Zeus Releases New Load Balancer

The small Web server company is being touted as a "visionary" and a likely contender in the application front-end field.

Zeus Technologies, a small company with an international presence, hopes to squeeze into the crowded field of application front-end players in the United States with new partners, a new software release and new form factors for its appliance.

The Cambridge, U.K.-based company, better known for its Web server, yesterday launched a new low-end version of its load-balancing and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) offload software, as well as three new AMD Opteron-based appliances. Zeus also announced that it has signed on Sun Microsystems Inc. and Pyramid Computer Inc. as reseller partners.

But as the U.K.-based company, which also focuses on application-centric traffic management, tries to get a leg up in the U.S. market with its combination of load balancing, application performance optimization, offload and more, competing with established players the likes of F5 Networks Inc. will be difficult, believes independent application front-end consultant Lynn Nye.

"It is tough for anyone to come in and displace the current players. But with F5 taking share away from Cisco [Systems Inc.] and Foundry [Networks Inc.], their focus is elsewhere. And theres a lot of enterprise applications that have not evolved to be web-based yet, so theres still a lot of territory there," he said.

The fast-growing market for "application delivery controllers," as Gartner Inc. calls it, last year reached $500 million, and it is growing at over 50 percent per year, according to Mark Fabbi, analyst at the Stamford, Conn. firm.

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"Zeus was in the Visionary quadrant in the latest [Gartner Magic Quadrant]. Their high-performance software approach combined with being the first ADC play to move into XML was enough to push them into that position," he said.

Zeus Technologies Ltd. intends to compete by offering the fastest SSL offload in the industry, unlimited packet inspection that can cover an entire XML traffic stream, a broad offering and lower price points, according to CEO Paul Di Leo, who is based in Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Zeus won out over F5 Networks at Zoto Inc. thanks to a combination of its reputation for having a fast Web server, its software-based load balancing and the fact that its a polite, English company, according to CEO Kord Campbell in Oklahoma City.

"It was their scripting that drew us to them initially. We wanted to be able to customize the load balancer. I think at end of the day what probably sold me on them is that they are English and are very nice—very polite. And their experience in the web server industry gave them an edge," he said.

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The ZXTM product family expanded to include an enhanced ZXTM 3.1 software version that adds bandwidth and service level management and three new appliances based on the Opteron processor. The ZXTM 2000 provides an entry-level load balancer using a single Opteron processor. The ZXTM 5000 is a mid-range appliance using a dual Opteron processor and the ZXTM 7000 uses the dual Opteron processor and includes bandwidth and service level management.

On the distribution end, Sun will initially market a 64-bit Solaris Sparc 10 version of the ZXTM software in the United Kingdom, although Zeus hopes that deal will later extend to the United States.

The new ZXTM software release is available now, and the new appliances are due later this month.

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