F5 Offers Cloud-Based Security, Scalability Services to Big-IP Portfolio

The services address the growing threats facing businesses’ networks, and the need to speed up and scale DNS services.

F5 Networks is unveiling new cloud-based services designed to expand its Big-IP application delivery platform with greater network security capabilities.

The goal of the new services, announced June 25 and offered as part of Big-IP v11.2, is to enable organizations to better deal with a threat environment that is getting more sophisticated and more crowded. €œThe challenge is to really control and understand that threat,€ Jonathan George, product marketing manager at F5, told eWEEK.

Once they understand the threat, the organizations must become more adept at logging and blocking the threats, George said. That is where F5€™s new services€”which are both available immediately via a subscription€”can help, he said.

Included in the new offerings is F5€™s IP Intelligence service, which enables businesses to detect IP addresses that are associated with malicious activity and to stop them from accessing a company€™s networking infrastructure. The service offers a dynamic list of high-risk IP addresses from multiple sources, enabling businesses to block malicious IP addresses and keep on top of emerging threats. In addition, companies can update the services as often as every five minutes, ensuring that the database of IP threats includes the latest malicious activity.

The service can track inbound and outbound traffic and also can be customized to address an organization€™s particular needs, according to George, by leveraging F5€™s Big-IP Application Security Manager and iRules technologies. IP Intelligence addresses eight threat categories, from Windows exploits and denial-of-service issues to Web attacks and phishing proxies.

F5 offers a key advantage over point solutions by integrating the security services with its application-delivery capabilities, giving organizations a more comprehensive solution and single, unified environment.

F5€™s dynamic DNS services are designed to better handle the Domain Name System server environment, adding faster response time, greater scaling and better security, said Nathan Meyer, product manager of F5. This is particularly important at a time when the total number of DNS queries has doubled in the past five years, and Websites may need more than 100 DNS name resolutions to render a full Web page, according to the company.

In the past, most companies dealt with the problems of pages loading too slowly and poor application availability by adding more DNS servers, deploying point products or outsourcing DNS functions. With the new F5 services, organizations can handle those issues without having to spend a lot of money on more servers, Meyer said. The services will enable companies to reduce internal and in-network response latency by up to 80 percent and scale their systems by as much as 10 times, according to F5. With this, companies will be able to reduce the number of DNS servers they need.

In addition, with the services, businesses will be able to provide greater security in physical, virtual and cloud environments. The services offer new capabilities, such as DNS caching and resolving, DNS Security Extension (DNSSEC) validation, and monitoring, to add to existing solutions aimed at communications service providers and DNSSEC signing.

The services will leverage F5s Big-IP Global Traffic Manager and iRules technologies. It also protects businesses from such threats as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, according to F5.