A10 Makes Sweeping Updates To AX Series

A10 Networks on Monday made a substantial software update to its flagship AX Series family of application delivery controllers, increasing the stakes on what A10 can bring to the table around virtualization and cloud computing in its ADC lines.

Among major updates, the AX Series now includes aVCS, a virtual chassis system that enables linear scaling of up to eight AX series appliances in a virtual cluster, and also includes support for Layer 2 and Layer 3 topologies and smoother upgrades and downgrades. Then there's Layer 2/3 Virtualization enhancements -- enabling high-performance multi-tenancy -- and an upgraded version of SoftAX, available as a download.

"The beauty of the aVCS is you can pay as you go and add actual application delivery controllers as you get bigger," said Jim Lima, A10's director of channel sales. "Partners have a choice in terms of how they want to deploy and how they can work with a customer to build out the customer's network."

The AX Series controllers further offer a performance tool called aFlow, which manages end-user requests during high-traffic conditions and queues them instead of dropping them or overloading the server, a geo-location based feature for preventing DDoS attacks from specific geographies, and a DNS catching feature that monitors and assigns policy based on the number of queries to the DNS server infrastructure.

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Further debuts include DNSSEC support, A10-driven templates for enterprise data centers that use Microsoft, Oracle, Juniper and other vendor tools, a simpler GUI configuration for global server load balancing, support for Google's Chrome browser on top of the existing support for IE, Firefox and Safari, IS-IS routing support for both IPv4 and IPv6, and optional HTTP hardware compression module support for A10's AX 2500, 2600 and 3000 appliances.

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All of the updates are available as a download, in version 2.6, at the end of October, and are at no charge for existing A10 customers.

"A10 is picking up steam and we're growing very fast," said Lima. "These are ease-of-use enhancements we've made, and ease-of-use from a partner perspective in that it's easier to deploy."

Lima told CRN he's seeing a shift in the ADC market in favor of vendors such as A10 that are nipping at the heels of incumbent heavyweights like F5 Networks.

A10's revamped channel program -- along with the refresh-against-F5 promotion it launched for VARs earlier this year -- have gained A10 additional traction, and the company has more than 850 customers now for its AX series.

"We simplify things, I think, by saying 'you buy the appliance, you have all the features,'" he said. "You don't have to turn them on, but you have them all, and we're cost effective."

Among forthcoming channel program improvements, Lima said, are more market development funds.

"Today we have discretionary MDF, but our partners are working hard and we're going to more of a general MDF model," he said. "Today we've also done a lot of training and have no real true certification, so I would anticipate announcing a certification program in early 2011. We have the training, but we'd like to ensure people are recognized for having that training."