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F5 Networks Delivers Industry-First “IP Application Switch” to Manage Traffic for Enterprise Web Services and Applications

The BIG-IP® 5000, with integrated SSL processing and switch port density, yields dramatic reduction in total cost of ownership for the network infrastructure

SEATTLE, SEPT 11, 2001--F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the leading provider of Internet Traffic and Content Management (iTCM) products, today announced the BIG-IP® 5000, the industry’s first IP (Internet Protocol) Application Switch uniquely designed to manage traffic for current and next generation web services and applications. The BIG-IP 5000 combines the benefits of BIG-IP’s award-winning Layer 7 software capabilities, integrated SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) processing, and high port density (4 Gigabit and 24 Fast Ethernet ports) for scale and economy. The BIG-IP 5000 enables the network infrastructure to accommodate the increasing demands placed upon the network to support complex web applications, data/voice/video convergence, and mobile computing, with vastly simplified management and complete security.

The arrival of the BIG-IP 5000 marks a new era of Internet traffic management (ITM). Offering a superior choice for enterprises and service providers building scaleable, reliable, and profitable IP networks, the BIG-IP 5000 is the first and only port dense Internet Traffic Management solution that offers (1) integrated SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) at no extra charge to increase web server performance and ensure transaction security, (2) four times the processing power of any product in its class to deeply examine
packets and intelligently direct traffic to the correct destination, (3) a centralised processing and switch fabric design for an “all-in-one” solution that reduces deployment costs and administration duties, and (4) an open API for seamless communication with all F5 products and any 3rd party application that supports F5’s iControl™.

The BIG-IP 5000 provides a strategic and flexible solution through its ability to apply intelligent business rules to manage complex IP-based traffic, while decreasing the complexity and high costs associated with deployment. These applications require high availability, security, fast performance and specialised traffic handling to allow for deeper inspection of traffic at greater speeds. This enables customers to have more granular and better control over how, where, and when traffic is directed.

John Lawler, directing analyst for e-Business infrastructure and hosting at Infonetics Research commented: “Our analysis points to strong demand among hosting providers and especially large enterprises for a new breed of network device that combines robust application switching, traffic management, data security, and content acceleration technologies for Web and SSL. F5’s BIG-5000 exemplifies this new breed of secure, intelligent application switch that can easily scale and adapt to the demands of both enterprises and service providers.”

Jarad Carelton, Program Leader, Internet Infrastructure Frost and Sullivan said: “Service providers who deliver their applications using IP based protocols require a single, port dense solution that is flexible and adaptive to support existing and emerging IP application protocols. It must also be extremely reliable where, in a best practice deployment, the solution can approach 99.999% uptime. If the BIG-IP 5000 performs as well as expected, it should provide businesses with much needed support for new application revenue streams, while ensuring maximum performance, reliability, and manageability.”

BIG-IP 5000 Product Highlights

- First Port-Dense ITM Solution with Integrated SSL Security. Mission-critical applications require secure delivery over Internet technologies. BIG-IP 5000 is the first ITM device to incorporate SSL acceleration and delivers more port density than any other standalone ITM device. Its 4 Gb and 24 Fast Ethernet ports provide simultaneous and convenient connectivity for a variety of devices, including firewalls, caches, web servers, application servers, VPN gateways, SIP gateways and WAP gateways.

- Intelligence Beyond the Switch. In order to make the most intelligent load balancing decisions and ensure the highest availability, the BIG-IP 5000 can receive information directly from application servers (e.g. Windows 2000, Real Server, and SNMP supported
systems) through F5’s open iControl™ interface. This enables BIG-IP to take pre-emptive measures to avoid system failures. It can also read detailed information in a request header (such as type of content requested) in order to route the request to a server best able to handle it.

- Fastest Layer 7 Performance. Fast Layer 7 functionality provides network managers with a cost-effective way to ensure that users will have a productive and trouble-free experience each time they transact business over the Internet or corporate intranet. BIG-IP delivers Layer 7 performance that is three to four times faster than competing products from Cisco Systems and other vendors**. Internet Traffic Management devices must perform 4 basic tasks to the traffic they handle: Intercept, Inspect, Transform and Direct traffic. Fast and flexible Layer 7 performance is critical to successfully perform these tasks and therefore successfully deliver Business critical applications over Internet technologies.

** – reference report #200204

Reduces Total Cost of Ownership. BIG-IP 5000 is the only solution with an architecture optimised for Internet Traffic Management, due to its centralised processing and switch fabric design. BIG-IP is an “all-in-one” solution that eliminates the need to deploy multiple devices and, as a result, decreases management headaches.

“F5 has consistently delivered the most advanced Layer 7 features and the special traffic handling capabilities that enterprise applications demand, but is now first to market in delivering all this packaged in a single port dense ITM device,” said Jeff Pancottine, senior vice-president of marketing and business development at F5 Networks. “Competitive alternatives require deployment of multiple types of devices or simply cannot handle the applications, which increase the cost of ownership and management complexity. Given its unparalleled performance, scalability, onboard SSL processing, market leading price, and integrated iControl capabilities, the BIG-IP 5000 will be extremely disruptive to other vendors in the Traffic Management market.”

Todd Hanson, Principal Analyst for Gartner-Dataquest said: “Customers will welcome advanced features and functions, originally provided only through specialised appliances and complex software programs, being delivered through a high performance, easy-to-manage switch. Market requirements have evolved such that large enterprises and service providers need flexible and fast IP-centric traffic management devices that can handle deep packet inspection and perform advanced traffic routing without performance degradation.”

What the market is saying about F5 Networks new IP Application Switch

“Over the last five years, the Internet has created resurgence in centralised systems, and an unbounded demand for interactive information resources and application functions of those systems. Within a short period of time Internet traffic management systems have evolved to become a vital component of the design of these large, centralised, interactive systems. F5’s BIG-IP 5000 is a reflection of that market’s evolution and addresses the matured requirements for carrier-class applications over the Internet. BIG-IP 5000 is a purpose built hardware and software system with the power and performance needed for today’s traffic management demands, including security, and is designed to be effectively integrated into the fabric of a modern application.”

Peter Christy, Netsedge Research Group

“The space between the Internet and content presents a critical intersection for both enterprise and service providers concerned with the reliability, availability, and security requirements of both wired and mobile network environments. The BIG-IP 5000, with its optimised design for intelligent traffic management, high port density, superior horsepower, and integrated SSL processing, offers an ideal complement to Nokia’s Internet security solutions.”

John Robinson, vice president and general manager, Nokia Internet Communications.

“Broadcom is very pleased that F5 has chosen to incorporate our performance-leading components
into the BIG-IP 5000. F5 has successfully designed the market’s first platform that combines Broadcom’s optimised switch technology and integrated SSL processing as a standard feature. We’re impressed with F5’s understanding of its customers’ Layer 2-7 and SSL requirements and its decision to include SSL processing in every BIG-IP 5000 IP Application Switch – an industry first. As the market moves toward end-to-end encryption for business-critical applications delivered over Internet technologies, F5’s BIG-IP 5000, which leverages Broadcom's StrataSwitch integrated multi-layer switch family and CryptoNetX SSL processors, offers a highly robust solution to enterprises and service providers.”

Henry Samueli, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of Broadcom

“Our goal at FutureCom is to simplify system integration for our enterprise customers using best-of-class solutions. Our first look at the BIG-IP 5000 points to tremendous opportunities as our customers are looking for this combined functionality in a single unit to streamline their deployment and reduce overall total cost of ownership. Its integrated SSL acceleration and powerful processing capabilities to handle enterprise applications in a secure, swift manner are key differentiators for the BIG-IP 5000. F5's brand resonates well with our customers and represents innovation, high quality, and superior functionality. As FutureCom continues to keep the future in scope, we trust F5’s commitment to support our customers’ current and future Internet traffic management needs in the same high quality fashion.”

Sean Stenovitch, President of Futurecom

Pricing and Availability

The BIG-IP 5000 IP Application Switch is available today with the base model priced at $31,990 for a single unit, and $57,990 for a redundant pair. A base model unit is configured with 24 Fast Ethernet and 4 Gigabit (Gb) Ethernet switch ports to support fast uplinks and multiple servers, caches, databases, firewalls or other devices. Switch fabric operates at 8Gb/s in each direction or a total of 16Gb/s. Each unit has the most processing power in its class; supplied by dual PIII 1 GHz processors connected to the switch fabric and 1 Gigabyte of memory. Every base unit includes 100 TPS SSL capacity at no additional charge and is remotely upgradeable to 800 TPS. Customers who desire additional SSL capacity can obtain it incrementally via a software key, which allows them to purchase it only as they need it. A version of the BIG-IP 5000 that comes loaded with F5’s award winning 3DNS wide area load balancing solution is also available. Standard reseller discounts apply.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the leader in Internet Traffic and Content Management (iTCM), and delivers application aware networks through its open Internet Control Architecture. F5 features the industry’s leading set of integrated products and services that manage, control and optimise Internet traffic and content. Our solutions automatically and intelligently deliver the best possible Internet performance, availability and content distribution for service providers, enterprises and e-businesses. Our products remove bandwidth congestion and optimise the availability and speed of mission-critical Internet servers and applications, including web publishing, content delivery, e-commerce, caching, firewalls and more. Our solutions are widely deployed in large enterprises, the top service providers, financial institutions, government agencies, healthcare, and portals throughout the world. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has offices throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

F5 Networks is located on the web at


Grace Cheung
F5 Networks Limited
01784 497 218

Munir Kotadia
020 8286 3212

This press release may contain forward looking statements relating to future events or future financial performance that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements can be identified by terminology such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “predicts”, “potential” or “continue” or the negative of such terms or comparable terms. These statements are only predictions and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these statements based upon a number of factors including those identified in the Company’s filings with the SEC.

Broadcom®, CryptoNetX[tm] and StrataSwitch[tm] are trademarks of Broadcom Corporation and/or its affiliates in the United States and certain other countries. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners

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