A10 Networks Outshines Its Competition

A10 Networks' AX Series receives accolades at Interop despite being an industry latecomer.

A10 Networks, a latecomer to the application acceleration space, challenged established players on July 17 with a pair of new appliances that promise greater price/performance.

A10 Networks, which has received industry accolades for its existing AX Series application delivery controllers, extended the low-end of its so-called next generation appliances for more cost-sensitive data center and server farm applications. The companys appliances were the Grand Prix/Best of Interop winner at Interop Las Vegas 2007 and were also awarded the Grand Prix/Best of Interop Tokyo 2007.

Unlike existing application delivery controllers or load balancers, A10 Networks AX Series appliances are based on multi-core CPUs run by A10s ACOS (Advanced Core Operating System), which was tuned for multiple CPUs with multi-cores, according to Peter Stokes, vice president of sales at A10 Networks in San Jose, Calif.

"There are a lot of competitors in this space, but the vast majority of them carry the baggage of first or second generation systems designed for simple load balancing, or an architecture based on PC or energy-hungry hardware," said Stokes.

The new AX Series 2000 and AX Series 2100 appliances outperform competitive devices at a lower cost for SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), Layer 4 and Layer 7 traffic, according to Stokes.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about F5s BigIP.

"In live tests at Interop and based on (F5 Networks) marketing numbers, were twice the performance at half the cost of the BigIP 1500 and 3400," he claimed.

The AX Series 2000 and 2100 appliances, designed in a 2U form factor, provide 2GB of memory and eight Gigabit Ethernet copper ports. The AX Series 2000 has two CPUs, two Gigabit Ethernet SPF (small form-factor pluggable) fiber ports well as an 80GB hard drive. The AX Series 2100 has four CPUs, four Gigabit Ethernet SPF fiber ports, and dual 80GB Raid 1 hard drives.

The AX Series 2000 starts at $16,995 and the AX Series 2100 starts at $23,995.

"These guys are [very] smart at packaging hardware to get more functionality in a smaller footprint. Their pedigree and price/performance gets them in the game," said industry analyst Jon Oltsik at Enterprise Strategy Group in Milford, Mass.

The company was founded by Lee Chen, co-founder of Foundry Networks and the companys products were developed by a team of engineers with routing, switching, Layer 4 and 7 and supercomputing expertise.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about F5 Networks approach to application acceleration.

Although A10 Networks is a small company late to the market, Oltsik believes they can make some elbow room for themselves based on price/performance.

"Pricing and margins in this business so far have been extremely high. This appeals to two kinds of people: a broader market and people who are buying lots of boxes that want to save on capital expenditure costs," he said.

The AX Series of application delivery controllers also use proprietary Application Specific Integrated Circuit technology for SSL acceleration, high-performance switching and routing as well as a flexible traffic ASIC.

The AX Series 2000 and 2100 are available now.

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