Q4 of calendar year 2010 and ARX Virtual Edition will be available in Q1 of calendar year 2011.

About F5

F5 Networks is the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), focused on ensuring the secure, reliable, and fast delivery of applications. F5’s flexible architectural framework enables community-driven innovation that helps organizations enhance IT agility and dynamically deliver services that generate true business value. F5's vision of unified application and data delivery offers customers an unprecedented level of choice in how they deploy ADN solutions. It redefines the management of application, server, storage, and network resources, streamlining application delivery and reducing costs. Global enterprise organizations, service and cloud providers, and Web 2.0 content providers trust F5 to keep their business moving forward. For more information, go to www.f5.com.

You can also follow @f5networks on Twitter or visit us on Facebook for more information about F5, its partners, and technology. For a complete listing of F5 community sites, please visit www.f5.com/news-press-events/web-media/community.html.

F5, BIG-IP, ARX, iControl, DevCentral, and Cloud Extender are trademarks or service marks of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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This press release may contain forward looking statements relating to future events or future financial performance that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential," or "continue," or the negative of such terms or comparable terms. These statements are only predictions and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these statements based upon a number of factors including those identified in the company's filings with the SEC.

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