A10 Adds New Features To Traffic Manager

According to Jim Lima, director of channels for San Jose, Calif.-based A10, the updates to its server load balancers include the addition of policy-based sever load balancing, which lets users blacklist, or deny, and whitelist, or allow, traffic from individual clients and subnets. The update allows support for very large lists, up to 5 million, for use in applications like Spam filtering.

The update also enhances email security, by supporting STARTTLS to enable secure email traffic to and from SMTP servers by encryption mail to and from clients. New SIP load balancing gives SIP application intelligence with advanced health checks to efficiently manage SIP traffic for VoIP, messaging and other media applications. Lima added that the AX updates also include support for IPv6, the new IP addressing scheme.

Other key features of the AX Series include the Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS), which leverages modern system architectures and is tuned for multiple-core CPUs. The ACOS, which was built by A10's engineers, includes an optimized multi-CPU architecture to linearly and concurrently scale processing resources. By evenly distributing application traffic to the system's processors, ACOS eliminates bottlenecks that can be created by unevenly loaded processers. The distribution allows applications to perform as expected and desired, even during peak usage conditions.

Updates also include the eRule scripting language, which allows for traffic management without performance degradation; SSL and Layers 4 through 7 performance and carrier-grade hardware components and redundancy.

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Lima said the explosion of network traffic, fueled by increases applications, such as voice, video and other digital media, is being felt by every segment of the industry, from SMBs to service providers and carriers.

Lima said the latest updates give VARs the ability to cast a wide net for customers. In one product partners can offer secure email support and SIP load balancing, along with AX's other core functions.

"It gives partners more ability and more of a market to address," Lima said, adding that the SIP load balancing enhancement "opens up the channel for those that are delivering VoIP by helping enhance any VoIP implementation."

Lima added that since A10's AX Series is available without licensing costs, it's easier for the channel to engage customers.

Judy Beckes Talcott, vice president of Aquila Technologies, a Washington, D.C.-based solution provider and a division of Mele Associates, said the AX Series is easy to position to new customers because of the high-performance and completive pricing. She said the recent updates will only serve to make it more attractive.

"All of the updates are important, they help differentiate A10," she said, nothing that A10 sales usually find her competing against F5 Networks. "It shows they're listening to their customer base and partners by offering performance and some advanced features at a competitive price."

The addition of IPv6 support, which Beckes Talcott called the "real gotcha" of the updates, especially for Aquila's federal customers, which are mandated to have IPv6 deployed by mid-2008. Adding in SIP load-balancing, she said, helps her target customers that are starting to seriously investigate VoIP and are concerned about how the traffic will affect the network.

"For a reseller, it's nice to find a product that's different and that lets you go pioneer a new idea to your customer base," she said. "It's an added value kind of product. It fills a different niche."

Beckes Talcott said most of Aquila's clients have already spent a lot of money on their infrastructure and their Web servers. Offering a way to help them boost performance by offloading traffic without the need for costly upgrades helps her reengage new clients and continue the relationship with old ones.

Along with the updates, A10 also announced that tests performed by The Tolly Group found that the high-end AX 3200 is the industry's first sever load balancer to achieve more than 1 million Layer 7 transactions per second. The Tolly Group also found that the entire AX family delivers twice the performance at less than half the price of incumbents' competing solutions, meaning VARs can offer their customers high performance at lower price points to help clients scale their networks and applications.