F5 Brings Application Delivery, Storage To Public, Private Clouds


F5 Networks this week enhanced its ARX software to make it easier for customers to deliver and manage applications in virtual and cloud storage environments.

F5's ARX software, the base on which the company builds appliances for intelligent application delivery, now supports connectivity to public and private storage clouds, said Nigel Burmeister, product marketing director for the Seattle-based company.

ARX is also now available as a virtual appliance for working beyond a customer's data center, and includes a new API to let software vendors and customers add value to their data management applications, Burmeister said.

The ARX enhancements come at a time when customer interest in cloud computing is high and challenges related to moving some operations to the cloud are holding back the technology, Burmeister said.

"Customers are asking, one, how to identify which data is suitable for the cloud, and two, how can I make sure I can get the data back," he said. "ARX has for some time been answering those questions in a storage-agnostic solution. And customers have been asking for public and private cloud support."

F5 is answering that latest question with new support for third-party gateways to public clouds such as the Iron Mountain VFS (Virtual File Storage) and NetApp's StorageGRID, Burmeister said.

The company also introduced the F5 ARX Cloud Extender, which is software that can be loaded onto a Windows or Linux server which supports object storage and NAS in the cloud, he said. The F5 ARX Cloud Extender is expected to be available sometime this month.

Also new is the F5 iControl files services API, an interface which allows software vendors and customers to interface with ARX to add such capabilities as search index, backup, audit, and quota management to new and existing third-party applications.

Burmeister said that many data management applications such as backup or search need to scan or make a complete tree of all the data being managed, which takes days to weeks to complete.

"With ARX, customers get a device that sees every piece of data," he said. "So if there is any change, the app can query ARX, which then sends the information on the changes to the app, so there is no need to re-scan the data. F5 can't keep up with all the applications out there. So we put the APIs into the hands of the partners."

The new API is currently available with the ARX software.

 

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