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F5’s Application Delivery Controllers Lead in Comparative Evaluation

The industry’s most comprehensive, transparent, and repeatable testing shows F5’s BIG-IP solutions outperform products from Cisco and Citrix

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking, today announced the results of rigorous Application Delivery Controller (ADC) testing comparing F5® BIG-IP® solutions to Cisco ACE and Citrix NetScaler devices, with F5 demonstrating significant performance advantages. Alongside these results, F5 has also made available its transparent testing methodology and a performance testing guide, as well as comprehensive device configurations, precise definitions, extensive factual data, and the real-world scenarios devised for this comparative evaluation.

Testing Details and Highlights

Performance testing compared both high-end and mid-range categories of products from the top three ADC vendors, based on market share. In the high-end category, the comparative test included F5’s VIPRION® chassis with one PB200 and another with two PB200 blades, the BIG-IP 8900, Citrix’s NetScaler MPX-17000 Classic and nCore products, and Cisco’s ACE20. For the mid-range category F5 compared the BIG-IP 3900 and Cisco’s ACE 4710. Citrix’s mid-range product was not tested because it is the same architecture and technology as the MPX-17000, which is included in the report. Customers can extrapolate their mid-range product performance based on the results in the report.

  • Testing measured a range of real-world use cases including requests per second for various Layer 7 response sizes, compression, caching, SSL, and Layer 4 performance.
  • At a similar or lower price point compared to others, BIG-IP products demonstrated the highest processing capabilities for Layer 7 requests, making F5 solutions the best value for enterprises and service providers.
    • For mid-range ADCs, F5 solutions achieved up to 15x the Layer 7 performance of the nearest competitor.
    • For high-end ADCs, F5 solutions achieved up to 9x the Layer 7 performance of the other tested devices.
  • With F5’s unique Clustered Multiprocessing (CMP) capability and chassis design architecture, BIG-IP solutions provide truly linear scaling capabilities where other solutions do not. This enables F5 customers to add on-demand capacity and processing as required by their users, applications, and infrastructures.
  • F5 devices have 63%–3700% greater energy efficiency compared to the other vendors’ products.

“The guiding principles of a comparative report are that it must be accurate, transparent, and reproducible,” said Karl Triebes, SVP of Product Development and CTO at F5. “We strive to provide as much factual information as possible so the customer can make informed purchasing decisions, and that others in good faith can reproduce these tests and see the same results. F5 conducted these tests with our own performance experts, as opposed to contracting with an ‘independent’ third party hired to produce favorable results. In addition, we invite constructive feedback on all materials or product configurations to ensure testing is accurate. We’re committed to publishing test results following this methodology, and it is our hope that the industry will follow our lead in adopting an open approach to technology evaluations.”

Because F5’s comparative testing methodology is designed to be reproducible, customers can make more informed assessments of vendors’ offerings and trust the results to be reliable, since they can be independently verified and reflect real-world scenarios. In contrast to this comparative approach, third-party competitive testing organizations often make unqualified assertions or do not disclose their testing methodologies, leading to inaccurate and sometimes misleading conclusions. And because competitive test methodologies and configuration information are rarely disclosed, performance claims can be difficult to reproduce and validate, making a fair and balanced analysis unachievable.

“Historically, ADC vendors have often measured and categorized performance capabilities individually, resulting in a level of ambiguity for customers attempting to interpret or compare one vendor’s claims to another’s,” said Zeus Kerravala, SVP of Enterprise Research at Yankee Group. “By releasing both their performance results and testing methodology, F5 is going a long way toward encouraging prospective customers, business partners, and even competitors to evaluate solutions on a level playing field. This approach—along with a wide range of testing parameters—helps minimize the effect of variable performance measuring techniques and definitions, selective disclosure, and marketing hype so that the facts can be borne out.”

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 VIPRION 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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