Zeus Technology Ltd., a small British company with an international presence, hopes to squeeze into the crowded field of application front-end players in the United States with new partners, a new software release and new form factors for its appliance.
The Cambridge, England, company, better known for its Web server, last week launched a new low-end version of its load balancing and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) software and three new Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Opteron-based appliances. Zeus also said it had signed on Sun Microsystems Inc. and Pyramid Computers Inc. as reseller partners.
But as the vendor, which also focuses on application-centric traffic management, tries to get a leg up in the North American market with its combination of load balancing, application performance optimization and SSL offload, competing with established players such as F5 Networks Inc. will be difficult, according to independent application front-end consultant Lynn Nye.
"It is tough for anyone to come in and displace the current players. But with F5 taking share away from Cisco [Systems Inc.] and Foundry [Networks Inc.], their focus is elsewhere," Nye said. "And theres a lot of enterprise applications that have not evolved to be Web-based yet, so theres still a lot of territory there."
The burgeoning market for ADCs, or "application delivery controllers," as Gartner Inc. terms it, last year reached $500 million and is growing at more than 50 percent per year, according to Mark Fabbi, an analyst at Gartner, in Stamford, Conn.
"Zeus was in the visionary quadrant in the latest [Gartner Magic Quadrant]. Their high-performance software approach, combined with being the first ADC [effort] in XML, was enough to push them into that position," Fabbi said.
Zeus intends to compete by offering the fastest SSL offload in the industry, unlimited packet inspection that can cover an entire XML traffic stream, a broad offering and lower price points, according to CEO Paul Di Leo in Cambridge.
Zeus won out over F5 Networks at customer Zoto Inc., thanks to Zeus reputation for its fast Web server as well as its software-based load balancing and exemplary customer service, according to Zotos CEO and Chief Technology Officer Kord Campbell in Oklahoma City.
"It was their scripting that drew us to them initially," Campbell said. "We wanted to be able to customize the load balancer. I think what probably sold me on them is that they are English and are very nice—very polite. And their experience in the Web server industry gave them an edge."
Zeus ZXTM product family has been expanded to include enhanced ZXTM 3.1 software and three new appliances based on the Opteron processor. The ZXTM 2000 appliance provides an entry-level load balancer using a single Opteron processor. The ZXTM 5000 is a midrange appliance that uses a dual Opteron processor, and the ZXTM 7000 uses a dual Opteron processor and includes bandwidth and service-level management.
On the distribution end, Sun will initially market a 64-bit Solaris SPARC 10 version of the ZXTM software in Europe, although Zeus hopes that deal will later extend to the United States.
The new ZXTM software release is available now, and the new appliances are due later this month.
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