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F5 introduces new integrated firewall capability for the data center

F5 Networks today rolled out a raft of new and more powerful Application Delivery Networking tools, including its most capable device to date, the Viprion 4800, and an advanced firewall that, when deployed on the 4800, is said to offer industry leading performance.

The announcement saw the introduction of new models of F5's core BIG-IP application delivery hardware, as well as the new top-end VIPRION 4800 blade chassis. The latter, designed for demanding large enterprise and service provider environments, can be configured to provide up to 16 40Gb Ethernet ports, allowing it to manage up to 20 million L7 requests per second and 640Gbps of total throughput - effectively doubling the capabilities of the previous VIPRION 4480.

In the BIG-IP line, F5 rolled out the new 2000 series ADC, which replaces the 1600 series at the entry level. The company says it's the first low-end ADC to sport 10Gb Ethernet connectivity. The new 4000s and 10200v platforms were also added as mid-market and high-end offerings, respectively.

F5 also enhanced the throughput of its virtual version of BIG-IP, called BIG-IP Virtual Edition, to 3Gbps. The tool is said to "run on a range of hypervisors and virtualized environments, including Amazon Web Services and VMware vCloud Suite, as well as Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix XenServer, and KVM/Linux."

[MORE NEW NETWORK GEAR: Gigamon targets 40Gb networks with new blade system]

Advanced firewall

F5 says its new BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager promises to simplify data center security administration by combining the company's enterprise network firewall with traffic management, application security and user access management in a single system.

AFM bolsters F5's existing Local Traffic Manager software, which runs either on the company's BIG-IP hardware or as a virtual machine. The upgrade offers substantially strengthened defenses against denial of service attacks and other threats to the data center, without affecting performance or connectivity.

What's more, by integrating network firewall functionality into its existing BIG-IP line of application delivery controllers, F5 says it has significantly eased the burden on IT personnel trying to handle traffic management, user access and security all at once - AFM is operated via the same management console that controls other F5 systems, eliminating the need to work with a firewall system independently.

"The important thing is to look at everything holistically," says Forrester principal analyst John Kindervag. "That's one of the advantages of the F5 product - they have a lot of different modules or capabilities on a single box."

Kindervag says F5 has potentially gotten out in front of its rivals by focusing on this type of capability. "There's some green-field potential for overlaying security in the data center market that probably hasn't existed in the traditional enterprise network for a while."

F5 says all these new products are currently shipping. The Application Delivery Firewall (including the new software and LTM) will cost $27,000. The three new BIG-IP devices will cost $18,000, $30,000 and $95,000, respectively, for the 2000, 4000s and 10200v. The VIPRION 4800 will start at $185,000, though that's with only one of a possible eight blades included.

Email Jon Gold at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.


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