F5 Gears up for BIG-IQ

Despite the slowing economy, application delivery controller vendor F5 plans big upcoming releases.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Apr 25, 2013
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F5 Networks reported its Q2 fiscal 2013 earnings late Wednesday, with numbers that demonstrated the effects of a slowing economy. The networking vendor remains optimistic, however, with plans to roll out new hardware and software capabilities in the coming months.

For the quarter, F5 reported revenue of $350.2 million, a three percent year-over-year gain, with $63.4 million net income, or $0.80 per share. Moving forward, F5 provided guidance for a third quarter revenue target in the range of $355 to $365 million.

"During the quarter, we experienced difficulties in closing certain forecasted deals, as customers hesitated to approve budgets and release purchase orders, causing us to adjust our internal forecast late in the quarter," John McAdam, CEO of F5, said during the vendor's earnings call. "In particular, we experienced significant weakness in our telco vertical, where sales were down significantly on both a year-over-year and sequential basis, as funding for several projects was delayed."

McAdam noted that government sales were also down year-over-year, likely due in part to the U.S. government sequester. F5 isn't the only networking vendor to report slowing government sales. In an earnings call earlier this week, Juniper Networks also reported earnings impacted by the U.S. Federal government spending slowdown.

BIG-IQ

F5 has some big product plans for the months ahead.

On the hardware front, McAdam said that F5 plans to ship both the BIG-IP 5000 and 7000 Series platforms in this coming quarter.

"These new platforms will be positioned as our new mid-range BIG-IP appliances, offering significant price performance improvements over our existing mid-range solutions," McAdam said.

At the heart of F5's technology is its TMOS operating system, which runs across its product portfolio. A new TMOS update will debut this quarter, highlighted by a new management platform called BIG-IQ.

McAdam explained that the first release of BIG-IQ will include cloud and firewall management capabilities.

"The firewall manager functionality provides enterprises and service providers with a comprehensive management capability to manage large firewall configuration policies," McAdam said. "Cloud manager delivers sophisticated management functionality designed to optimize cloud-based architectures."

The BIG-IQ cloud manager will enable the bridging of public and private clouds for secured connections. Cloud busting from private to public cloud is another key capability set for inclusion in the new F5 update.

Cloud application tiering, which will let different parts of an application sit in different locations, is also part of BIG-IQ. With the tiering capability, a database can be hosted in a private cloud while the web server front end resides in a private cloud.

"Pardon the pun here, but BIG-IQ is a really big deal in this environment because of its ability to optimize and move applications around the clouds around it within the data center private to public," McAdam said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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