Back in the days of postcard Web sites, a load balancer sitting in front of a firewall was often more than enough to ensure the sites availability. But times and vendors have changed. Eric Giesa, F5 Networks director of product management, reflected on the changed dynamics that now shape the race for quality on the server farm in a conversation with Senior Writer Max Smetannikov.
How did you adapt to customers asking for more advanced service level agreements?
We see a trend of companies using our Internet control architecture, which is an internal mechanism that allows all of our products to communicate. We get information from other devices on the network about the performances that influence where we direct the traffic. So if we are load-balancing a farm of firewalls, we look at the capacity of firewalls, the connections in order to direct that traffic. The information that we are collecting could be extracted and incorporated into SLAs [service-level agreements].
Does this make you competitors with Keynote Systems or Mercury Interactive?
Theyve got functionality above and beyond what we provide because they are focused on system management. We are complementary to that because we sit in the layers of the network where they might not be monitoring. But Keynote metrics alone are no longer sufficient for SLAs. For enterprises, this is no longer a Web site; this is their PeopleSoft application that is Web enabled. So its important that the network devices supporting SLAs had an open API [Application Programming Interface] that customers could tap into to extract information and consolidate it.