A10 Networks, a provider of networking and security solutions, listened to its customers when they asked, "How can you help us speed things up?" In the current IT climate, maintaining business continuity while converting to Web applications and implementing virtualization technologies is a challenge and a concern. The traditional approach—buying more servers and bandwidth—creates more stuff to manage, as well as a lot more complexity. Working on a better way to accelerate application performance, optimize and manage the WAN and bandwidth, and manage network identity, A10 Networks recently announced two new products: the AX Series application acceleration switch, and the EX Series secure WAN management appliance.

            The AX's Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS) linearly and concurrently scales processing resources. A10 Networks' aRule inline scripting language works with ACOS so that you can accelerate and scale all TCP/IP application types—not just HTTP applications—on the fly. The AX Series can improve user application response times by as much as 8 times and can scale server farm capacity by as much as 10 times. Integrated application security protects the application infrastructure from DoS and Protocol Anomaly attacks and ensures application availability for legitimate traffic in case of attack. Consolidated features include L4-7 redirection, load balancing, and failover; TCP buffering and connection keep alive; HTTP compression, multiplexing, and pipelining; SuperNAT; and network-level security and server cloaking. 

            The AX Series is currently in beta, with general availability on May 1. Initial offerings are the entry-level AX2100, the enterprise and ISP–class AX2200, and the high-performance enterprise AX3200.

            The EX Series appliance addresses WAN-based performance problems associated with bandwidth, visibility, and control on the network, and it does so in a unique way, by blending identity management with network management. EX Series appliances provide advanced WAN optimization with link load balancing, compression, and cache redirection. Network IPS and firewall load balancing secure the network infrastructure, and an SMP architecture and service availability with redundant hardware provide scalability and reliability.

The key to the EX Series' uniqueness is in the way it provisions and manages bandwidth to provide instant WAN user and application visibility. According to A10 Networks, EX Series is the world's only identity-based WAN utilization logging and reporting solution and provides identity-based logging for file transfer applications such as FTP, CIFS, and NFS; email applications such as SMTP and POP3, and IM applications such as YIM, AOL IM, and MSN IM. Identity-based, easily searchable bandwidth reports provide instant visibility into what users are doing and when they're doing it to aid in troubleshooting and forensics, as well as auditing compliance and reporting.

The performance capability of the EX appliances is impressive: One box can handle as many as one million concurrent connections on the network edge. The most exciting aspect of the EX Series, however, is a capability A10 Networks is currently developing for inclusion in future versions of the EX Series appliances: provisioning bandwidth by user identity, rather than IP address. According to A10 Networks' Director of Product Marketing, Philip Kwan, blending identity and network management is a new, radical, and more efficient way of provisioning and managing the network, one that lets companies ensure that their critical business applications have adequate network capacity at all times and exceptional network information visibility and control. The EX Series is in general availability today—look for EX Series 2.0 appliances at the end of May.