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F5 Networks Delivers the BIG-IP Blade Controller To Maximize Economies of Scale, Security, Performance and Availability of Blade Server Platforms

Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, HP, and RLX standardize on F5's Internet Traffic Management Solution

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the leading provider of Internet Traffic and Content Management (iTCM) products, today announced the availability of BIG-IP® Blade Controller for the blade server platform. F5 is the only company to deliver a traffic management solution in a mixed OS environment for all the leading blade server vendors including, Dell Computer, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, the new Hewlett Packard Company, and RLX Technologies.

F5's BIG-IP Blade Controller is a software only version of the award winning functionality available on F5's BIG-IP Application Switch platform. BIG-IP Blade Controller runs on a blade and is a critical extension of any blade server platform since it virtualizes individual blades and applications; presenting them as a single entity. This allows traffic to be dynamically sent to the best performing resource that is available within the chassis. The BIG-IP Blade Controller shields users from experiencing poor performance or worse, no response at all, by eliminating any single point of failure (hardware, operating system, application) within a chassis. The BIG-IP Blade Controller, like all of F5's traffic management products, includes F5's iControl™ API (application programming interface) and SDK (software development kit) that make it possible for applications on the blades to directly interoperate with the network's traffic management infrastructure.

"The fact that F5's traffic management solution has been embraced by leading blade server vendors speaks to BIG-IP's reliability and flexibility," said Lucinda Borovick, director at IDC. "While blade servers promise increased computing density, smaller form factors, and decreased power consumption, BIG-IP and iControl serve as important technologies that tie the discreet blades and their applications together to create a highly available computing platform."

How F5's Solution Optimizes the Utilization of Blade Servers

F5 Networks' BIG-IP Blade Controller brings significant advantages and optimizes any blade server environment by providing the richest and most flexible features for Internet traffic management. It has a unique ability to take preemptive measures to prevent application, server or network problems and creates massive economies of scale in computing, cost savings, and personnel resources. Here's how:

Architected to eliminate the server, operating system, or application as a single point of failure. The BIG-IP Blade Controller provides comprehensive traffic management and load balancing to intelligently direct IP traffic to the most optimal resource (server/application), at any given moment. This ensures superior Quality of Service and reliability. And, through the best practices approach of deploying BIG-IP software on two (redundant) server blades inside the chassis, customers can ensure high availability of their overall system.

Provides scalable load balancing of blade server farms. Within a blade server enclosure, there might be 20 different servers, each with separate operating systems. Through its virtualization capabilities, the BIG-IP Blade Controller is the key enabling technology that ties together the complete solution (server blades, OS, and applications), and simplifies management by allowing the systems administrator to view IP traffic across the blade server farm.

Maximizes the ROI of entire system. In any typical Internet site deployment, applications and content are housed on different servers (blades) with multiple users making requests. The BIG-IP Blade Controller's OneConnect™ feature reduces network bandwidth overhead by not requiring network-intensive TCP connections to be opened and closed for each object (HTML, GIF, etc) requested. It helps enterprises save money by reducing bandwidth costs and increasing the capacity of individual blades.

Enables enterprises to more intelligently manage their traffic. The BIG-IP Blade Controller allows businesses to open the Application Layer of traffic and closely examine what's inside to make more intelligent traffic management decisions. Enterprises can make better decisions based on types of traffic as well as destination and priority of the traffic -- ultimately providing a better end-user experience.

Provides greater flexibility and openness. F5's iControl API adds further value to the overall blade server solution by making it possible for applications on the blades to directly interoperate with the network's traffic management infrastructure. BIG-IP Blade Controller, along with all of F5's traffic management products, includes an open API and software development kit (SDK) that allows servers and applications to automatically interact with and influence load balancing and traffic management decisions.

Ensures application Security. The BIG-IP Blade Controller allows customers to effectively manage enterprise applications being delivered over SSL and provides advanced inspection for intelligent traffic management. The result is greater performance and a lower cost for implementing secure applications. BIG-IP is unique in that it has certificate support and header transformation for client authentication and advanced filtering capabilities to prevent DOS, Synflood, Nimbda, and CodeRed types of attacks.

"The blade server market, which is expected to exceed $1.2 billion by 2006, represents a compelling new technology," said John Bigelow, vice president and general manager of F5 Networks' Software Business. "However, organizations still face the same traffic management issues with blade servers as they do with traditional server farms, where they need to integrate and tie the discreet servers together. By deploying the BIG-IP Blade Controller, customers can fully exploit their blade server hardware, OS, and applications. F5's proven BIG-IP solution, open standards based API, and broad vendor support, remove the risk and ensure the ROI of the blade server platform."

F5's Solution Landscape

In addition to the BIG-IP Blade Controller, blade server customers can take advantage of F5's appliances and application switches that fully interoperate with blade servers, offering flexible deployment options. Customers that need to manage multiple blade server chassis or server arrays that reside outside of the blade server chassis may select from F5's BIG-IP 520, 540, 2000, or 5000 platforms that address a wide range of customer requirements. For example, large enterprises that require maximum throughput, high port density and SSL processing for their IP-traffic management needs should consider the BIG-IP 5000 or 2000 application switches.


The BIG-IP Blade Controller is available at the end of May and is priced starting from USD$3,500 (single CPU support) to USD$5,000 (dual CPU support) plus $400 per managed blade server. For example, BIG-IP Blade Controller software will cost about $15,000 to manage a total blade server environment. Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, HP and RLX all plan to ship blade server products running BIG-IP Blade Controller this year.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the leader in Internet Traffic and Content Management (iTCM), and delivers application aware networks through its open Internet Control Architecture. F5 features the industry's leading set of integrated products and services that manage, control and optimize Internet traffic and content. Our solutions automatically and intelligently deliver the best possible Internet performance, availability and content distribution for service providers, enterprises and e-businesses. Our products remove bandwidth congestion and optimize the availability and speed of mission-critical Internet servers and applications, including web publishing, content delivery, e-commerce, caching, firewalls and more. Our solutions are widely deployed in large enterprises, the top service providers, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare, and portals throughout the world. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. F5 Networks is located on the web at

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