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F5 Solutions Support Critical Applications and Virtualized Environment at Leading Canadian College

The Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning uses F5 and VMware solutions to virtualize application infrastructure; BIG-IP and iRules bolster campus security and incident response capabilities

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), today announced that the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning has implemented F5® BIG-IP® products as a key element of the college’s IT infrastructure. Sheridan, based in Ontario, Canada, serves 15,000 full-time students and 35,000 continuing education students on three campuses.

“We needed to implement flexible application traffic management and load balancing capabilities for our virtual machines to make the IT environment as efficient and effective as it could be,” said James Duncan, Senior Systems Administrator at Sheridan. “Following a competitive evaluation of features and functionality, F5 emerged as the clear winner, and BIG-IP devices now sit in front of all of our critical systems. These include the college’s corporate web servers, LMS, LDAP, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server environment, PeopleSoft, Sun ONE email environment, and numerous, smaller-scale departmental applications—many of which are running on virtual machines enabled by VMware vSphere.”

Sheridan was impressed with the virtualization capabilities of F5 solutions and the flexible traffic management capabilities enabled by F5’s iRules®, a customizable programming language that gives IT departments complete and granular control over application traffic. iRules was particularly useful in supporting the college’s innovative Sheridan Incident Response and Emergency Notification (SIREN) system, which delivers automated, informative alerts via the college’s public-facing website.

Before SIREN, Sheridan delivered emergency notifications to students, faculty, and staff through email, website, voicemail, and PA systems. But these tools were used ad-hoc and required the security department or corporate communications team to manually generate messages and distribute them via various IT personnel.

“We needed to unify our emergency communications,” said Sumon Acharjee, CIO at Sheridan. “We also needed to make it easy for executive personnel—and not just members of our IT staff—to activate an auxiliary emergency section of our primary website and redirect web traffic. Emergency messages can now be communicated via our website, which goes a long way toward improving overall campus safety and security.”

“Thanks to a simple, custom-developed iRule, security personnel can log in to an administration console from any computer on campus and change a simple setting to redirect traffic to the emergency site,” added Duncan. “As a result, people on campus using computer terminals in libraries, classrooms, labs, and student dorm rooms, and people off campus using privately-owned desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices have immediate access to information on developing, time-sensitive situations.”

“Sheridan is an innovator in the field of education,” said Jason Needham, Senior Director of Product Management at F5. “The college promotes academic excellence, and is also a leader in implementing Application Delivery Networking and virtualization technologies to enhance user experience for students, faculty, staff, and others. We’re pleased that F5 is able to deliver an enabling technology for the SIREN system. This comprehensive incident response solution, while perfectly suited for college campuses, is applicable to any environment where users are distributed among different buildings, campuses, or locations.”

For more information about Sheridan’s use of F5 solutions, please visit

About the Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning

The Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning serves 15,000 full-time and 35,000 continuing education students at its campuses in Oakville and Brampton, Ontario. Sheridan offers an innovative learning environment celebrated for academic excellence, applied research and creativity. Program options range from one-year certificates to four-year Bachelor’s degrees, in the arts, business, community service, and technology fields. We prepare students for career success; close to ninety percent of graduates are employed within six months of graduation. Visit to learn more.

About F5 Networks

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

F5, BIG-IP, and iRules 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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