F5 Sharpens Traffic Tools Intelligence

By John S. McCright  |  Posted 2002-10-21

F5 Networks Inc. is looking to solve security and scalability issues on IP networks with a major upgrade to its Big IP traffic management software and hardware.

Big IP 4.5, which will be announced next week, can understand a broader array of packet types, including XML, SQL and Session Initiation Protocol. This enables Big IP to direct, report on and screen traffic from Web services, databases, mobile applications and other sources without modification to the core Big IP switching platform, officials said.

A Universal Inspection Engine distinguishes packets in an IP header and payload. Then the iRules component in Version 4.5 directs packets to a server based on parameters set by the user. A new Dynamic Security Control Architecture centralizes the enforcement of application security by running IP traffic through a central switch.

Besides monitoring IP traffic on a network, the switch can insert certificates.

Using certain configurations, the iRules feature could spot an attack on a Web site and automatically drop all packets coming from the attackers, F5 said.

The Seattle-based developer is supporting its traffic management software upgrades with an application-specific integrated circuit in its namesake Big IP Application Switch that will enable packet inspection at line speeds despite the bulk of XML and other protocols, officials said.

The Big IP 4.5 software and switching hardware will be available this month.

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