A10 Networks is splitting its distributed denial of service (DDoS) security into a standalone product, one of several spinoff products the company plans out of its application delivery controller (ADC).
It’s part of A10’s effort to broaden its market and, separately, get better known as it grows. Founded in 2004, the company grew to $120 million in sales in 2012 and claims to continue seeing a double-digit growth rate. (A10 isn’t disclosing 2013 numbers.) A10 can’t name most of its customers, but it claims to be in the networks of the top four Japanese service providers, three of the four biggest U.S. wireless carriers, and seven of the top 10 U.S. cable providers.
“We’ve hit this escape velocity, so it’s time to scale out the commercial side of the business,” says Jason Matlof, vice president of marketing (formerly of Big Switch Networks).
Until now, A10 has mostly competed with companies like F5 in the ADC market. The new Thunder Protection System moves A10 into more direct competition with the likes of Arbor Networks and its Peakflow product line.
The TPS claims performance of up to 155 Gb/s per unit, with the ability to cluster eight units together. That’s for the highest-end unit, the Thunder 6435 TPS; both it and a 77-Gb/s unit called the Thunder 5435 TPS are due to ship in February. The lower-end Thunder 4435 TPS (37 Gb/s) is slated to ship this month.
Taking the ADC to Multicore
That kind of performance is A10’s calling card. Layer 4-7 devices, and security devices in particular, eat up processor performance and thus tend to lack the raw speed of routers and switches. A10 tackled the issue by designing with multicore, 64-bit processors, which its competitors weren’t yet using in 2004. Instead of assigning tasks to cores, A10 sprays traffic evenly across all cores and has them flip among multiple tasks; the result is more efficient use of processing power, A10 says.
About two years ago, A10 decided to start doing separating certain ADC functions into their own appliances. Thunder Protection System isn’t the first; A10 started with carrier-grade network address translation, an appliance that helped A10 land many of the service provider customers mentioned above, Matlof says.
A10 chose to go after DDoS next because that segment is heating up as attacks become more massive; the record so far is the Spamhaus battle in March that saw attacks exceeding 300 Gb/s.
After TPS, A10 plans a series of other appliances, with a probable focus on security first, Matlof says.