F5 Shoots For Graceful App Delivery

F5 Networks, which makes machines that help secure and speed applications
from one computer system to another, agreed to acquire rival Swan Labs for
$43 million in cash.

Swan Labs also makes hardware and software that speeds and safeguards
applications, especially over Wide Area Networks (WAN) . WANs
generally span a lot of ground, often connecting remote offices spread far
apart to make sure each branch in a corporation is on the same page and can
receive and exchange the same information.

F5 plans to integrate Swan Labs’ WANJet and WebAccelerator into its
Traffic Management Operating System, which provides a shared application and
network services framework.

“When combined, Swan Labs’ and F5’s solutions will offer an integrated
framework that extends application and network security, acceleration and
availability to remote, branch, public and private users — regardless of
where they are coming from,” F5 said in a statement.

The goal is to give Seattle-based F5 a larger toehold in the market for
busting bandwidth barriers, which includes sharing files across wide area
file services (WAFS).

WAFS is a hot niche
of the storage space that lets users access a remote data center as though
it were local.

The technology enables corporations with scattered branch offices to manage
data backups through one system. Such access centralization is important at
a time when enterprise workers grow more mobile by the day.

F5’s top competitor was FineGround Networks, but Cisco purchased that company after it stuck its neck out with new WAFS
products. Cisco had purchased WAFS startup Actona Technologies earlier.

F5 will take on some of Swan Labs’ 42 employees in the deal, which is expected to
close in the first quarter of F5’s 2006 fiscal year. F5 expects to close
Swan’s San Jose office and move many of its employees to its own development
office in that city.

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