F5 Integrates Web Acceleration into BigIP

The company will introduce a new version of Swan Labs' WebAccelerator integrated with F5's Traffic Management Operating System architecture.

Seven months after completing its acquisition of Swan Labs, F5 Networks on July 31 will introduce new version of Swan Labs WebAccelerator integrated with F5s Traffic Management Operating System architecture.

The Seattle company created a module for its BigIP application traffic management platforms, ranging from the BigIP 6400 through the BigIP 8800, and it enhanced the Web application acceleration technology with advanced features.

At the same time, F5 Networks created a new dedicated appliance, dubbed the WebAccelerator 4500, designed to scale better and meet high availability requirements.

The integration in the new version of the WebAccelerator brings to F5s BigIP its intelligent browser referencing capability, which eliminates the sending of redundant, static information to a browser and only sends new, dynamic content to boost response times across a WAN.

/zimages/4/28571.gifTo read more about F5s Swan Labs acquisition, click here.

That capability works without requiring a change to the browser, the installation of a client or the downloading of a Java applet, according to Joseph Hicks, product manager in Seattle.

"The fastest way to accelerate content is to not serve it twice. This serves only content that needs to be served," he said.

Such performance boosts have helped existing users at Boscovs Department Stores LLC in Reading, Pa., avoid having to add more servers as their web site traffic increases.

"Weve noticed as our traffic increases, the load on our servers is not increasing at the same rate. Thats important, because as our business increases, we arent forced to increase our infrastructure at the same rate," said Mike Zupper, technical manager of the ecommerce site.

F5 enhanced the intelligent browser referencing in the new release by adding the ability to open multiple simultaneous connections.

"Internet Explorer can only open two simultaneous connections between a client and a site. If you had 50 objects on a page and you have two connections at a time, that means 25 round trips," said Hicks. The MultiConnect capability can eliminate delays that increase with distance.

The new release also includes validated Web application acceleration policies, intended to cut the amount of time it takes to implement WebAccelerator.

The policies, culled from the experience of existing customers, are packaged, pre-configured and validated Web application policies that can be applied to packaged applications or customized applications.

"It brings the intelligence and best practices from all our customers and verifies that it works," said Jason Needham, director of product management at F5 in Seattle.

The pre-packaged policies, which can be implemented in a three-step process, have been certified to work for specific applications such as those from Microsoft, Siebel, Oracle and BEA.

They include built-in templates that allow users to customize acceleration policies for custom applications.

"We took advantage of some of their existing client policies prior to implementing our appliances, and weve contributed [policies] to it," said Zupper.

Meanwhile, the new WebAccelerator 4500 appliance brings a greater level of redundancy to the hardware platform.

Its base configuration includes dual, redundant hot swappable power supplies, hot swappable RAID with 150GB hard drives, and it complies with the European Unions regulations for the Reduction of Hazardous Substances.

F5 in fact has embarked on a course to make all of its hardware compliant with the RoHS regulations.

In separate news, F5 also announced a new release of its Enterprise Manager software that allows users to centrally manage policies and configurations across many devices.

Release 1.2 allows users to create a grouping of configuration changes or policy changes and push them out concurrently to a target set of BigIP devices.

The manager will check for software device compatibility for specific changes before they are made.

It is intended to lower the cost of administration and reduce errors caused by rogue configuration changes.

The new release, and a new hardware platform that supports up to 300 BigIP devices, will be available in August.

The new version of the WebAccelerator and its new hardware platform are due in September.

/zimages/4/28571.gifCheck out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.