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F5 Optimizes Microsoft Unified Communications for A.T. Kearney

Global management consulting firm uses BIG-IP solutions to maximize reliability and performance of Exchange, SharePoint, and Lync Server 2010 applications

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), today announced that A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, is using F5® BIG-IP® solutions to maximize the value of its IT investments, mitigate expansion costs for branch offices, and provide superior application availability and reliability for users worldwide.

Nearly 70 percent of A.T. Kearney’s 3,500 users work remotely. They depend heavily on Microsoft Office Communications Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and other unified communications (UC) and collaboration products to work with clients and colleagues on complex projects. Because these applications are critical to the firm’s business, they needed to be highly reliable and available to all users worldwide. A.T. Kearney wanted to serve these applications from both of its Chicago-area data centers, but the previous Cisco layer 4 switching infrastructure made it difficult to connect the two sites and impossible to load balance traffic between them. As a result, one data center was active while the other—used only for disaster recovery capabilities—sat virtually dormant.

“F5’s close integration with Microsoft’s UC platform played heavily into our decision,” said Kevin Rice, Global Network Architect at A.T. Kearney. “We went with the F5 solution because it gives us that crucial reliability we need for our Office Communications Server and Lync Server 2010 deployments. In addition, F5 was the only solution that enabled us to seamlessly connect our two data centers and intelligently manage and steer traffic between them. This enabled us to fully utilize our high-end data center resources and avoid adding new infrastructure in our branch offices.” With the F5 solution, A.T. Kearney was also able to repurpose many high-end servers from its secondary data center and redeploy them in branch locations to provide local file and print services.

A.T. Kearney chose F5’s BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM®) and BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) to dynamically manage traffic across the firm’s global network. In each data center, BIG-IP LTM devices sit in front of the Microsoft application servers and web servers, intelligently securing, load balancing, and accelerating application traffic. BIG-IP GTM connects the two data centers and automatically routes user requests—whether they originate in Tokyo, Dubai, London, San Francisco, etc.—to the best performing site based on network and data center conditions, business policies, user location, and application performance.

“After deploying the F5 products, we immediately noticed the performance of our application servers—especially SharePoint—just went through the roof. And suddenly, files took seconds instead of minutes to download,” noted Rice.

Rice’s team also used an F5 Application Ready Solution to upgrade existing servers from Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 to Lync Server 2010. “The application-specific templates and configuration guide included in F5’s Application Ready Solution greatly simplified the upgrade process and the provisioning of new virtual servers for our Lync Server 2010 deployment,” he added.

“As the mobile workforce continues to grow and workers rely more heavily on their UC applications, it’s critical that enterprises have stable and reliable unified communications infrastructures,” said Jason Needham, Senior Director of Product Management at F5. “With F5’s Application Ready Solution for Microsoft Lync Server 2010, organizations benefit from integrated health monitoring, intelligent traffic management, and network optimizations that result in a highly available and responsive solution capable of supporting the demands of real-time communications.”

About F5

F5 Networks, Inc., the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), helps the world’s largest enterprises and service providers realize the full value of virtualization, cloud computing, and on-demand IT. F5® solutions help integrate disparate technologies to provide greater control of the infrastructure, improve application delivery and data management, and give users seamless, secure, and accelerated access to applications from their corporate desktops and smart devices. An open architectural framework enables F5 customers to apply business policies at “strategic points of control” across the IT infrastructure and into the public cloud. F5 products give customers the agility they need to align IT with changing business conditions, deploy scalable solutions on demand, and manage mobile access to data and services. Enterprises, service and cloud providers, and leading online companies worldwide rely on F5 to optimize their IT investments and drive business 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.

About A.T. Kearney

A.T. Kearney is a global management consulting firm that uses strategic insight, tailored solutions, and a collaborative working style to help clients achieve sustainable results. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors on CEO-agenda issues to the world’s leading corporations across all major industries. A.T. Kearney’s offices are located in major business centers in 36 countries. For more information, please visit www.atkearney.com.

F5, BIG-IP, Local Traffic Manager, LTM, Global Traffic Manager, and GTM 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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